What is a Circular City?
A circular city is a re-imagined architectural and self-sustaining societal structure. It primarily focuses on maintaining the world’s natural resources to ensure a higher standard of living for all human inhabitants. Instead of our current linear system, in which materials are often thrown away after use, circular systems put raw materials back into use to maintain their value, cut down waste, conserve resources, and improve efficiency.
In order to provide equal access to these resources, circular cities become resource-based economies, meaning the planet’s resources are common heritage to all—no one privately owns the natural resources, but every human deserves equal access to them without the expectation of monetary payment. Housing, transportation, renewable energy sources, clean water, and organic food would be available to all in this community-based living structure.
Circular cities propose a circular city plan divided into radial sectors and circular belts, which creates about 8 different sections inching closer to the central dome. Essentially, one sector is repeated 8 times until a circle forms. This design approach would use far less energy and resources in the construction process. The circular design itself is also far more efficient in terms of travel because, unlike linear cities, people will be able to easily return to their destinations without taking the same route back. In addition, the uniform geometric design allows for city plans to be easily scaled up or down, depending on the population size.
The goal of a circular city design is to achieve an efficient, long-lasting harmony between man and nature. The geometric arrangement incorporates lush greenery and vibrant landscapes, such as parks and gardens, to balance out the residential districts and city buildings and to avoid our modern “concrete jungles.” Circular cities aim to coexist with nature and maintain natural ecosystems.
The grid structure allows each belt to have a specific function, such as a recreational or residential belt. However, each belt is also multi-functional in order to harmonize with nature. For example, a recreational belt may have exercise facilities or a concert arena, but it also intentionally preserves natural ecosystems, such as aquatic spaces or permaculture land.
The end goal of a circular city design is to create a self-reliant, resilient city that elevates the quality of living for all. As a result, these cities would not have to rely on a constant influx of resources from other regions. Their sustainable agricultural practices and renewable energy resources would completely sustain the community.
What do you think of the circular structure? Do you think a change in cities is needed for the future?
Exploring a Circular City Layout
- The typical circular city design generally features a central dome, in which core educational buildings, research centers, health or childcare facilities, or communications and networking systems could be equally accessed by all in the heart of the city.
- The next circular band around the central dome is a recreational belt meant to provide the community engaging activities, such as art, theater, concerns, exercise facilities, dining, and other amenities and forms of entertainment.
- The next circular band is divided into 8 different residential districts. The flexibility in the circular city’s residential designs allows each person to adapt the architecture to their personal preferences and needs. In addition, each home enjoys flourishing landscapes and gardens, which allows some separation and relative isolation. Residential districts could also feature skyscrapers with apartments, in-house restaurants, educational facilities, and more. Given the nature of the geometric design, everyone living in the residential district will be in equal proximity to the recreational belt and central dome.
- The next circular belt features agricultural spaces to grow organic produce without the need for pesticides or chemicals. It also provides space for indoor hydroponic farming, aeroponic farming, and aquaponic farming facilities. These alternative farming methods involve growing plants without the need for soil.
- A circular waterway surrounds the above-mentioned agricultural belt, which can be conveniently used for irrigation and filtration.
- The outermost belt of the circular city can be used for exploratory recreational activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and more. In addition, sections can be set aside for renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind generators, geothermal energy, and more.
What do you think of this layout? Is there anything you would add, remove, or rearrange? Why?
In circular cities, flexible architecture and design would allow homes to be customized according to individual preferences and be built into any type of landscape. Just like the circular city itself is meant to be a self-sustaining structure, so too are the homes meant to be reliant on their own energy. Each home would be equipped with some form of renewable energy, whether it be thermal generators or heat concentrators, to completely operate their entire household.
Individual homes would be prefabricated or manufactured in an automated facility and then assembled on-site, which would reduce waste. These modular homes would not only be easy and efficient to mass produce, but with ceramic coatings and reinforced concrete, they would also be resistant to fires, relatively maintenance-free, and able to survive harsh weather conditions like hurricanes, tornadoes, and other strong storms.
What do you think of these self-contained homes?
How Would New Technology Affect Work, Recreation, and Living?
Circular cities and technology will go hand-in-hand. It depends upon advanced technology and science to restructure the current social system to create a higher standard of living for everyone. By using automated technology humanely and responsibly, circular cities would decrease work hours and increase time for recreation and intentional living. For example, fully-robotic factories, automated agriculture and harvesting systems, and even automated building systems would dramatically cut down the need for a large workforce. As a result, each individual would have ample time to discover and experience the world in a fulfilling way.
What kinds of technology do you think circular cities would need to achieve this?
Energy and Agriculture
In circular cities, agricultural practices and energy sources both have the potential to cut down on industrial waste and emissions, better preserve natural resources, become more self-reliant and sustainable overall. Clean, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal power are often suggested for circular cities. As a result, energy reserves could be built up and responsibly used.
Alternative indoor farming methods like hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquponics skip soil entirely. Instead, farmers replace soil with nutrient-rich water to support the roots of the plants. But why grow without soil in the first place? This agricultural practice may seem strange, but it is quite revolutionary because: it allows people to farm anywhere in the world, to farm anytime of the year without risks of inclement weather, and to harvest higher yields using far fewer resources. This type of farming is specifically advantageous in a circular city system because it solves the problem of having to import food from different areas. As a result, cities can have hyper-local food systems.
What do you think of these solutions?
What Problems Could Circular Cities Solve?
It is now considered to be far more efficient to build completely new cities rather than updating them to fix their current problems. The major issues cities today face include: poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate air and water, environmental concerns, corruption, crime, housing shortages, crowding, a shortage of employment, clogged infrastructure, imbalanced access to public services and education, and many more. Circular cities have the potential to bring enormous economic, social, and environmental changes in all of these areas.
Circular cities are meant to be semi-natural urban community-living spaces that are safer and healthier for all individuals. They are strategically designed to reduce energy consumption, maintain equal access to natural resources, and create a more livable environment for everyone.
Cities are hubs for innovation and change, after all. Do you see circular cities in our future? What do you think of them?