Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This is the sound of a garbage truck in Taipei. A subway in Seoul. 3:30 in Santiago. Auckland Singapore Copenhagen Los Angeles Sydney London Nairobi Venice Shenzhen Kuwait City Mumbai And Songdo. That’s in South Korea. Awfully quiet... I ended up in here because I was looking for the City of Tomorrow. Songdo is the largest private real-estate development in history. It’s a master-planned and entirely state of the art smart city. While Songdo doesn’t look like that future, some believe it’s the future we need. It’s only impossible until someone does it. It’s also where they shot…. Just 25 years ago PSY would have been dancing on THIS. Here are some other cities built on water. There is a race to build a functioning workable city and to replicate that model all over the world. China alone would require 500 Songdos to sustain their growing population. So how did we get here, with an entire industry racing to build smart cities from scratch? Technology is the answer, but what is the question? Good question Carlo. Are we just building cities of the future so we can have cities of the future? Let’s take a step back. When cinema was born only 14% of the world’s population lived in cities. Right now we’re at 54%. And this is where we’re headed. Cities today are growing at a pace that none of us have ever understood. Now, that’s a huge deal when you think about it, because the resources that built the megacities of the 20th century aren’t sustainable today. We do damage to nature, and we do less damage to nature when we occupy less of it. We’re not gonna make our planet grow and thrive by continuing to sprawl out. They’re basically saying that when density is done right, it’s the best if not the only solution to our growing climate crisis. So is future urbanization going to be a good thing? Or a bad thing? If you care about people, this is the defining question of our time. The Nantucket Project asked me to explore that question, because that’s what they do, explore! So I read books, talked to experts, travelled around the world, asked the internet for help and got responses from people in all of these cities This is Lucas, we met on Youtube. They’d show me around, and when I couldn’t visit in person they’d send me footage. The best thing about cities and the internet is they connect people. So this movie is about exploring what an even more connected urban future could look like. Mayor Cavanagh: There is a renaissance in the city and I’m honored to be a participant in the Detroit story. That was Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, making a bid for the 1968 Olympics. 50 years later, population still in decline, Detroit went bankrupt. In 2014 we had the water shutoffs in Detroit. Thousands of homes lost water due to shutoffs. And I wanted to focus on helping resolve that so I created an application called City Water that’s gonna give Detroit residents their water usage in real time. That might sound boring compared to a drone delivering your pizza but let’s remember that cities only reached their full potential when they became healthier places to live. At the start of the 20th century America’s cities were spending as much on water as the federal government was spending on everything except for the post office and the army. We’ve come a long way to an exciting area! This is Abess. He saw my video announcing the project and wanted to make sure his city made the cut. I was born here, and I’m really passionate about bringing the city back to the point it was. We’re no Silicon Valley but we’re tryin’ to become a city that brings tools and brings solutions and brings jobs back. Detroit is his company’s first client. That means they’re using data to prevent this kind of thing. And the citizens say, “I don’t need to have a smart city, but whatever new innovation comes, if it helps me, I’m going to embrace it." And it’s really encouraging just the fact that the city is willing to do a project like this and we’re hoping to launch that in January of 2017 and take that to other cities across the country. Because cities don’t inherently compete with each other, there’s a huge opportunity to collaborate with other cities. We could take the best practices in sustainable urbanization and spread them around the world as quickly as possible. That is the promise of the 21st century of urbanization. It’s easy to imagine adopting Abess’s app in Santiago and Los Angeles is a city that has never taken water for granted. Well what can we do the rest of the city needs drinking water. Water again.. We use water from 1400 miles away. That is transported long distances using over 19% of our entire energy budget for the state of California. David uses solar power to turn air into clean water which he gives away for free to his city or sometimes turns into food. Awesome! Every building ideally can make its own water and be water self-reliant. In the same way future cities won’t need telephone lines, maybe they also won’t need water pipes. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Be water my friend..like that you see? I see, I get the idea. When people are innovating and developing solutions to address our most fundamental needs, a city will thrive. What kind of cities do we want? How do we want to interact as people in cities, because cities aren’t buildings, they’re people. Part of the job of urban success means to attract and produce skilled people and to retain skilled talent. This goes together in a city - opportunity and solving problems as they arise, innovating. Detroit is innovating right now, probably kinda like the way it was in the 1890s - when over 100 companies were working furiously to figure out the automobile. That’s also like Silicon Valley in the 60s & 70s, Bangalore in the 80s, and Shenzhen, where 90% of the world’s drones are manufactured, right now. There’s at least 26% of a technology from Silicon Valley actually comes from Shenzhen. Cities are more complicated than the headlines they make on the other side of the world. There’s no YouTube in Shenzhen so nobody saw my video there. Fortunately George goes to school in Hong Kong where saw the movie and emailed me. Then he filmed Shenzhen when he went home on the weekend. Thanks George! Like Songdo, Shenzhen was not a city 25 years ago and like many other cities, they built giant American-style highways. Currently the US has policies that we’re using general tax revenues to fund highways. We’re basically subsidizing people to drive. And that’s why it’s cheaper to drive to the grocery store to buy blueberries from 4000 miles away than it is to walk over to the farmer’s market and buy local. Can you tell I’m eating blueberries? You can tell you’re eating what you got. Okay, cool. Our subsidies and policies encourage bad habits but the false message we send globally is that big highways solve problems. Transportation’s been a very sleepy field for 50 years. You’re starting to see people rethink what our streets are about and who they’re for. Now cities are spending money getting rid of highways, confirming that more transportation choices and less parking are often the best ways to fight traffic and congestion. This used to be a motorway and now it’s a public space. So you got green space, shade, clean water, naturally cooler temperature in the area. And sure enough, traffic got better. Seoul is turning another highway into a path for people. Paris is going full-pedestrian along the Seine. In Singapore, where they just debuted a self-driving taxi, they’re also building a city with no cars. Same thing in: Alexander Göke: “Mannheim, Germany!” Which ironically is where this guy invented the first car. The future of our cities is about people, that really does mean focusing on public transportation and providing choices for how people get around. The number one factor that determines whether someone can escape poverty. You’d think it would be like crime rates or school--it’s commute time. When walking, cycling, and public transportation are the fastest ways to move, nobody feels like a second class citizen for not owning a car That’s going to be the secret sauce for cities in the 21st century. Check out all these metro cards! That last one is from Singapore, where I didn’t meet a single person who owns a car. It's hard to beat the Singaporeans. In Singapore a Toyota Corolla costs 140 grand and the government only lets you lease it for 10 years. The fact that they embraced having something that actually charges people for the social cost of their driving is a policy that basically all crowded cities should be embracing. In Santiago you can get around in this electric rickshaw for free. The design came from China. Let’s go back there. Hi Oscar! I actually never went to Shenzhen. Nice meeting you over the internet! George and Ina shot the interview and I tuned in on Skype Remember those giant American style highways? That’s what Shenzhen had in mind when they hired Vicky. You know we proposed to them a very different idea. Instead of increasing the highway we reduce it and then we prepared for a city where people can actually use more high speed self driving car. People can actually use drone to deliver daily groceries. Hiding cars in tunnels points towards a city made for people Maybe we can try this in Los Angeles Considering how quickly China went from THIS to THAT, and from THAT to THIS, it’s not surprising this project is happening in Shenzhen. The excitement of a happening place which attracts people you have to have a degree of openness and not too much regulation. Shenzhen spends more time making things than hiring patent lawyers to protect them. In the West it’s called theft, out here it’s called sharing. And if you want to know more about that, you should watch my friend Jim’s documentary. The point is, it’s exciting to live in a city where people are making things. That’s why I moved to New York, because I was drawn to all these people who were doing more with less. The most elusive solutions often spring from unlikely places. Geothermal energy power plant! This is a fog catcher and it can get up to 500 liters of water a day. If you can do something good with low budget resources, you can scale up very rapidly. Sometimes those solutions can end up shaping a city's identity. In Lagos - which is where this music is from by the way they call it KANJU! The word literally means like hustling. Trying to reimagine these challenges in Africa as opportunities to innovate is the spirit of kanju. Flooding is an issue in Makoko, so they built a school that floats by using cheap and available materials. This woman turns discarded plastic into bricks in Karachi. In Nairobi nobody uses credit cards or cash - all you need is a phone. In Manila they turn water bottles into solar light bulbs. And the people of India have always made more out of less. The inexpensive clay fridge that requires no electricity, or their hyper-efficient, massive homemade meal delivery system could never have been conceived by some well-heeled think tank. Dr. Jockin has lived in the slums for 50 years, built a million houses and toilets, been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and brought his organization, Slum Dwellers International, to 43 different countries. We don’t need you to come and sit on my head and dance. I know how to write my song, it is my dance, my song, I will play it. He’s basically saying - “We got this. If you want to help, channel your support through us.” For example here’s this self-run recycling operation in Jockin’s neighborhood. We all want to be involved in the futures of the places where we live. You go and see every city in the world, all has been planned by very very super well known, renowned architect, philosopher, and so on and so forth. You’ve lost all the sense of hearing from the people. Unfortunately a lot of architects have a sort of a pre-designed approach that they force into whatever context and culture they get to. And not every city can be like Singapore where 80% of the people live in public housing. So that means you don’t have slums, nor do you leave the city and its residents in the hands of the private rental sector. Back to Mumbai. We tend to disregard places like Dharavi, where Dr. Jockin lives, but it’s a rare example of a neighborhood solving its own housing needs. My friend Matias works to draw attention to what’s actually working in neighborhoods before attempting to intervene. He compares Mumbai to post war Tokyo. American planners decided to focus on infrastructure development. Everything else was left to people themselves and that created a gradual growth of a neighborhood. Like Tokyo in the 1950s, it’s your neighbors planning and building your home in Dharavi Up to ninety people can be working on a small site for four weeks and produce a house of much better quality than affordable housing that the government are developing. And embodying the kind of incremental growth private developers rarely aim for. The places that are self-built, we often see an incredible amount of care, feeling of ownership, a human scale in terms of what is actually being built. How do we combine the genius that’s really there in the streets solving its own problem, then how do we bring in a little bit of outside technology or better public management in order to upgrade them and to empower their citizens lives more effectively? Post-war Tokyo, unlike Mumbai, had major funding and state of the art infrastructure - and 30 years later it WAS the city of the future. That’s not my kind of place.