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  • 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 were at 54%. And this is where were 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.

  • Were not gonna make our planet grow and thrive by continuing to sprawl out.

  • Theyre 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.

  • Weve 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. Were no Silicon Valley but were

  • tryinto become a city that brings tools and brings solutions and brings jobs back.

  • Detroit is his company’s first client. That means theyre 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 were 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, theyre 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 worldThere’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 were

  • using general tax revenues to fund highways. Were 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 youre 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. Youre starting to see people

  • rethink what our streets are about and who theyre 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 betterSeoul 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, theyre also building a city with

  • no cars. Same thing in: Alexanderke: “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 aroundThe 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. Youve 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.