Printing a megacity in the desert?

Can you print a megacity in a desert and demand it to return your investment?

“Dimensionality” in complex networks is still an ignored concept in any other discipline which deals with those networks – but physics, the mother of them all.

In city planning for example, governments can aspire to make a metropole of 9 million and expect it to behave like NYC, once it matures. If not necessarily reproducing the same financial or political influence, but at least creating a similar “feel” internally shouldn’t be much to ask?

Not true.

It is essential to build megacities from smaller organic elements: minor towns already in each others’ neighbourhood.

Is such a simple observation in other, similar, networks something that the policymakers of some trillion-dollar future megacities are unaware of? And do they not need that knowledge when they expect the return for their investment?

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Building new fresh sustainable megacities in uninhabitable fields sounds like a brilliant idea. The trend has many great promises:

For one it shall massively returns the investment through real estate. It will laso host the future waves of urbanizing population while built with the state-of-the-art and more sustainable infrastructure. Even better, if it is built in a desert where preserving the natural ecosystem is much less vital than say, a rainforest.

But sustaining a megacity logistically is not possible without sustaining it culturally. That is the foundation of the city life and for it is necessary to mimic the underlying dimensionality of organic metros – something that should match the metropolis’ magnitude – or else the megacity will never produce the effects of cities of even much smaller magnitude, no matter how much money is spent on central planning.

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Even if the best engineers set up the physical infrastructures and plug in the vital resources and the structures are built with fresher and more sustainable technology with a smaller footprint, there are still fundamental problems in printing a city in the middle of nowhere with a “grid mindset”.

The good news is though, it could take just a little more investment but in the right direction to try to recreate a “dimensionality” that typically evolves over centuries when a megacity is organically seeded.

Only then one can attempt to create the equivalent of some several centuries old institutions in the course of years.

China has understood this and they are building their megacities around the existing smaller parts. Much smaller cities like Dubai or Doha have also grown their skyline organically – though on steroid – around an existing old town.

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