How to Build Sustainable Megacities of the Future?

Here are some of the easy to implement solutions to keep megacities sustainable.
Kashyap Vyas

The trend of people relocating to the megacities and urban centers has altogether led to a different set of demands. There are 33 megacities and approximately 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, which is likely to rise to 66% by 2050.

Looking at these figures, the city planners surely need to divert their actions in creating a better future.

But, the question is - how?

Well, it is essential to weigh different parameters while planning the amenities of the city. One such important parameter that should be considered here is sustainability.

A sustainable city can contribute significantly to the environment around. You’ll know this as and when we proceed with the ways of making the megacities more sustainable.


Looking at the ever increasing population, it is crucial to adopt solutions that work not only in the interest of nature but as well as the public at large.

Some of the largest cities in the world have already come up with lucrative solutions that look after both - the people and the environment.

So, if you are looking forward to making use of renewable resources and enhance the sustainability level of your city, you are in the right place. Today, we are going to explore different ways that can help make cities more sustainable.

Before that, let’s find out how it can prove beneficial to your city.

How can a sustainable city contribute to the environment?

With each passing day, it is getting difficult in meeting the basic needs of millions who are migrating to megacities. This is further creating environmental and health challenges due to different reasons, including overpopulation, excessive consumption, pollution and depletion of resources.

Thus, the need for finding solutions has become imperative in today’s time.

Being a sustainable city has its own perks. Regardless of the smallest or the largest cities in the world, it definitely brings an end to so many problems that a city faces.

Listed below are some of the significant benefits that the city can achieve by being sustainable:

  • Reduction of CO2 emissions
  • Enhanced energy consumption
  • Increase in the use of ethical consumption
  • Implementation of reducing, reusing and recycling concept
  • Improvement in public health conditions

So, how should you avail these benefits? What measures should your city take for the same?

How should you keep your city sustainable?

  • Access to public resources is the first step for a city to be sustainable. This includes better air quality, safe health centers, quality education, easy access to public transportation, garbage collection facility, and many such modern living necessities.
  • A sustainable city must preserve cultural heritage and identity through renovation and restoration. For this, you can resort to the renovation of public spaces like parks, streets, urban spaces as well as modern irrigation and waste management practices.
  • The sustainable cities must promote and encourage ethical consumption, local food production as well as fair trade that are not only eco-friendly but also support local supply chains.
  • Importance must be given to recycling and responsible consumption of products. This will reduce the damage to the environment up to a great extent.

Every city is different; hence, it is vital to study each city individually, after all, the largest cities in the world come with a different set of requirements that you will need to take care of.

Figure out the requirements of your city by taking into consideration various elements and further determine the best possible way to ensure its sustainability.

Below 8 innovations can be of great help here. These are the general innovative ways which, when implemented can prove to be a game changer for your city. Make your city sustainable with these 8 innovative ways:

1. Maximizing the use of the existing space

The megacities need to shift their focus from building large scale infrastructure to maximizing the use of the ones that already exist. Some of the largest cities like New York, Vancouver and Glasgow are already leading this change.

Melbourne has initiated a program to allow the use of its historic buildings for different purposes.

2. Creating an online water system

Switch to smart water management models that are currently introduced to ensure the sustainability of water. For instance, the installation of smart sensors for water control and rainwater collection or detection of network issues can play a significant role in saving water.

MIT researchers have pulled up their socks and are working on sensors that can detect bacteria and virus in sewage water.

3. Tapping your social network for tree plantation

In this world of social media, you’ll hardly find people who are not present on at least one social media platform. So, how about tapping those people and convincing them to at least plant one tree?

Melbourne has taken an initiative by launching a website called the Urban Forest Visual. This website allows the residents to plant a tree, track as well as share it on social networks.

The good news is; the strategy got quite successful and resulted in the city’s 22% tree cover and is even expected to get doubled up by 2040. Similarly, in Singapore, the supertrees at the Gardens by the Bay features sustainable practices like harvesting solar energy and serving as air exhaust receptacles.  

4. Improving mobility

The well-known architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner has stressed on the fact that the planners who are keen on addressing the mobility issues should prioritize people over cars, especially in the largest cities in the world where traffic is a great concern.

According to him, having your own car will utilize your parking space of about 25 square meters and if you drive to work, it will utilize another 25 square meters near your workplace. That means a total of 50 square meters is immobilized simply because of parking reasons.

Here, it is best to have an efficient and safe mass public transportation system. The megacities should encourage cycling too, a practice that is followed by many European countries.

5. Co-heating, co-cooling, and co-generating

Basically, using renewable resources leads to sustainability. If you opt for co-generation systems, you can not only capture but also use the excess heat. Similarly, tri-generation systems can heat or cool buildings and quad-generation systems can recover CO2 used in the process for other applications.

Currently, Sydney follows a tri-generation system wherein it produces electricity that power up its civic buildings. As per the forecasts, this system will reduce the carbon emission footprint by almost 70% in 2030.

6. Promoting urban farming

Cities can cut waste and expenses of transporting food and vegetables by using buildings, roofs and city walls to grow food. Using technologies like hydroponics that does not require soil or use of LED lights.

So, this can be a great potential for ensuring food sustainability.

7. Encouraging mobility on demand

Vehicle routing, as well as computer or smartphone-assisted traffic management, can reduce time as well as fuel wastage while traveling through the congested areas.

Additionally, the concept of car sharing and self-driving vehicles can further boost efficiency by maximizing the use of vehicles and reducing the need for space to park the unproductive vehicles.

8. Introducing smart street poles

The polluting conventional streetlights have now been replaced by LED lights. This means the megacities have the opportunity to connect these light poles to form a web of information sensors.

The sensors can further assist you with a number of data like gathering air quality data, monitoring traffic and reducing the crime risk.

Making your megacity sustainable is not at all complex

Aren’t these innovative ways easy to implement? It not only promotes the use of renewable resources while securing your nature but also benefits you largely.


All you need is to first observe the patterns of your city and come up with a plan which, when executed works in the interest of the environment as well as the society at large.

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