Faced with the ever-increasing problem of pollution, the rising cost of energy, and unpredictable global economies, the world is entering a race to keep up in today’s technologically advanced times. Take a glimpse into what five of today’s cities have done to pioneer the way into our future.
Made rich by oil, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has plans to transform a strip of desert into Desert Islands, a sustainable city powered by wind and solar energy. Wildlife parks, including the Sir Bani Yas Island bird sanctuary, a safari park, and wetlands, will surround the city. If Desert Islands is completed successfully (which we hope it will be), Abu Dhabi will open the door to advancing eco-tourism.
On your way to Desert Islands, see the world’s largest chandelier in the Grand Mosque. Stay in the fururistic Yas Hotel with curvilinear LED-lit buildings and a GPS room key that opens room doors without physical contact, or the Moroccan-styled Emirates Palace.
The walled Masdar City will be the world’s first zero-carbon city powered by renewable energy from photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, and waste-to-energy plants. Masdar also plans to be oil-free, enlisting the use of a light rail to transport people in and out of the city. When Masdar City opens in 2025, head for the city center, which employs giant umbrellas that open and fold to shade and release heat to the city; witness the heart of Masdar’s research and development at Masdar Institute; and stay the night at the Yas Marina Hotel.
Originally a small shipping port, Singapore has transformed into one of Asia’s fastest growing economies. The city-state has adapted amazing ways to lessen traffic jams, such as the wired cab system that works from your phone and broadcasts to all cabs in your vicinity; and overpasses that deduct money from sensors on your windshield during peak traveling times. Next? The New York Times headlines Singapore’s plan to store oil by tunneling a vast network of caverns in its western seabed.
When to go? Anytime of the year. Where to stay? Lose yourself in the retro-themed Hotel Re; pick from 30 differently designed rooms at the New Majestic Hotel, or check in at the spaceship-designed counter of Klapsons.
China’s forward thinking is displayed in the satellite city Suzhou, just outside of Shanghai. The construction of SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park), with futuristic high rise apartments, luxurious office buildings, and mega-plex theaters, has invited an explosion of international companies. Named by Fortune as #1 of China’s 5 best new cities for business, Suzhou looks to expand its business into biotechnology and replaceable energy.
Witness stunning views from the five-star Pan-Pacific Suzhou, or budget at the simple but modern Scholars Inn. Be sure to get a good look at the 1000 year old Tiger Hill pagoda on a Tiger Hill boat cruise.
With its innovative, research and development environment, Helsinki was featured in CNN’s Future Cities series for pioneering super-insulated buildings to survive bitter winters. The modern landscape of Finland’s bustling capital is also home to one of the world’s most advanced telecommunications. As a CNN article reveals , “Who knew Finland was so high-tech?”
Visit the the Finnish capital in July and August and catch the ferry to Suomenlinna fortress, sailing around the six archipelago islands. Lodge in Hotel Kämp, a luxurious hotel which boasts a spa with three different saunas. Or, try the Hilton Helsinki Strand, with suites offering sweeping views of the sea.
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