The Power of Without

City Science

The Power of WITHOUT is a research theme in the City Science group. The theme proposes that heavy infrastructure solutions are not financially feasible and cannot meet the needs of rapidly urbanizing communities. Instead, we must research and propose new lightweight and decentralized solutions to solve the massive challenges faced globally.

As the world moves towards urbanization, infrastructure in cities is becoming increasingly burdensome, centralized, and complex. By 2050, the UN expects that 68% of the world's population will be living in urban areas. Considering a projected population of 6.3 billion, we would require $57 trillion USD, an unachievable amount which would exceed the combined annual GDP of the US, China, and Europe. In addition, 90% of this urbanization is expected to take place in Africa and Asia, as rapid urbanized-informal communities [REF], which makes the development of traditional infrastructure even more challenging.

At the City Science group, we pose an opportunity to rethink current models and invent new systems and strategies for a more livable, equitable, and resilient futures for human-centric communities. We explore new, fully distributed, low-cost strategies to provide communities with energy, clean water, sanitation,  internet, and others.

This research theme proposes a roadmap to understand, work, and collaborate with informal settlements all over the world. This new body of knowledge has the potential to become instrumental for decision-makers, community leaders, and stakeholders, to identify new ideas and methodologies that can be successfully incorporated in new and existing settlements to offer better living situations in rapidly urbanizing communities.

All current development, tools, and software are open source and can be found here.

Collaborators include: The Inter American Development Bank, The University of Guadalajara, Lord Norman Foster, and the Norman Foster Foundation.