We (re)Built This City!

Project: We (re)Built This City!

Task: Choose any city on Earth to redesign as your own eco-city that satisfies our planet’s need for sustainable development and society’s need for community and safety, and minimizes the city’s ecological footprint/environmental impact.

Product: Produce a Written Urban Analysis and create a physical, sketched, or digital map of your chosen city that is visually organized and clearly communicates the project requirements.    Be sure to choose the format that is most appropriate to the time you are given to complete the project.  

Part 2: City Redesign Project Requirements:

Now that you’ve analyzed your city of choice and identified the social and environmental issues, you now must redesign your city to better meet the needs of its people and ecosystem.   This must be presented in map format with explanations as required per topic.  

My Maps:


1. Energy Production - Social Needs vs. Sustainability

Guiding Questions: What type of energy will your city use?  Where will this resource come from? Will people have enough energy to meet their basic needs?  What might they have to give up?  How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

Refer to map C and A. (the roads are solar roads and the dams make hydroelectric power.)

In Johannesburg, they use a lot of non renewable and unclean energy, this is a chart of the energy which is currently supplied in Johannesburg;

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 8.31.52 AM.png

As we can see from the chart, they only use 3% renewable energy. This is a big problem because not using renewable energy impacts the environment and the ecosystem. All of the non-renewable, unclean energy lets off different gasses that are harmful and are causing global warming. In order to fix this, I am going to change the energy sources that my city will use, but I will keep the renewable energy sources that my city currently uses. (The nuclear energy my city currently uses is piped in from Cape Town so it is not shown on my map.)

The energy source that my city will use, is solar electricity. The form of solar electricity my city will use, will be solar roads. Solar roadways are roads that are made out of solar panels and harness energy from the sun. For the most part, the solar paneled roadways are made from recycled materials.

The people will definitely have enough energy to meet their basic needs, because it has been estimated, that if all of America’s roads were changed to solar roadways, they would create three times more energy than they are currently using.

The solar roadways impact society, because they will be safer than the roadways we have now. E.G. In the solar cells that make up the solar roads, there are heating panels. This will decrease the amount of accidents in Winter due to weather conditions as the roads won’t be nearly as slippery because the heating panels in the solar cells will melt the snow and ice off the roads.

The solar roadways will also be better for the people because solar power is a clean and renewable energy. Solar roads will stop the usage of non - renewable energy sources, such as coal, oil etc. and this will be healthier because when non - renewable energy sources are used they let off gas emissions. When solar power is used, it doesn’t let  off any gasses which are harmful to the people.

View the Video on Solar roadways below.

2. Population Density/Political Borders - Social Needs vs. Sustainability/

Guiding Questions: Have you changed the population density of your city?  Have you changed the overall area (km2) of your city limits?  What will you do with the reclaimed area outside the new limits? How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

3.  Transportation System - Social Needs vs. Sustainability

Guiding Questions: Specifically, what types of transportation systems have you added to help your population navigate the city?  What type of energy will these transportation systems use?  How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

Refer to map A.

The transport in Johannesburg, is very inefficient. One reason of this is that Johannesburg is a huge, sprawled out city and the transport systems are old and don’t take people to certain big districts.

In Johannesburg, there is a train system, but it is inefficient because, it was built quite a long time ago, and the trains don’t go to most of the big working districts like Sandton Midrand or Randburg.  

Also in Johannesburg, they have a bus system, but it too is extremely inefficient. Therefore the people of Johannesburg, use taxis. But they are not taxis as you or I would know. The taxis are like minivans that lot and lots of people get into. They tell the man driving where they want to go. They are quite like Turkish dolmuses. They use this system because the busses don’t go often nor are they reliable and don’t travel to many places.

My solution to the above problems is that I am to create efficient districts (see question below) and I will change the transport to the districts as follows:


I will create a proper timetable for the busses and proper routes for the busses which should help. The busses will be electric busses. The way I am going to power them, is using the solar energy, (refer to previous question), which will be harnessed from the solar roadways.


I will expand the train network, so that it runs through all of the districts that have been devised for Johannesburg. This should help the people get around, more easily and for cheaper. Trains are already normally electric powered using using solar roads.


In Johannesburg there are three airports which is good so I am not going to move or change them.

My new transportation systems will help ecologically because the public transport will be very good and efficient, which will decrease the amount of people who drive and this will then decrease the amount of air pollution. This will help socially because the more people who use public transport, the less people are driving and this decrease the amount of pollution. This therefore reduces sickness because of air pollution.

Reduction in transport time for citizens will increase their social/leisure time.  This is an important social factor.

4. Zoning - Social Needs vs. Sustainability

Guiding Questions: Have you identified separate zones for homes, factories, stores, schools, and farms?  Why have you chosen to place certain zones in certain areas of the city?  How has the creation of zones made the lives of your citizens better?  How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

Refer to Map C

Johannesburg is a very big, sprawled out city. So to fix this I am going to split the city into different districts. There will be eleven different districts. Instead of each district being a district of residency or a district of schools, each district will contain an industrial area, an area for businesses, an area for schools, different forms of transport, a residential area and a community service area.


The reason moving everybody into different districts will be good for the city, is that there are a lot of shanty towns in Johannesburg. The people who live in the shanty towns are usually very poor, live in horrible conditions and get little or no education. Moving these people into districts will help them socially because; the new housing will give them a better quality of life. They will live in proper houses not shacks on the side of the road. It will be safer for them because nobody will be able to break into their houses and steal from them because they will live in proper houses/apartments. Being moved into the different districts, will be more healthy for the people because they will live in proper houses and they will have proper places to store food, use the bathroom and dispose of waste etc. so it is less likely to get sick.

Agriculture, business and industry:

In the districts, the farms will be close to the industries because the raw materials from the farms, can then be transported to the industrial/business area, easily and quickly. This impacts the people of Johannesburg economically because the cost of transport from the farms to the factories will decrease. The products coming out of the factory will therefore be cheaper.  Reduced transportation of raw materials and finished products will also impact the people of Johannesburg socially because the air pollution will decrease. The air pollution will decrease because the distance of transportation is less. Reduced air pollution means the people will be healthier.


The different districts will each have an area for schools. The schools will be situated close to the residency area. This is to make it easier, for children to get to and from school. It will decrease the amount of people who need to drive to school, because the schools will be within walking distance of the houses. Therefore this should decrease the amount of air pollution. Close location of schools to homes impacts the people socially because for the ex shanty dwellers, who couldn’t send their children to school previously, now can. Houses closer to schools will also increase the community spirit.

Community Service:

The community service section of the district, will be close to the schools/residency sections. The community service section will consist of police stations, fire departments, hospitals, and libraries etc. It will be close to the schools/residency area for convenience. This impacts the people socially because they will be better policed, children will be nearer the amenities they need, the emergency services will be near by and the community will thrive.

5. Parks and Public Space -  Social Needs vs. Sustainability

Guiding Questions: Have you set space aside for parks, squares, and centers for public space?  Why have you chosen to put them in certain places? How will these spaces make the lives of your citizens better?  How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

6. Public Buildings -  Social Needs vs. Sustainability

Guiding Questions: Do you have enough schools for all children in your city?  How will students get there?  Have you put enough police stations in your city to make your city safe?  Fire stations? Hospitals?  Why have you chosen to put each building in its place?   How is this a more environmentally sound practice from how your city did this before?

Cultural Geography

Major points of interest (cultural and historical)

Written Analysis ONLY: for each of the following sections, identify one application of science or technology that will address a problematic urban issue in your re-designed city. You must include:

how science/technology is applied to address a specific problem or issue in your city (e.g. a scientific innovation that can reduce carbon emissions, minimize water pollution, etc.)a general description of the scientific principles involved.

how successful it will be at solving the problem - this should include a discussion of the potential and limitations of the science being applied (e.g. Solar roads have been making the news lately - good idea, bad idea? Here is one man’s opinion: http://jalopnik.com/why-the-solar-roadway-is-a-terrible-idea-1582519375 )

an image or diagram to illustrate the scientific principles of the technology being used.

You are only required to complete three of the five

Regional agriculture (habitat destruction, monoculture, fertilizer/pesticide use, soil quality)

Water issues (pollution and consumption of fresh and saltwater) urban development (sprawl, expansion, etc)

Energy needs (fossil fuels, natural gas, nuclear power)

There are many roads in Johannesburg:


There is a new technology now called solar roads. Solar roads are basically roadways made out of solar panels.

If this technology was implied on all of the roads in America, they would produce three times the amount of energy that america uses (Solar Roadways).  

Solar powered roadways are a new technology which create power from harnessing energy from the sun. The energy the solar powered roadways create is renewable energy because, we can continue creating this energy forever unlike coal, natural gas or oil. Solar roadways work by using a semiconductor which is like silicon, which absorbs the heat and light from the sun and turns it into energy.

“Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently used most commonly. Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely.”


The only things that are limiting the roadways from working are:

The cost is very high,20140513182652-Glass_-_big_piece.jpg

the glass panes on top of the solar panels, they could pierce the tyres of a car if they were smashed.

The way you build the roadways; “The current state of the design appears to depend on the placement of a one-foot-square grid of large bolts in the roadway. I've installed bolts into concrete, and it takes me several minutes to mark the hole, drill it, clean it out and pound the anchor into place. A mile of 30 foot wide roadway would have 150,000 bolts to install. Whee!” (David Forbes). Parking-lot-east-300x225.jpg

This is an image of the solar roadways.  

The successes of this project would be that Johannesburg, would definitely have enough energy, and the energy that they would use would be clean and renewable.

Production and processing of waste

In Johannesburg, they produce over 1.8 million tons of waste per year. This is extremely bad for the environment because not a lot of it is recycled. Most of the waste goes into landfills.

In order to fix this I looked at the newly built city in South Korea, called Songdo.  They have come up with a very good idea.

Songdo has brought all of their waste underground. They have big waste processing centers. The waste from all the peoples kitchens in Songdo, are sucked through pipes, using a compressed and dehydration method, and down into the underground processing centers. The machines then automatically sort the waste. The ultimate goal for this city is to have the machines turn the rubbish into electricity. But this is not fully operational yet.  _69395025_songdowaste.jpg

This is what the waste processors will look like when they have been modified to turn the waste into energy.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 8.53.45 PM.png

This is the technology I will be implementing in Johannesburg. The limitations of this technology are that the rubbish can not be turned into electricity yet, but all the waste that is currently produced is being recycled. By 2015, they say that the rubbish will be turned into energy for the city.

Air quality/pollutionScreen Shot 2014-05-31 at 8.31.52 AM.png

In Johannesburg, there is a lot of air pollution.Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 8.58.50 PM.png


With air pollution comes health issues and ozone depletion. Peoples health can be affected by air pollution, because when fumes go into the air and we breathe them in this can cause problems with our respiratory system such as; lung cancer which can eventually lead to death. One way of reducing fumes is to reduce the amount of cars on our roads, this could be better for the environment. But an even better solution to these problems would be to use electric cars. Electric cars are amazing. They create no pollution and are nearly silent when driven.

Using electrical cars we can reduce the amount of fumes being put out into the atmosphere. Without as many fumes going into the atmosphere, this will slow down ozone depletion and therefore, global warming will be slowed down as well.

The limitations of using an electrical car are that they cost quite a bit, and the electricity used to fuel them at the moment is made by burning fossil fuels. This still causes pollution which is bad for the environment and affects the carbon cycle. But in my city all electricity is clean and renewable because I am going to use solar roads which create clean and renewable energy. (See question no.1 in science part of project) carboncycle_sm.jpg

Works Cited:

"Air Pollution Facts, Air Pollution Effects, Air Pollution Solutions, Air Pollution Causes - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/pollution-overview>.

 "Air Pollution Facts, Air Pollution Effects, Air Pollution Solutions, Air Pollution Causes - National Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/pollution-overview>.

 BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/wasting_resources/waste_pollution_rev2.shtml>.

 "Causes, Effects and Solutions of Air Pollution - Conserve Energy Future."ConserveEnergyFuture. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-effects-solutions-of-air-pollution.php>.

 "Converting Trash into Electricity - Eliminating the Unwanted, While Creating the Needed." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjZgtmd1kko>.

"Could Songdo Be the World’s Smartest City?" World Finance. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://www.worldfinance.com/inward-investment/could-songdo-be-the-worlds-smartest-city>.

 Forbes, David. "Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea." Jalopnik. David Torchinsky., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <http://jalopnik.com/why-the-solar-roadway-is-a-terrible-idea-1582519375>.

 "Has 'smart' Songdo Been a Success?" BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23757738>.

 "HowStuffWorks "Advantages and Disadvantages"" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2014. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehicles/electric-car-battery3.htm>.

 "HowStuffWorks "Advantages and Disadvantages"" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2014.<http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehicles/electric-car-battery3.htm>.

 Johannesburg Location Guide. Digital image. Johannesburg Location Guide. Johannesburg Location Guide, 2014. Web. 11 June 2014. <http://w0.fast-meteo.com/locationmaps/Johannesburg.10.gif>.

 "Johannesburg (South Africa) :: Physical and Human Geography."Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/304472/Johannesburg/13751/Physical-and-human-geography>.

 N.p., n.d. Web. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.joburg-archive.co.za%2Findex.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D34%26Itemid%3D66%20%20http%3A%2F%2Fcollinesblog.wordpress.com%2F>.

 "Solar FREAKIN' Roadways!" YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU>.

 "Suburbs of Johannesburg." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 June 2014. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suburbs_of_Johannesburg>.

 "Suburbs of Johannesburg." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 June 2014. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suburbs_of_Johannesburg>.

 "Threats to Ecosystems." Threats to Ecosystems. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://enviropol.com/index.php/threats-to-ecosystems>.

 Toothman, Jessika, and Scott Aldous. "How Solar Cells Work."HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks.com, 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 15 June 2014. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-cell2.htm>.

 "Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea." Jalopnik. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014. <http://jalopnik.com/why-the-solar-roadway-is-a-terrible-idea-1582519375>.