The next Tokyo? Scheme for ‘flood-defence city’ boasts first mile-high skyscraper

City connects: An ambitious proposal to protect the Japanese capital, the rise of night mayors and a greener Madrid all feature in this weeks roundup of the best city narratives from around the web

This weeks collecting of urban gems takes us all the way from Tokyo to Porto Alegre via Amsterdam and Copenhagen and ends with a first-hand experience of commuting. Wed love to hear your responses to these tales, and any others youve read recently: share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tokyos flood-defence city

When cities are threatened by floods, the obvious response is to build a wall while other solutions may include making permeable waterfront parks or floodable public spaces. However, one proposal for Tokyo, a city particularly prone to the impact of rising tides and rainfall, takes inundation defenses to a whole new level.

As CityMetric explains, the Next Tokyo 2045 proposal designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associate with Leslie E Robertson Associates, and still in the early stages of attempting approval involves the creation of a whole new city , built on reclaimed islands in Tokyo Bay, to defend against deluges.

Arranged in a series of hexagons to form a roadblock that minimises the impact of large ocean waves, the proposed city would include a mile-high skyscraper to house thousands of residents which, as an aroused Daily Mail and Metro point out, is increasingly becoming the worlds first mile-high tower, and twice the height of Dubais Burj Khalifa. Which again prompts the question: how much higher can skyscrapers run?

Night mayors

Should cities have dedicated 24 -hour the regions in which the night-time economy can flourish without disturbing the majority of the citys residents? Thats the opinion of Amsterdams very own night mayor and former club promoter, Mirik Milan. But as he explains, its not all about bars and clubs: You could have working spaces there, and a library open 24 hours a day for students, Mirin tells CityLab.

The night mayors role in the Dutch capital, created in 2014, involves managing and improving relations between night industries, residents and city government. Thus far it seems to have worked so well in Amsterdam that other European cities are following suit: Paris, Toulouse and Zurich now all have night mayors, while London and Berlin are considering introducing them.

Greening Madrid

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A man jogs in Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Alamy

Madrids walls, roofs and unused spaces are soon to be covered with greenery in a bid to improve the citys climate resilience and help reduce the impact of extreme weather such as floods and heatwaves. As Fast Co Exist reports, 22 vacant plenties in the Spanish city will be transformed into urban gardens, paved squares will become parks and river banks will be lined with trees. Roads may even be turned into linear parks as Madrid progresses with its city-centre ban on private cars.

The series of green interventions are being undertaken by global engineering and design firm Arup. By generating green roofs and walls through extensive planting, houses can save energy through insulation, air pollution can be mitigated and the carbon footprint of the city can be reduced. Shading from trees brings down local temperatures and the general increase in green coverage means water can be absorbed and stored after heavy rains, reducing the risk of flooding. Its also hoped that a greener Madrid will improve wellbeing among its citizens.

Copenhagen: perfect after all?

Copenhagen is often celebrated as the model of sustainable urbanism that other cities should look to learn from. But, as Feargus OSullivan argues in Next City, even Copenhagen can attain mistakes.

The urbanism motions model city is not immune to the challenges of growth, climate change and increasing economic disparity, writes OSullivan, citing the fractures caused by Copenhagens plans for a new harbour passageway and its housing strategy among other issues.

If the new harbour tunnel is construct, the city knows we cycling and pedestrianisation could end up being inundated with cars. And as housing demand exceeds the rate of building, costs of homes are skyrocketing while some of Copenhagens key housing projects are targeted at the wealthy minority.

Porto Alegres resilience roadmap

Last week, Porto Alegre announced its and Latin american states first resilience strategy, and perpetrated 10% of the citys budget towards improving resilience. Writing in Next City, Gregory Scruggs explains that the Brazilian citys strategy involves working towards a culture of peace, regularising land tenure, improving urban mobility and creating a dynamic invention ecosystem, focused on revitalising a zone of industrial land near the city centre called the 4th District.

To design the new strategy, the city utilized the networks established by its celebrated process of participatory budgeting. The policy, whereby the city is divided into 17 the regional offices and everyday citizens have a say in how municipal funds are allocated among them, put the city on the map in the 1990 s, writes Scruggs. The project team made a conscious great efforts to solicit notions immediately from the participatory budgeting regions, rather than show up with their own preconceived plans.

On commuting

And ultimately: the morning commute can induce an array of feelings and sensations: anxiety, exhaustion, claustrophobia, irritation, boredom … But for the luck few, it can also offer a peaceful moment of reflection. A chapter from the Book of Life captures one experience of commuting to London:

The train moves off, resuming its rhythmical clicking along ways laid down a century and a half ago, when the capital first began plucking workers from their beds in faraway villages. Familiar vignettes river by outside: a power station, a patch of waste ground, a postal depot, a copse of ancient trees, a group of schoolgirls in grey-and-blue uniforms, a band of cumulus clouds spreading from the west, a shopping mall across a motorway, some underwear swaying on a line, and then gradually, the backs of suburban villas, heralding the develops arrival into central London itself.

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