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SIEMENS

Research & Development
Technology Press and Innovation Communications

Dr. Ulrich Eberl
Herr Dr. Ulrich Eberl
  • Wittelsbacherplatz 2
  • 80333 Munich
  • Germany
Dr. Ulrich Eberl
Herr Florian Martini
  • Wittelsbacherplatz 2
  • 80333 Munich
  • Germany

2040

IT’S 2040, AND SINGAPORE’S SKYSCRAPERS HAVE BECOME HAVENS OF FOOD PRODUCTION. THE PLANTATIONS ON PEOPLE’S ROOFS ARE TAKEN CARE OF BY "VERTICAL GARDENERS" LIKE LEE, A FORMER ARCHITECT AND URBAN PLANNER. HIS WORKPLACE ON THE TOP FLOOR IS A COMPLEX BIOTOPE IN THE MIDST OF A TEEMING METROPOLIS - AN UNSPOILED GARDEN WHERE FRUITS GROW UNTOUCHED BY GENETIC ENGINEERING. BUT THIS PARADISE TOO IS AN ARTIFICIAL WORLD.

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Master of the
Hanging Gardens
Singapore in 2040. Lee, a former architect and urban planner, has turned his hobby into a profession. He's one of the "vertical gardeners" of this metropolis - and the master of an exotic small world located high above the city.

The old man dressed in simple overalls doesn’t quite fit into the overall picture. After all, this is the sophisticated lobby of Tiger Towers, one of Singapore’s most modern skyscrapers. And he certainly won’t need the hedge clippers he’s carrying if he’s got a reservation at the gourmet restaurant in the building or if he’s heading for the up-market hairdresser on the 40th floor.

In fact, Lee comes here every evening because this is his workplace. Before he retired, Lee, who is now 70 years old, was a renowned architect and innovative urban planner who accompanied Singapore’s growth. But now he has turned his hobby into a profession. Lee is one of Singapore’s officially designated "vertical gardeners." He strolls leisurely over to the elevators at the other end of the lobby, enters one, presses the button for the top floor, and looks into a small retina scanner, as usual.

In a fraction of a second, the fingerprint chip in the elevator button and the retina sensor recognize his identity. "Access permitted," says a woman’s soft voice, and the elevator zooms upwards. The elevator doors open slowly, revealing a view of a different world. A wave of bird song and the chirping of countless insects rolls toward Lee. A canopy of leaves and flowers arches over him, and there is a smell of damp earth and exotic flowers.

A narrow footpath winds its way from the elevator through the green thicket of plants and loses itself between a pair of hibiscus bushes. Lee shoos back a chicken that is about to join him in the elevator and dives into the tropical garden.

As though he had passed an invisible barrier, the temperature suddenly changes - the perfectly air-conditioned world of Tiger Towers is transformed into the hot and humid climate of a rainforest. But when Lee pulls out his PDA, this wilderness is revealed to be the perfect illusion of an exotic jungle - an ultramodern greenhouse on the top floor of one of the city’s countless skyscrapers.

With just a few clicks, Lee can monitor, control, and make changes to this artificial world. Countless sensors are buried in the soil to monitor its temperature, moisture, and nutrient content. An intelligent management system automatically controls the amount of sunlight coming in as well as the ventilation and irrigation. The systems are powered by solar cells mounted all over the building. Lee is actually more of a manager than a gardener here, because the actual gardening work is done by robots that scurry through the underbrush on their metal legs.

Nonetheless, in this verdant setting Lee is more than just an extra. He played a major role when this "green floor" was designed, and the success of this concept justifies his efforts. In spite of its jungly appearance, the garden is more of a natural plantation than a park. Between the bushes and hanging vines, there are flourishing beds of vegetables, mangoes, bananas, and other tropical fruits that are sold at a profit.

The process of urbanization is progressing rapidly worldwide - with far-reaching consequences for the environment. More than half of the world’s population already lives in cities, which generate 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and consume 75 percent of the energy used worldwide. Forecasts indicate that the number of cities with more than ten million inhabitants is set to rise from 22 to 26 by 2015. Most of these megacities will be in developing countries and emerging markets, whose infrastructures are often lacking when it comes to sustainability. To blunt the impact of this rapid urbanization, municipal authorities are increasingly turning to energy- efficient technologies and sustainable city planning concepts.
Urban Nature
Huge Growth Market for Green Urban-Infrastructure Solutions

In a study conducted on behalf of Siemens, the Economist Intelligence Unit drew up the European Green City Index, which evaluated the sustainability efforts of 30 key European cities. Copenhagen comes out top, followed by Oslo, Stockholm, and Vienna. The cities received their good rankings in recognition of their energy-saving and climate-protection efforts.
What Makes a City a Winner?
Wind, Wood & Two Wheels
Green Milestones

Due to a lack of space and resources, Singapore is forced to implement sustainable urban planning in a confined area. To this end, it encourages international companies to use the city state as a test bed for green innovations, making it one of Asia’s greenest megacities. China is also looking at ways of giving urban growth a greener complexion - for example, through the use of highly efficient Siemens technologies. A wide range of solutions will be presented at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai in line with the world fair’s slogan of "Better City, Better Life".
China’s Cities Come of Age
Green Test Bed

To turn the dream of a green city into reality, scientists all over the world are working on new kinds of technologies and visionary ideas. Researchers at Siemens, for example, want to install transparent organic LEDs in buildings or exploit the principle of photosynthesis to create a special façade coating. Energy-saving LEDs from Osram are already being used in streetlamps in Regensburg. Some scientists would also like to transform skyscrapers into greenhouses in order to at least partly meet demand for food in megacities with locally-grown products.
Turning Carbon into Cash
Food Where it’s Needed

  • PEOPLE
  • European Green City Index
  • Stefan Denig,
  • Siemens Issue Management stefan.denig@siemens.com
  • Green cities in China
  • Bernd Eitel, CC China bernd.eitel@siemens.com
  • Solutions for South Africa
  • Rolf Huber, CC, rolf.huber@siemens.com
  • Singapore
  • Klaus Heidinger, City of the Future klaus.heidinger@siemens.com
  • Oslo and Smart City Trondheim
  • Gry Rohde Nordhus, CC Norway gry.nordhus@siemens.com
  • CO2 use
  • Dr. Osman Ahmed, BT USA osman.ahmed@siemens.com
  • Prof. Dr. Maximilian Fleischer, CT maximilian.fleischer@siemens.com
  • Lighting and building systems
  • Dr. Peter Dobiasch, Osram p.dobiasch@osram.com
  • Tobias Huber, BT t.huber@siemens.com
  • LED streetlamps
  • Dr. Martin Moeck, Osram martin.moeck@osram-os.com
  • Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs)
  • Dr. Christoph Gärditz, Osram christoph.gaerditz@osram-os.com
  • Vertical farms
  • Dr. Dickson Despommier ddd1@columbia.edu
  • Expo 2010 "Better City, Better Life"
  • http://en.expo2010.cn
  • Future Dialogue
  • www.future-dialogue.org
  • Daniel Libeskind’s website
  • www.daniel-libeskind.com
  • LEDs
  • www.osram.com/led
  • Vertical farms
  • www.verticalfarm.com
  • Singapore on the Web
  • www.gov.sg
  • Article on Moscow City power plant in Venture magazine
  • www.energy.siemens.com/hq/en/energy-topics/publications/venture