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Future

High-Density Megacity, 2055

illustration of futuristic city

High-rise structures with levels of greenery, terraces, and open spaces. Balconies big enough to grow vegetables. Speedy mass transit, including aerial trams that zoom workers straight to high-tech offices with bubble tops for skyline views. Architecture Professor Michael Buckley believes future urbanites will enjoy all of this and more. They’ll also gather at electronic forums—public areas with massive, high-resolution media boards that display international news and weather with interactive opinion polls and digital art. “A vibrant city core must also offer broad living choices for those seeking an urbane lifestyle,” says Buckley, director of UT Arlington’s Center for Metropolitan Density. “It’s clear that young knowledge workers want lifestyle experiences, walkable precincts, and variety in street-related retail.” The center promotes greater density to foster economically productive, fiscally efficient, environmentally sustainable, and culturally supportive environments. A recent partnership with HKS Inc. embeds graduate students from Buckley’s Advance Design Studio into the architecture firm’s downtown Dallas headquarters. “We get fresh insight and connection to research at the Center for Metropolitan Density,” HKS President and CEO Dan Noble says. “We believe bringing the design studio into a professional office environment is a first step in engaging students in real-world challenges.” Those challenges include creating higher density concepts for Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio that feature increased residential choices and new office workspaces complemented by cultural and retail uses. (Illustration by Stephen Durke)

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