The Science Behind the Fiction.
It's not just wishful thinking. Nearly everything you see in the artwork, Carbon Cycle City already exists today:
"Welcome to ‘Carbon Cycle City.’ Our metropolis became a role model for how we can skilfully manage carbon. It all started with shifting our view of CO2 from a static and harmful pollutant to a cycling and living resource. By no longer seeing CO2 as an obstacle but an opportunity, we've evolved our broken carbon loops into prospering long term cycles. This mindset shift has created a tremendous ripple effect throughout our city.”
"Our city hall's circular city plan goes far beyond reaching for zero emissions. We went from seeing carbon as a liability to understanding it as an asset and a resource."
"Our circular city plan endorsed by city hall is continuously transforming companies. Sewage plants turned into fertilizer factories, landscapers became conservationists, and developers switched to being carbon capturers."
"City hall has a carbon inheritance program to help the next generations reflect on the negative impact of wealth obtained through burning fossil fuels. Now it's our responsibility as a post-industrial city to aid others and give them the same chance to thrive. Only this time, without being harmful to nature."
Source: Neonature | Carbon Neutral Cities
"In our Co-working space, the city supports courageous carbon initiatives. One such project is an app that was developed here: the app lets citizens donate data to improve the experience and efficiency flows of public transportation."
Source: EIT InnoEnergy | CityLAB Berlin
“Wherever possible, we left room for tiny forests to flourish, undisturbed by development. Our landscapers trim only the very edges of our green spaces. Opting to re-wild these places makes them store carbon better, cools our city, reconstructs microhabitats and looks marvellously colourful."
Source: Umweltbundesamt | Tiny Forests
“Our city’s ambitious transition away from fossil fuel based transportation sparked a carbon neutral mobility movement fuelled entirely by renewable energy. Made up of self-driving vehicles, public transportation is now modular. Vehicles connect to each other to transport many or go alone to transport few. Forget searching for parking spots, because our city’s smart vehicles are always on the go, ready to swoop up their next passengers."
“Buildings and bridges are made of carbon concrete. Inspired by the way corals transform CO2 into limestone; this concrete captures atmospheric carbon and locks it into place, rather than releasing CO2 during the building process.”
Source: Blue Planet Systems
"Here at the carbon market we sell and repair products made from CO2. Because we want this carbon to stay captured and out of the atmosphere, everything has a life-time guarantee. This means, whenever your products need fixing, updating or upcycling, all you have to do is come to our Repair Café. Our products range from furniture, kitchenware, to jewellery and more.”
“Can’t spot any solar panels? It’s because they’re invisible! Elegantly disguised solar energy opens the scenic skyline. They’re embedded into windows, roofs, and walkways – making room for nicer attractions to catch your eye. By investing in abundant and life-friendly energy sources, we’re reducing our carbon emissions. Beyond that with invisible solar tech, we’re improving the look of our city.”
"At our 'Superlocal' market, most food comes from a 40 kilometer radius. It's super fresh, seasonal, regional, ethically and kindly grown; and without any unneeded packaging. Not to mention, the selection is very veggie-forward with delicious meat alternatives. Being superlocal with our food culture saves tons of transportation emissions with groceries from overseas!
"These sculptures collect CO2 from thin air. It later gets used for products that are sold at our carbon market."
"Our farmland used to be abundant with thriving marshlands. Once drained, these fields released tons of CO2, so we tried our best to restore, replenish and rehabilitate them. Now we farm reeds and cattails. It makes great material for all kinds of buildings and packaging."
"Self-driving 'crawlers' harvest our plants. Unlike historical tractors, they have really wide wheels and are low to the ground to protect the soil from getting compressed. Healthier uncompressed soil can store carbon much better.”
"Airplanes are still needed for international trips. To make this possible, we have structurally revised aircrafts so that they are lighter and require less energy. Now they fly exclusively battery-powered on the basis of renewable energies or with hydrogen. Travel no longer has a large carbon footprint."
Source: Solar Impulse | Airbus | Eco Pulse | Festo Air Ray
"Our self-flying drones are used for planting, assessing crops, soil and ecosystem health– as well as measuring how much CO2 is released and retained by the fields.”
Source: Futurism | Agriculture Drones
"In our food forest we grow many fruits, vegetables and mushrooms together instead of just one crop at a time. This way we can harvest on different levels, from tree top layer to root layer. Did you know that forest gardens are more effective at storing carbon than traditional farms? This is due to the diversity of “organic carbon” flowing within the vegetation. CO2 moving within all these organisms is recycled and sequestered.
Source: Project Food Forest
“If you follow this pathway, you will arrive at our nature reserve, which is home to a high diversity of species. Amongst them are hundreds of year old oak forests and marshlands that have mastered how to tuck away carbon in their soils and plants, generation after generation. Leaving these ancient green carbon sinks untouched on the outskirts of our city, means in return, they’re able to protect and keep our city healthy for the long haul.”
"This is not your typical greenhouse, it is also a sewage treatment plant! Here, plants filter wastewater. They clean the water of pollutants and transform it back into clean, drinkable water. This method reduces the energy needed to filter the water of our city and thus saves CO2. In addition, the impure water fertilizes the plants and provides additional fruits and vegetables.”
Source: John Todd | Eco Machines
"Some industries are hard to fully decarbonize, such as chemicals and steel. To aid in the transition to being carbon neutral, they’re using smokestack filters to collect the carbon that they're emitting. The collected carbon can be turned into building materials from concrete, carbon fibres, insulation to rebar and more.”
Source: Blue Planet Systems
"This construction site has parts of its walls fortified with a carbon fibre net instead of using steel bars. The carbon fibre net allows the walls to be much thinner and therefore uses less concrete. This lightweight, concrete retrofit reduces the CO2 emitted by more than half compared to typical concrete."
“As citizens, we’re aware of our own carbon footprint and beyond. Using our individual resources smartly sure goes a long way, but so does getting involved to decarbonize the city, 1 initiative at a time. That's why we're part of the ‘Carbon Cycle City Network’, where we gather the neighborhood to optimise our shared resource usage and hold citizen science events to better our carbon emissions.”
"This group of students is on the their way to their 'green classroom'. They're studying the natural carbon cycle and are learning how it inspired our city. Nature has many insights that we emulate in our human designs."
“Nature is the master of maintaining fast and slow carbon cycles. However, when we burned fossil fuels, we released too much CO2 in our atmosphere, destabilising the balance of Nature’s carbon loops. To help Nature re-balance the scales, our designers dedicate our inventions to mimic the slow carbon cycle. Everything we create in our city aims to capture the CO2 we released, which we then trap by turning it into durable designs that lasts as long as possible before being released back into the air."
"The highly anticipated 'Carbonale' festival celebrates our 'Carbon Cycle City' and passes on our carbon awarness to the next generation. A new tradition for our children, or as we call them, our little carbon copies.”
"This dome is a gigantic battery, running on excess CO2 from industries that are hard to fully decarbonise. In a close-looped system, it transfers carbon into different states, from gas to liquid CO2. This process creates energy and can operate up to 30 years before the CO2 needs to be replaced.”
Source: Energy Dome | Undecided | CO2 Battery
"This 3D printer creates walls made of smart concrete that are interwoven with carbon fibres. Once the building is finished, it will collect energy with its solar roof. The surplus energy is stored directly in the concrete walls. What you see is more than your typical house, it’s also a concrete battery.”
Source: Undecided | Concrete Battery
"Our river is a large carbon corridor. It transports carbon run off from land and aquatic life found in plants and animals, soil and human activity–eventually flowing into the greatest blue carbon sinks: wetlands and oceans! Thus, we make sure that everything we do, on and near water is good for the river’s CO2 balance. Most importantly, we’ve restored the river's edge with a rich diversity of native plants. This nurtures healthy soil, which is the foundation for stable blue carbon sinks.”