There will be 8.3 billion human beings on Earth by 2030. For the guest-editors of this issue of AD Jonathan Schwinge and Ian Abley, the more the better. They controversially suggest that humanity might create a world of expansive megacities – including one around old London. Doing so will advance the art, science and processes of manufacturing. But to deploy those abilities, they say, society must reject the dogma of sustainability that insists only small can be beautiful.
Schwinge and Abley call for development on a bold scale. They argue that by rapidly super-sizing the built environment society is not made vulnerable to natural or man-made hazards, and that design innovation surpasses bio-mimicry. Designers can learn from materials scientists working at the smallest of scales, and from systems manufacturers with ambitions at the largest. This issue calls for creative thinking about typologies and topologies, and considers what that also means for Africa, China, and Russia. Megacities everywhere demand integration of global systems of transport, utilities and IT in gigantic structures, constantly upgraded, scraping both the sky and the ground, outward into the sea.