Moldovan architect Maxim Calujac has a unique vision for sustainable, human-focused urban design, and he has named his dream "Calotopos". Based on a set of principles including polycentrism, population dispersion, transport reduction, and ecological stewardship, it's a forward-thinking style of holistic architecture that paints a fascinating picture of what cities of the future could look like.
Maxim Calujac is of the firm belief that people don’t need to live in cramped, overpopulated cities. In fact, his vision of the future is one in which people live in harmony with nature, in sustainable buildings where work, family life, and play are all in balance. He has named his vision “Calotopos” (from the ancient Greek terms καλός-beautiful/pleasing and τόπος-place) and it sounds like a gorgeous, idyllic way to live.
Rethinking Human Settlements
In Calotopos, polycentrism is key: rather than one specific city hub, there would be several self-sufficient areas interconnected by biking/walking paths and subterranean tunnels. The key would be to integrate human lifestyle with the natural world, so people would have the opportunity to be out and about in nature every day, with recreational areas being integrated between residential, entertainment, and work spaces. People would take active roles in shaping the local environment, taking part in landscape design and public art pieces, instead of merely being passive bystanders.
Industrial buildings and warehouses would be underground, which would free up surface space for agriculture, reforestation projects, and fields of wildflowers that would feed pollinating species. Moving these buildings underground would also allow surface space to be used for sustainable energy technologies such as solar panels and windmills.
One of the major issues choking contemporary cities is transport, as people use countless vehicles to travel between work and home, and to move goods. In Calujac’s vision, an underground tunnel network of self-driving electric pods could transport items as well as people, while aboveground transportation would be human-powered or electric: bicycles, recumbents, electric scooters, and walking via interconnected trails. These methods would cut down on both air and noise pollution, and increase the opportunity for exercise and wellbeing.
Ultimately, Calotopos represents a Utopia wherein human potential and the natural environment take precedence over commercial interest, and public spaces are nurtured to support all life; human, animal, insect, and plant-based alike.