Future cities is a subject of increased debate with technological advances making some of our wildest imaginations for capitals across the globe a reality. Interpretations of cities of the future tend to revolve around flying cars and imposing skyscrapers, yet there’s a whole lot more to the city of the future than meets the eye.

Consider the dystopian view that many in the modern world share; cities experiencing thriving crime rates, dark alleys and a Big-Brother style authoritarian regime. This seemingly disastrous outcome seems a little post-apocalyptic for our taste, yet it’s one of many seemingly realistic views of how our cities could change in 50 years’ time.

The most interesting aspect of all of this, according to energy-focused design engineering firm BSE3D is that everything from lifestyle changes to building architecture will change almost without our notice. It’s almost like trying to see results after a few months in the gym; they are far more likely to be noticed by those who haven’t seen you since your first day on the treadmill.

It’s impossible to tell what the future holds for our cities but what we do know is that the vast majority of urban populations across the world are becoming overcrowded and polluted. Half of the world’s populations resides in cities and it’s expected that as many as 75% will have properties in London and other major cities by 2050.

Smarter urban environments are the long-term plan put in motion by specialist building architects and designers. However, there are some small glimpses of evolution already underway across the world today. Here are some intriguingly futuristic adjustments that have emerged in world cities over the last few years.

The City Pulse

Merging from Silicon Valley, Screampoint are a small firm that has developed a city dashboard which is capable of taking pulses from the city and assessing energy usage, waste management and available job vacancies. There are a number of cities that possess these intriguing dashboards, including Kansas, while Barcelona and Amsterdam are both considering obtaining one.

Hug a Tree Scheme

The people of Madrid have already been encouraged to adopt a nearby tree as a means of protecting and nurturing it to promote a greener city. Many citizens have already done so and have cited the need for further environmental awareness as their reasons for looking after a specific tree.

Marine Watch

An app has been created which was inspired by a project originating in Dublin, where water quality is regularly assessed to count the numbers of marine life. Local fishermen and restaurants use the app to find out what the catch of the day will be so that they can advertise early on to their customers.

The Interactive Apartment

MIT is home to a team of enthusiastic engineers who are keen to develop a whole new world of building architecture. They are working on homes that incorporate robotic walls that can be changed or moved depending on the preferences of the homeowner, creating or reducing space where necessary.

Health Care Provision

In Honolulu a crowd-sourced scheme was started to have defibrillators easily accessible all the time in case of emergencies. This involved having the life-saving equipment accessible in buildings around the city so that immediate help could be provided to someone who was suffering from a heart attack.