Urban intelligence

An initial USD 35 billion investment has turned 600 hectares of land into Songdo, a smart city built from scratch about 30 kilometers from South Korea's capital, Seoul, through a project launched in 2009. Buildings are equipped with sensors for monitoring temperature, energy consumption, and traffic which, among other things, can inform passengers of the public transport schedule. Also, with their help administrators are quickly informed of any problems. For sustainable living, residents have charging stations for electric cars, water recycling systems, and an intelligent underground waste sorting and disposal system.

Infinite blue

If Santorini impresses with its blue roofs, the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen is blue from one end to the other. Dozens of shades make it a fascinating place, and the origin of this special design is said to belong to a Jewish community that lived in these lands. Blue is an important colour in their culture, found even on the flag of the state of Israel.

Sustainable plans

The term "planned cities" is becoming more common in the projects of several states. Two examples of this are the cities of Masdar and Neom. For the first one, located near the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, construction began in 2006 and the initial objectives were to complete it in 2016. Masdar should have also become a 100% green city with a neutral carbon footprint and autonomous transport system. However, the developers only managed to complete a small part of the project - less than 10%, so the deadline was postponed. An investment of EUR 500 billion has been announced for Neom, and the ambitious goal of the developers is to complete it by 2025. The city will be developed on an area of 26,500 square meters in the north of the Red Sea, in the Tabuk province of Saudi Arabia. Neom will be powered entirely by renewable energy sources and will incorporate a multitude of smart technologies.

A vertical city

The port city of Whittier in Alaska has a population of only 220 people living, literally, under one roof: a former military base built on 14 levels. Despite its small size, there are shops in the town, along with a church, a health clinic, and a police station.

Architecture with cosmic influence

Beside idyllic landscapes, famous Bavarian castles, and monuments full of history, Germany boasts a unique attraction in the world: the medieval town of Nördlingen, which can be visited on a trip on the so-called Romantic Road, which stretches between Würzburg and Füssen. What makes it so special is its location inside a 25 kilometers wide and 1,500 meters deep crater formed, it seems, following the collapse of an asteroid.

Twin cities

Residents of China who miss European architecture but cannot travel due to pandemic restrictions have a much more affordable alternative: they can go on holiday to Austria without crossing the border - specifically in the picturesque town of Hallstatt. And that's because in Guangdong province there is a replica of it, which includes a church, streets, and houses built after the Austrian model, with prices even higher than the houses in the original resort.

The inhabitants of the mole

In Matmata, a town in southern Tunisia, most people live in totally atypical houses, and this is because they were built underground, in caves, by the Berbers, an indigenous people of Africa. If you are a fan of SF movies, you may know the old part of the city from the first feature film of the Star Wars series, which built its set here.

A resilient city

Not only geology enthusiasts are attracted to the rocks, but also the millions of tourists who come to visit the Spanish city of Setenil de las Bodegas, built on and under a huge basalt rock.

Data for this article was obtained from brightside.me.