New New York: What the near future will bring (PHOTOS)

Skyscrapers will boast vegetation on their rooftops.

In a few decades, you’ll probably be working in your underwear with a robot handing you coffee and an apartment door so smart it might recognize your friends’ faces.

Those are some of the ways New York might look differently in 2050, according to Dr. Ulrich Eberl, author of “Life in 2050” and director of innovation communications at Siemens.

In the New York of the future, Staten Island ferries might dodge wind farms, like the kind Mayor Michael Bloomberg already suggested putting in Long Island waters.

The skyline will also look different, with towers sprouted at the World Trade Center and 10 different subway trains zooming below in the Fulton Street Transit Center.

Getting into Manhattan will be much easier, said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future.

“I’m not suggesting flying taxis for sure,” Bowles told Metro, “but I think improvements in transit will be made, whether it’s really fast buses or much faster subways.”

You might not need to commute at all — many will telework, Eberl said, in apartments smart enough to recognize weather or even faces.

And piles of smelly garbage? By then, Bowles said, the city might have figured out a way to profit from turning garbage into energy.

 “No other city has more garbage, and I think maybe by 2050, we’ll finally figure out how to turn it from an albatross into an asset,” he said.

And the new New Yorkers will live in the few undeveloped places, like the rail yards in Sunnyside or industrial areas of Long Island City.

“There are very few places close to Manhattan where you could still see some kind of large-scale development occurring,” Bowles said.

What to expect

By 2050, Eberl envisions:
   
Floating green islands for farming and trees on rooftops.
Solar power plants and wind turbines high up between skyscrapers.
Thousands of surveillance cameras on skyscrapers will be checked by mini-robots. “Robotic assistants will be increasingly accepted in the home,” Eberl added, saying they might provide everything from reading out loud to cleaning dishes.
Cars that communicate with traffic lights, signs and other cars.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.



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