With ‘Metropolis – Sustainable Futures Under Construction‘, organized in celebration of its 20th anniversary, Swissnex delved into the world of sustainable urban development by bringing together experts and innovators from the Swiss and Bay Area ecosystems to share and co-create sustainable innovations and solutions to design resilient cities of the future.
Globally, cities house half of the world’s population, consume 75% of energy, and generate 75% of CO2 emissions. Addressing food security, energy consumption, and sustainable infrastructure design is vital for resilient cities.
The conference, which explored the future of cities from a sustainable lens by focusing on urban planning, construction, energy, and the physical and digital environments, brought to the spotlight some visionary Swiss innovators at the forefront of sustainable urban development.
Let’s zoom in on 3 bold and transformative solutions that are on a path to drive significant change and shape sustainable cities of tomorrow.
Transforming urine into sustainable fertilizer
Instead of polluting water, what if urine could be recycled and used as a sustainable fertilizer?
Urine contains most of the micropollutants ending up in natural waters. Cities are getting denser and wastewater treatment plants are saturated leading to more water contamination from urine. But urine also contains all the nutrients needed to fertilize plants. However, most of these nutrients are currently wasted and discharged in nature.
VunaNexus develops technologies that enable the recycling of all nutrients contained in urine to transform them into natural fertilizers. Its patented technology converts human and livestock urine into two valuable outputs: Aurin, a certified and marketable fertilizer that is hygienically safe and free of pollutants, and reusable water.
Already piloted by various cities across Europe, VunaNexus project has the double benefit of reducing water contamination caused by urine and generating sustainable fertilizers from otherwise wasted nutrients.
Re-using existing concrete to build new constructions
What if we built new constructions by re-using existing concrete instead of building with new concrete?
The construction of a new building has a significant environmental impact. Challenging conventional construction techniques, the architects from MacIver-Ek Chevroulet presented their project “Pétanque Renenais” in Western Switzerland, where they used 100% re-used concrete slabs from the demolition of a concrete office building to build the new load-bearing walls of a new petanque club,, saving 95% of CO2 as opposed to building with new concrete, thereby preventing the concrete waste from landing in the landfill.
Connecting the digital and physical worlds
What if we could create a digital twin of our universe?
A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical asset, such as a building or a whole neighborhood, that can be used to simulate and analyze its performance and behavior.
Digital twins can provide significant benefits for cities and urban planners by giving them a comprehensive, data-driven representation of an urban area. Highly detailed and accurate visualizations enable more informed decisions, the early identification of potential issues, and a better understanding of urban dynamics.
Nomoko is creating the first-ever 3-D mirror image of the world by utilizing drone technology to fly over cities and high-interest locations, capturing and processing data into photorealistic 3D models and laying the foundation for a digital twin ecosystem. With immersive real-world 3D experiences within reach, Nomoko is on a mission to transform the way we perceive and interact with the world.
Learn more about the project here.
Metropolis creates a space for visionary ideas to emerge by connecting dreamers and doers from both Switzerland and the Bay Area to co-create practical solutions for the future’s most pressing issues. Learn more about the project here.