I was intrigued to read recently about the Neo-Cities imagined by Yury Lifsitz. The concept seems very aligned to designing human hives.

Bee - Human Hive - Tijmen Brozius

Bee – Human Hive – Tijmen Brozius

By all accounts they design in many elements that give the city beauty, fitness to the environment and alignment with the intentions of the people who will potentially live there.

However, have they actually been designed WITH the people who will live there? Even when those people are imagined to be an elite group who will choose to live in a city that enables them to co-exist with others who share interests.

Or are they just the doodles of the designers who imagine how the ideal human hive can be built because the designers know best?

But are the designers merely projecting their own intentions and expectations onto their designs?

Do the investors and developers like Elon Musk resume expect the Neo-Cities they are apparently commissioning to exist apart from the Traditional, Modern and Post-Modern cities that already exist? Here are some questions I would love to ask these stakeholders:

  • Is a Neo-City just the leading edge of cities of the future? Do we expect them to emerge as the logical next step for cities?
  • The Neo-City assumes that it is possible to create a specialized habitat for humans with select interests. But I have some questions that exorcise my soul:
    • How will Neo-Cities learn from the Masdar or Dubai effect – where construction and maintenance workers cannot afford to live there?
    • How do Neo-Cities administer themselves democratically?
    • How do the voices of non-elite workers and residents equate with the elite?
    • Do Neo-Cities risk developing caste systems (internally or in comparison to external cities)?


This blog is part of a series on Neo-Cities: