Many cities are defined by the buildings and other construction projects in them. Everyone can identify New York City with the Statue of Liberty, Paris with the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge, and Sydney with the Sydney Opera House.
With that in mind, let us explore three important trends in construction and civil engineering.
Efficiency, Convenience, and Availability
According to several of the world’s most renowned historians and anthropologists, it took around twenty thousand men twenty years to build the pyramids in Giza, Egypt. The Great Wall of China, a massive series of fortifications built to protect Imperial China from the attacks of various Eurasian nomadic groups needed an astounding two thousand. Naturally, this includes many construction stages spanning a wide range of dynasties and periods of leadership. Still, by any stretch of the imagination, it is a very long time.
In contrast, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the tallest building in the world with an architectural height of more than eight hundred and twenty meters took six years to complete. As such, to say the general construction industry has made massive strides in the last century is perhaps the biggest understatement of all time.
In terms of construction, what we are experiencing now is akin to the Renaissance periods of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. Aside from a wide range of modern, lightweight, sturdy construction materials and tools including excavators, bulldozers, wheel tractor scrapers, and trenchers, we now have both the ability and know-how to pretty much erect anything we want at record speeds. Not only that, but we also have access to on-site heavy industry repair systems that enable the smooth, seamless running of operations in case something unexpected happens.
It Is All About Collaboration
The first underground railway system in the world was the London Underground, a four-mile-long stretch connecting King William Street and Stockwell. Today, it is more than two hundred and fifty miles long. The first bullet train, the Tokaido Shinkansen was introduced by the Japanese government in 1964, before the start of the Tokyo Olympics. At the time, it was the fastest train in the world, achieving a cruising speed of close to three hundred kilometers per hour.
In the 21st century, subways and high-speed trains are nothing new. Almost every single developed country in the world has one, the other, or many times both. Yet, it is a different story in underdeveloped and developing nations, areas of the world that are still highly dependent on less effective mass transportation networks like buses, taxis, and even cable cars and trolleys.
Luckily, one of the many consequences of globalization is the realization that we live in an interdependent world, a world where collaboration is essential to not only prosperity but also survival. As such, developed states are working hand in hand with developing ones in the design and implementation of civil engineering solutions to benefit local citizens. Examples include collaboration agreements between Japan and Middle East countries in the construction of subway systems and European and African nations cooperating to build highways, bridges, and other types of infrastructure.
Smart Cities and Viability in Urbanization
Our third and final trend deals with smart cities and urbanization projects focusing on technological development, environmental protection, safety, convenience, and overall quality of life.
It is no secret that we live in an overpopulated world, one that continues to expand in number regardless of the limited amount of space we have to share. As of today, there are more than eight billion men and women on the planet, and this figure is expected to reach ten billion in the next fifteen to twenty years. Adding to that, air and water pollution have risen to unprecedented levels, hundreds of species have either gone extinct or are currently endangered, and we continue to deplete our natural resources.
Because of this, the priority of many countries, as well as a global one, is to find ways to deal with these issues in the most effective ways. And while this is far from easy, many leaders have already begun taking the necessary steps to ensure a better future for ourselves and the generations to come. For example, places like Singapore, Dubai, and Oslo have started eco-friendly urbanization projects in transportation, the collection of public data and information, and policies that promote the use of bicycles and electric vehicles and incentivize citizens to take care of their surroundings.
As we have seen, three key construction and civil engineering trends are convenience and speed, collaboration, and sustainable cities. As technology develops and the world continues to change, their influence will carry on expanding for the years to come.