What will the megacities of tomorrow look like?  A handful of forward-thinking architects are already on the case reimagining horizontal skyscrapers, midair matrixes, and floating forests.

Housing crisis? You ain’t seen nothing yet.  So how will the cities of tomorrow cope with an exploding population, or with mass flooding caused by global warming? What happens when there is no space left to build on? Here are five cities redesigned on the spires of the last. Now we just have to construct them.

Archipelago 21 – Seoul, South Korea


Archipelago 21 – Seoul – South Korea

Archipelago 21 – also known as the ‘Dream Hub’ – is one of the most ambitious single architectural proposals ever devised. At 3.2 million square meters and costing $20 billion it’s pricey as well. Set in an urban park on the bank of the Han River, the task was how to retain the feeling of community and human scale among soaring high-density towers.

The answer comes in the arrangement. The site is broken into ‘islands’ – distinct forms between different landscapes, mini-neighborhoods with their own clear character, community and atmosphere, using the greenery as natural dividers.

The master plan – of a new business district, shopping and residential neighborhoods, and cultural institutions – was mapped out by Studio Daniel Libeskind, but other architectural superpowers contributed spectacular structures, many toying with the idea of traditional vertical towers.

BIG – the Bjarke Ingels Group – contributed the hashtag-happily named ‘Cross # Towers’, two vertical buildings linked by two horizontal sections designed as public spaces, while most eye-catching is The Cloud – two towers connected by a bulbous ‘cloud-shaped’ ten-story middle section, providing private high-rise gardens outside and a vast, multilevel community area inside.

Despite Libeskind winning the pitch, the financing fell through and the project was officially postponed last year.

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