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Could a Saharan Super-Skyscraper Be the Future of Urban Living?

How self-contained vertical cities can put our utopian ideals into action.

Artistic rendering on the Sand Tower

Earlier this year, the innovative French architectural design firms Nicholas Laisné Associés and OXO Architectes released conceptual plans for something called La Tour des Sables (The Sand Tower). The proposed project is a massive, self-contained, self-sustaining 1,400-foot tall city-tower to be constructed in the heart of Morocco’s slice of the Sahara desert. A mixture of 600 housing units, an equal amount of public green and recreational space, and even more office units (not to mention the hotel, restaurants, bars, and meteorological observatory on top of the tower), it could contain well over a thousand people. While the Sand Tower may be uniquely ambitious, the concept of a self-contained city-structure is a longtime utopian dream, and one that is becoming increasingly more relevant as the pressures of urbanization and environmental degradation become increasingly dire.

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