Wacky ideas for the city of 2050

What will the Sheffield of the future look like?
What will the Sheffield of the future look like?
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REVELLERS dancing in nightclubs could be hooked up to electricity generators so the energy they produce could help reduce Sheffield’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The wacky notion was just one of the bright ideas discussed at a lively debate in the city centre into how to deal with the environmental problems the city will face by the year 2050.

Among the more unusual solutions discussed in the seminar – held to mark Urban Design Week in Sheffield – was a notion to harness energy produced by clubbers dancing in nightspots around the city.

Even just encouraging students to go out partying, rather than staying at home with the lights on, could reduce energy, the debate was told.

More practical ideas included a suggestion to fit houses with new technology so rainwater could be collected and used for everyday household purposes.

Few members of the group could imagine everyone owning a car in the year 2050.

Instead, ideas included a network of car sharing hubs across the city and better public transport.

Suburbs should develop better shops and more services to reduce people’s need to travel far from home.

Most believed future electricity supply would come from nuclear power stations but were sceptical about the idea of covering surrounding hills with wind turbines due to impact on the Peak District.

But most were keen on households producing more of their own electricity through solar panels.

Sheffield Hallam University student Akim Lisk-Carew praised the idea to harness clubbers’ energy.

He said “We have 60,000 students in Sheffield and 10 nightclubs.

“If 2,000 people can fit into a club, it’s a good idea because they won’t be at home using energy.”

James Starky, who has graduated from Sheffield University with a masters degree in urban design, said: “You could have electricity-generating bikes to help cyclists cope with Sheffield’s hilly terrain.

“They would generate electricity when heading downhill to help power them when they have to ride uphill again, so it’s easier on the legs.”

Rob Thompson, an urban designer for Sheffield Council, said: “It was great to have so many people interested in design and how it can be used to help solve potential problems.

“It’s a topical issue, especially with the recession and people having to make better use of resources.”