Skip to content

What is a Vertical City? – Definition and Features

A vertical city can help to solve some of the issues we are currently facing with an increasing population and the trend of urbanization.

It is no secret that the global population is growing continuously. In addition, better healthcare and living conditions than 100 or 200 years ago allow people to get older and thus increase the number of humans on earth. Predictions say that in 2030 there will be more than 8.5 billion people in existence

These people have to live somewhere, and while there might be a lot of available space in the countryside, most of them are going to move to cities. According to the UN, in 2050, around 68% of the global population is going to live in urban areas

There are numerous reasons why people are attracted to cities or repelled by rural areas. Living outside of urban areas often means that there is worse transportation, less healthcare services available and fewer jobs. Cities are also always the central point for culture, politics, economics, and public services. Furthermore, they offer large transportation hubs, such as central train stations or airports to reach other cities and countries.

Many people see these advantages and are going to move to urban areas, but the space is limited. The price of land is increasing, as the demand is very high, compared to rural areas. In order to still create affordable housing for many people it makes more sense to build tall buildings than wide ones.

A vertical city takes this concept but offers tenants even more possibilities that increase the quality of life in a sustainable environment. 

What is a Vertical City?

A “Vertical City” is a very tall building that incorporates different kinds of amenities that can be related to housing, working, healthcare, education, culture, tourism, production, and more. It provides space for a large number of people and can potentially help to solve the problem of overpopulation.

How are they Different from Regular Cities?

To explain what a vertical city is, let’s first take a look at what the definition of a “regular” city is and what are some of its important elements. 

A city is a densely populated area with defined borders and a central governing authority. They are often of high importance for the culture, history, economy and society. Cities are equipped with a wide range of facilities and systems such as transportation, healthcare, sanitation, communication, production, business and also housing.

These regions create housing and work for many thousands and even millions of people. As a result, they need lots of space. Because many people are attracted to the opportunities cities can offer, the demand is high to move here and thus increase the price for land. To make the most out of this expensive area, building high will be more efficient than building wide houses.

Vertical cities are buildings that aim to maximize the possibilities and the efficiency of this limited space by creating high, multi-purpose habitats.

Features of a Vertical City

When talking about vertical cities, we often do not relate to the city as a whole but rather individual buildings that can provide similar services and opportunities.

Using Less Space

One of the most useful features of a vertical city is that they use up less land but still provide a large amount of floorspace. These high-rises can make the best out of the expensive area in popular cities and can help to reduce the problem of overpopulation. 

Providing Services and Amenities

Another important part of a city is the wide range of services and opportunities they offer. As already explained earlier, this includes healthcare, education, transportation, culture and public services. Furthermore they have many different business and job opportunities. In a vertical city, these features are placed within the same building. 

An example could be the “Shard” in London, UK. It includes office spaces, restaurants, bars, a hotel, apartments and a viewing platform, thus offering many kinds of services. For the future, even agricultural production can be included, hospitals, doctors, schools, kindergartens, cinemas and everything else that is existing in a regular city.

Preserving Nature

By not having to extend a city in width but rather in height, rural areas around it can be preserved. Therefore, less forests have to be cut down which helps to create a sustainable environment with great biodiversity. In addition, vertical cities often aim to create the most energy and resource-saving buildings. Especially with the current need to stop climate change and also overpopulation, they can be a promising option.

Architectural Improvement

Not only does a vertical city improve the living quality and wellbeing of inhabitants, but it can also create architectural improvement of the area. These buildings help to create a distinct skyline that represents the city.

skyline of shanghai


A vertical city is a building that includes a variety of services and amenities that “normal” cities have, such as housing, offices, healthcare, retail stores, hotels, and more. They are very tall houses that enable us to go from horizontal cities that take up large areas of land to smaller, vertical cities. These buildings will become crucial to solve the problem of overpopulation and urbanization.

If you want to learn more about new real estate concepts and sustainable housing, feel free to take a look at our other articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *