Use of space and sustainability are key factors in designing the buildings of the future. This is especially evident in the concept designs for a building in Shenzhen, China. Cloud Citizen proposes a sprawling mix of huge interconnected towers, green spaces and environmental features.

Having seen dramatic growth in its population over a number of decades, Shenzhen has a need to ensure that space is used efficiently and that building are as green as possible.This has led to a number or innovative buildings and concepts, such as self-sustaining "farmscrapers" and internal living walls.

Cloud Citizen was a response to (and prizewinner of) the Shenzhen Bay Super City Competition, which asked participants to design a new 170 ha (420 acre) financial district for the city. The brief stated that the district should include three high-rise structures, several cultural buildings and landscape to connect the new area to its surrounding city.

Instead of creating a complex of separate buildings, architects Urban Future Organization partnered with CR-Design to create what they call a "continuous metropolis." Three towers are joined by bridges that themselves comprise multiple floors. The buildings contain commercial, leisure and cultural spaces, as well as programmed public spaces.

Urban Future Organization explains that each public space is connected to a park that is says acts as a "green lung." These "skyparks" are aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of those using the buildings, as well as providing places to meet, relax and feel close to nature. Elsewhere, the building is designed to harvest rainwater and generate electricity from the sun, wind and algae.

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