Street life is mirrored in the kaleidoscopic entrance of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, a mall in Tokyo’s fashion-centered Harajuku neighborhood. Nestled along Omotesando, called the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo, the building harbors a grove of trees and 50 species of plants on its roof, a park-like refuge for birds and shoppers alike.
Street life is mirrored in the kaleidoscopic entrance of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, a mall in Tokyo’s fashion-centered Harajuku neighborhood. Nestled along Omotesando, called the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo, the building harbors a grove of trees and 50 species of plants on its roof, a park-like refuge for birds and shoppers alike.
Photograph by Teruo Araya, National Geographic Your Shot

12 Photos Capture Innovative Design in Cities

Nat Geo’s Your Shot community offers a view of dynamic skylines and urban architecture—and an emerging green sensibility.

At National Geographic, we’ve been covering the spectacular growth of the world’s urban areas. By 2050 nearly 70 percent of the world will live in cities, up from 55 percent today.

Dynamic skylines will continue to shift as countless new buildings rise. The challenge: Buildings account for 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions and consume 40 percent of global energy. But that’s beginning to change with a corresponding rise in green buildings, which consume less energy and water, along with providing a number of benefits for occupants. Read our primer on green buildings.

On National Geographic's Your Shot community, we asked members to show us how innovative buildings are creating a new look and a sustainable future for our cities. The assignment resulted in 2,000 images. Many photographers responded to the hashtag #urbanheights with images of glistening skylines and skyscrapers, others with aerial shots over city neighborhoods or a close-up of an architectural detail. We showcase 12 of those photographers, who range from Dubai to Rotterdam to New York.

To participate in a future assignment, check out Your Shot, where you can share photos and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

This article is part of our Urban Expeditions series, an initiative made possible by a grant from United Technologies to the National Geographic Society.

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