Forecasting the Future –
start with the past and add in some Black Swans
The Growth of Cities:
– the growth of the cities, architecture, engineering, new materials, ideas, technologies
Current Megacities, the twelve largest:
1 Tokyo Japan 34,500,000
2 Guangzhou China 25,800,000
3 Seoul South Korea 25,600,000
4 Jakarta Indonesia 25,300,000
5 Shanghai China 25,300,000
6 Mexico City Mexico 23,200,000
7 Delhi India 23,000,000
8 New York City USA 21,500,000
9 São Paulo Brazil 21,100,000
10 Karachi Pakistan 21,100,000
11 Mumbai India 20,800,000
12 Manila Philippines 20,700,000
WHAT MAKES CITIES HAPPEN
Cities formed at the junction of natural elements im the landscape for example rivers, lakes, estuaries, with bridges and centres of commerce plus later roads and latterly railways and airports. Because they developed wealth there was always a fort or castle nearby to protect them … Oh and to tax them. Because life was so bad the religions were always there to say we’ll help you… and to collect tax from you. These taxes together, of course, guaranteed you stayed in poverty, but you stayed because he alternative was even worse.
Essentially everyone except the ‘privileged few’ lived a subsistence life in the country so those that thought they’d get a better life went to the cities to. It many instances it was go to the city that or starve, for example after the Enclosure Acts in Britain. So the choice was to create a new life in the city. It may be an example of Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest but the outcome was and is a more dynamic environment.
Maybe it’s the concentration of minds; may be it’s the intense competition that develops between people and between their companies; may be it’s because money men and the penniless entrepreneurs find each other; may be it’s because you can create enough money to survive; may be it’s because there are sufficient like-minded people to create a critical mass; may be it’s because the people are there and so they attract other people .
Ffor example they attract hotels, conference centres, enhanced communications of all types, restaurants etc; and because they are tehre they in turn attract yet more people to joim in.
Studies have shown that if tyou double the size of a city the average earnings increase by fifteen per cent; re-double it and again a fifteen per cent increase and so on. No wonder people are drawn to the city.
In the meantime the improvement in productivity of the food companies is continuing to extend the Agricultural Revolution so there fewer and fewer opportunities for rural employment…. so more people move towards the cities.
The real pay-off for the new-comers is that employing someone to do lesser tasks for you, releases you to do more of your own work, whether it’s for example a barber or a hairdresser, a shopper in a supermarket, passenger on a bus, train, tuc tuc or taxi, it all causes a work opportunity for someone less skilled, so there’s some work for the new-comers. You just get in and find your own role.
In the city there’s a better chance of increasing your knowledge and learning new skills and them getting a better job or starting your own business. Obviously people tell their family and friends how well they are doing, which means more people come into the city.
WHAT’s THE FUTURE FOR CITIES
In HONG KONG three million people live above the fourteenth floor. This ability of humans to adapt is crucial because as the work centres get bigger moving the people into work becomes more difficult. [London Underground carry three million passengers each day and is in the process of building another new line “Crossrail”and that’s in addition to the suburban trains again carrying their own three million people.
The future of our cities depends upon our architects and our engineers. We meed them to devise new mixed-use buildings so that people are able to reduce the average commuting time for their journey to and from work. That way the people will get more productive lives and they also save the energy costs of moving about.
The solution possibly will rely upon new steels, other new materials, new social concepts with high-level moving pavements, horizontal lifts, possibly high-level cycle pathways or passenger monorail systems, linking buildings at say the fourteenth floor, as an alternative to descending to ground level or even to the underground.
Personally I also favour having multi-level villages where each level has a village population of about two thousand, say forty storeys high, making a group of eighty thousand people. Each block would have education, medical, retail, entertainment and work facilities to make them some-what independent. Each level would have its own village green, corner café, corner shop, village bobby, crèche, nursery or whatever is necessary.
All the cities will attract and then have the best of services and utilities because everyone is concentrated together. [And therefore more people will flock in to share in the success.]
Cities will become even more the centre of new knowledge with research laboratories and the teaching hospitals for all the future technologies, sciences and treatments. Existing organisations will move or will open new premises for their teams of experts. Cities will in large degree also be the centres for innovation and implementation. Maybe we can use the waste heat from the computer arrays to some new benefit. … So more people will move to the cities.
So as the cities get bigger and bigger the problems will be immense but not insuperable – sewage treatment; telecoms; food supply; recycling resources; electrical supplies.
Naturally the fun, music and entertainment will also all be concentrated in thee cities….. So more people will be attracted to the city. The Shangfila Hotel ccroup has announced it has leased floors 34 to 52 in the Shard in London and will have a Champagne Bar on the 52nd floor. Now that sounds like sophisticated fun to me.
To paraphrase from Mark Ridley’s book “The Rational Optimist” we will have moved from a family unit of laborious, slow and multiple products (that is from subsistence level food, clothing and shelter) to one that is efficient, fast and very specialist and working in co-operation with others and thus enjoying the best style of life.
HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS in CITIES?
Whenever we look at a city the first critical problem is that everyone seems to need to be somewhere else, with resultant traffic problems for people walking, cycling, driving or using mass transportation. I think its the result of battle between concentrating commerce tightly together leaving no room for people. Fortunately the latest architecture, engineering, materials, and building techniques solve the problem by allowing us to grow into a vertical city.
Other solutions will be found for different elements of the problem for example we could combine the diverless car technology, the radar sensing technology with new rapid transit buses so that they move in tight snakes like long-distance trains. Indeed some studies suggest that these would be a far more effective use of the existing railway tracks. May be we just need a way to run the two systems simultaneously so that we can change rom one to the other in a progressive process.
The biggest improvement in health standards across the world has been in sewerage systems and it is crucial we maintain and install new efficient systems, These are currently underway in Mexico City and in London amongst others. The real problems lie with slum cities in low GDP countries who can’t afford the huge costs. Though our nearest water treatment works is capable of a conversion that recovers all solid matter for use by the farming community and that the water is sparkling clear drinkable quality, so may be all we need is small plants…. one for each large building.
It’s a common phenomenon that cities are a few degrees warmer than the surrounding areas. This heat must be coming from the buildings so if we can eliminate this heat loss we will save ourselves critical amounts of energy. Though we also still need to utilise the sun’s rays more effectively so I’m sure we’ll see paint impregnated with nano-sized photovoltaic cells or enhanced glass or other solar powered technologies to provide electricity to power our lives.
The more cities are capable of a more self-sustaining style, for their populations, the more their growth is unlimited, as fewer and fewer resources are needed to maintain and improve everyone’s lives. Eventually we will recycle everything and more than that we will start mining our old waste dumps and landfill sites. The only resources we actually and totally consume is oil and deisel. I think virtually everything else cam be recovered and re-used.
I’m extremely excited by 3D printing for manufacturing as that has no waste at all from the manufacturing process, you only need to buy exactly the minimum actually needed. [The latest TVs for example] The first meat protein grown from stem cells has already been demonstrated. The first driverless car has been licensed for use in California. The first human brain driving a prosthetic arm has been demonstrated so we will be able to drive any computers and machines directly from our brains – spaceships, deep-sea mining, drones for any purpose fire-fighting .remote medical procedures……. all whilst sitting in our cities.
WHAT ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CITIES?
The cities are the powerhouses for the future, they bring together people in the most effective manner and we shouldn’t shy away from letting those talented people who want to come together in a high density, high pressure environment and forged together and supported by the most concentrated energy and services.
For some reason Britain seems to attract people from all over the world and London seems to be the main attraction. We want the best people to join us, to continue our pursuit of excellence and to share the safety and security we enjoy, though we probably need a further Women’s Revolution to make the next significant break-through.
See also: Energy, Power, Transport, Brainpower, Agriculture, horticulture, Resources,
Genetics; bionics; robotics; neurology; stem cells; gerontology;
My original thoughts:
Power and Peace (My attempt to understand how we got to where we are.)
An Englishman’s Life – Excerpts from my life for you to understand my questing and my journey.
Tomorrows’ Winds (Book 1 of 3)
Tomorrow’s Tides (Book 2 of 3)
Tomorrows’ Storms (Book 3 written but not finished.)
Tags: cliff jenkins, forecast, future, Futurism, Futurist | Category: Futurist & Futurism, My forecasts