Cities in 2050: What Does The Future Look Like?

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London 2050

Image via Flickr by Matt From London

City life still leave you in awe?  Or are you waiting for the next big wave of change? While there’s no certainty to what cities will look like in thirty to forty years, the expectations for smart, green urban centers are high. Much is speculation, but there’s plenty of trend developments that lead to inevitable conclusions about city operations to come.

Here’s a few expectations for urbanites in 2050:

Home is Where the Heart of the City is

In 2050, it’s expected that homes will be the hub of work, social life, entertainment, and shopping. As predicted by The Guardian’s Michael Durham, technology will so encapsulate the home that everything will come straight there, rather than anyone needing to leave to check errands off the list or make a night out…they’ll almost always be “nights in.” There’s no limit to smart technology, and there’s reason to believe nearly every household item will feature an “i” or “smart” ahead of its name.

Too cool for school

Schooling in 2050, at all levels, may consist of virtual teachers and classrooms as a major part of educational curricula. Kids will sit in front of screens a large portion of the day, listening to lectures and studying scanned material. Of course there will be social interaction too, maybe with international elements (as global systems merge)  like a science project partner in another country complete with headset-enabled translations where appropriate, for instance.

Otherwise, for school situations with face-time components, count on digital ID for everything from enrollment, to exams, to meal plans.

student of the future

Similarly, offices will become more home-based, as well. Clients’ information will scan over for evaluation. To compensate, bandwidth will expand greatly, even as the long commutes of 2014 decrease.

And come to think of it, how will we get around the city of the future?

Taxi, Taxi!

Almost all predictions suggest public transportation will win out over personal car ownership. Some favor driverless electric cars that arrive with the press of a phone button (exit taxi driver) from an electric car sitting pool, so to speak. These cars arrive on demand, power up with a “smartcard” swipe (modern metro card),and depart as quickly, to then unplug and await the next call to service. These vehicles transport to larger public transportation that’s been updates for extreme speed and safety.

Another opinion from BBC News Technology points to “robo-taxis,” self-driving cars that eliminate the need for traffic lights and massive public transportation vehicles all together. However, don’t expect these speedy chauffeurs to deliver your pizza; flying drones will be taking your tips from now on.

Waste not …

Environmentally in tune, waste water likely filters through the housing system for clean, recycled water. Furthermore, each home likely connects to a community center that regulates recycling goals and carbon limits. There will be no excuse for wastefulness in 2050.

Christmas Trees All Year

According to a Cambridge University study, street lights will take a hike by 2050. Instead, modern landscaping will line the streets with neat trees that look normal by day, but glow blue by night.

While fireflies can’t get the job done themselves, these traits can enliven trees to produce living and moving light sources. While not high on the to-do list of modern innovation, it certainly strikes an aesthetic, festive appeal for urban renewal. Plus, it’s like keeping Christmas lights up all year loses faux pas status.

The future where you are

Should we start partying like it’s 2050 yet? City development and change depends on everyone’s actions, of course – but it starts with the decision-makers in each city (and country) to make it happen.

What’s happening in your city that is moving your community toward a more sustainable urban experience?

Do you find the predictions listed above to be  encouraging? Do you find any of them to be wrongheaded or unrealistic? Which ones and why?








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