What will cities look like 30 years from now?

I joined a carbon reduction event yesterday where, by way of introducing ourselves, we were each asked to predict the future: what did we think we would see more of in 2050 – in terms of objects, experiences and services. A neat little ice-breaker if ever there was one.

Here are my top-of-the-head responses:

1. Object

Green, shaded main streets

⁃ fronted by shops at ground level with people living above them

⁃ lined by trees that provide shade, lower air temperatures, disperse strong winds and encourage walking

⁃ forming the centres of local neighbourhoods that are built relatively densely but that are also intensely green (green walls, green roofs, green verges

⁃ connected into a secondary network of slow streets that people can walk, cycle and drive along.

2. Experience

Conviviality: the “Urban Buzz”

– people standing, sitting, talking and generally being present with one another, forming local communities.

3. Service

Data-driven urban planning & design

– harnessing machine learning and AI-driven algorithms to create future plans and predict their impacts.

The first two will help address the Climate Emergency by reducing transport emissions. The third will threaten the established authority of the architectural and urban planning professions, which will need to adapt to survive by accelerating their uptake of digital tools.

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