Think 2030 and beyond

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I feel privileged to have worked with a team of students of the Delft University of Technology on our future cities. Humanity is confronted with an ever-changing environment. At the rate and pace humanity is going now with respect to increasing globalization, climate change, increasing demand for food, water and other resources the future will not look positive for humanity. These challenges are enormous in scale and complexity, and we will need to take equally enormous leaps in our imagination to meet them successfully. With regards to the urban environment, the direction we are heading towards now will not sustain…

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Cities are at a rupture point and the old rules no longer apply.

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Poet D. H. Lawrence wrote, “I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea,” creating a metaphor of connectedness and implicit oneness with the world. This quote signals the tension between the complex processes at work that govern our existence on Earth by inviting us to be reassured by our embodied entanglement within ecosystems, other than human entities, and microbial others. Reflective of the scope of what this review sets out to accomplish, our article explores these…

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HUMANITY HAS CHANGED NATURE PROFOUNDLY, BUT IT MAY BE ONLY THE BEGINNING.

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Transforming and regenerating the Earth as well as our development pattern will be useful to future generations. The well-being of our future will be dependent on how we can produce technology that can govern our climate, health, social equity and stability. Industry 4.0 emerged from innovative digital technology to create value creation, whilst Society 5.0 is argued as a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with Industry 4.0. On the other hand, the environment has provided us with natural resources that speed up the growth of our industries and economies towards sustainability. Technology 4.0 can be used to mitigate and…

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Six million years ago, an ancestor, standing upright, began the human venture.

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Virtually all organisms, including humans, are, in a real sense, sunlight transmogrified, temporary waypoints in the flow of energy. Ecological succession, viewed from a thermodynamic perspective, is a process that maximizes the capture and degradation of energy. Similarly, the tendency for life to become more complex over the past 3.5 billion years (as well as the overall increase in biomass and organismal diversity through time) is not due simply to natural selection, as most evolutionists still argue, but also to nature’s efforts to grab more and more of the sun’s flow. The slow burn that characterizes life enables ecological systems…

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RECONFIGURE THE EARTH’S VERY METABOLISM

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There are no longer any places left on Earth untouched by humans. In the newly designated ‘human age’, our species’ impact on the oceans, the land and the atmosphere has become an inescapable feature of the Earth. This idea that humanity has forced a geological transition is capturing people’s attention not just because changes in epochs are rare. It is attracting notice because our species is gripped by the idea that we possess planetary powers. The significance of this goes beyond statistics documenting melting glaciers and shrinking species counts. It signals a new geological epoch, The Anthropocene. One of the…

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Cities, think 2030+

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DYNAMIC CHANGE We are confronted with changing, increasing globalization and the importance of innovation and new technologies. Innovations and technologies that will have consequences for us in areas such as cities and the built environment. And thus for our structure and culture. The anticipated global population of more than 9.7 billion by 2050 poses daunting challenges from providing sufficient energy, food, and water, as well as health care more accurately and at lower cost, to trespassing biogeophysical boundaries. These challenges are enormous in scale and complexity, and we will need to take equally enormous leaps in our imagination to meet…

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There is a need for a deep rethinking as we go forward, to become civilized.

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THE FUNDAMENTALLY AMBIGUOUS NATURE OF TECHNOLOGY Technology and/or Nature: Denatured/Renatured/Engineered … In our high-tech world, do we live at the end of nature? Is the technosphere replacing the biosphere? Can humans control their genetically inherited Pleistocene appetites in an Anthropocene Epoch? Living on an engineered planet? Would this fulfill human destiny or display human arrogance, failing to embrace our home planet in care and wonder? The future holds advancing technologies to create unimaginable futures, but do not want to live a de-natured life, on a de-natured planet. We are powerfully reshaping human existence: the degradation, if not destruction, of large…

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DECISION SUPPORT MODEL

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The Anthropocene Transition is a cultural term that encompasses the ways in which changes in the planet’s bio-geo-chemical dynamics, triggered by the human-technology complex, interact with that complex. It spans the geo-political, economic, social, and even the personal. Look around. The symptoms are already everywhere apparent. The list of traumas that haunt our present and near future are clear: economic stagnation, zero-hour and ‘bullshit’ jobs, the rise of the robots and the end of employment, mental ill-health, sexual violence, consumption addiction, resurgent extremism, climate collapse, population displacement, virulent pandemics, and a political system that, subordinate to the short-termism of the…

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Self-induced Eco-destruction

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We may perceive global warming, biodiversity loss, tropical deforestation, spreading marine dead zones, chronic air/water pollution, land/soil degradation, plummeting sperm counts, etc., as separate problems, but it is more realistic and potentially more productive to recognize that all are symptoms of a singular phenomenon, gross human ecological dysfunction. This is a genuine global meta-problem; it is potentially fatal to civilization and, paradoxically, entirely self-induced. Several of the most important causal mechanism have come together to produce a global economic system whose conceptual framing, operating assumptions and de facto practices are pathologically incompatible with the very ecosystems that sustain it. In…

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POSSIBLE & PLAUSIBLE AND DESIRABLE FUTURES

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2030+: an emerging and radically transformative future that moves at a speed that most are unprepared for. The social and political systems that have lifted millions out of poverty and shaped our national and global policies for half a century are failing us. We are confronted with changing, increasing globalization and the importance of innovation and new technologies. Innovations and technologies that will have consequences for us in areas such as cities and the built environment. And thus for our structure and culture. The Anthropocene encapsulates a world of intertwined drivers, complex dynamic structures, emergent phenomena, and unintended consequences, manifest…

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