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 them successfully. It cannot be stressed enough that we are at a critical point in time. The complex interactions between economic, social and technological dynamics are volatile and a-linear, which makes a city system complex and unpredictable. The next decade will determine if we are able to sustain a future that is worth remembering.
Society 5.0 will be increasingly diverse; however, such diversity does not simply involve the inclusion of human beings from different backgrounds. Thanks to its profoundly technologized, cyber-physical nature, Society 5.0 will be able to incorporate into its societal structures and dynamics types of beings that had not previously been found within the world’s societies. In order to realize a super intelligent society, in which the world’s countless disparate ‘things’ will become integrated into coherent systems via cyberspace. Beyond its human members, Society 5.0 can be expected to include many types of non-human intelligent social actors as participants or even members. Society 5.0 will differ largely by welcoming into itself a bewildering array of highly sophisticated social and emotional robots, embodied AI, nanorobotic swarms, artificial life, self-organizing and self-directing computer networks, artificial agents manifesting themselves within virtual worlds, and other artificial types of intelligent cyber-physical social actors.
It will change the way we live. But the most buildings, houses, infrastructure for 2050 are already built. So we have to re-imagine our designed and build environment: hybrid life, high tech, high nature.
In the first convergence revolution the atomic parts list discovered by physicists sparked a first bringing us radar, television, computers, and the internet, just to start. Radically changing our conception of what is possible would be altered. We are on the brink of a second convergence revolution, where engineers and physical scientists are recognizing how we can use this biological ‘parts list’ to adapt these natural machines to our own uses.
We can’t predict the transformations that this ‘Convergence 2.0’ will bring but we can see clearly that it will throw open the doors of innovation, world-changing ideas will walk through. The Convergence 2.0 revolution is happening all around us, but its success is not inevitable. For it to succeed at the maximum pace with maximum impact we need to be able to move across disciplines with shared ambition. This will require us to reorganize our thinking of possible futures.
Imagine what their cities should look like, focusing on the visionary ways in which our urban spaces can meet the unique aforementioned challenges incorporating the
A ‘natural’ city, living and breathing structures operate as a seasonally adaptive collective of interconnected and interdependent unity of shape-shifting, color changing, intelligent buildings, infrastructure. A dynamic architecture, that is sensitive to the surroundings, fused to form a complex adaptive system in sync with the Earth’s natural processes, economic, social and technological dynamics. The city’s relationship with nature would be hand-in-glove, wherein ecosystem services and man-made bionic technologies engaged in symbiotic relationships spanning from the molecular to the metropolis in scale. Layers with different lifespans, which includes the facade and primary fit-out walls, finishes, with its own energy systems (micro-wind, solar PV paint and algae facade for producing biofuels). A building membrane to convert CO2 to oxygen; heat recovery surfaces; materials that phase change and repair themselves; seamless integration with the rest of the city. The exterior membrane, inspired by the qualities of transpiration and resistance in nature, allows the controlled passage of natural air and light to the interior complex, creating a micro-climate and contributing efficiently to the general flexibility and stability of the complex. A ‘transformation of experience’ is taking place, in which direct nature experiences are replaced by indirect, digital nature experiences. Buildings as an interactive environment, mixed (augmented, virtual, assisted) realities. Connected ‘things’ in artificial systems, AI at the Edge and scaling of 5G with machine to machine communications and the development of intelligent devices
Designing and developing this bio-ecological urban structure is based on flexibility principles and biological structures, its height, capacity and use can be adapted to the different economic, environmental and social conditions.
These buildings have a dynamic network of feedback loops characterized by intelligent materials, sensors, data exchange, and automated intelligent systems that merge together, virtually functioning as a synthetic and highly sensitive nervous system.