while I know that should humanity not start a world war and we behave, there will be a place of mass urbanization in the next 30 years. mind you, I always thought living in a vibrant city was fun and exciting when I was younger. today, I really am more excited about living in nature with all the conveniences of what a city life can offer - anywhere on the planet. what I didn’t expect to see happening, which is a question of “what will people actually do when AI and the robotic age really comes into the mainstream?” I will use New York City and a train ride in Russia as a sort of microcosm of what can be expected.
New York City is really an amazing space. I am partial to the borough of Manhattan as I marvel how the skyline was built and designed. the New York Times just ran an article with photos of the city, central park, and the neighborhoods in the 80’s versus today. it is much nicer to walk around in today. Another thing you notices about New York is the international tourist and business trade. I am hearing more and more foreign languages spoken from around the world today than I ever remember.
I am also seeing more homeless or panhandlers than ever before and I still had to laugh at the smell of skunks in broad daylight, one block from a small army of police protecting/defending/keeping order in times square – where for years, it really was a bad walk with all the bad costume folks. perhaps I remember all the rules and regulations with Disney licensing and wonder, “how on earth do they allow their beloved characters to look more like wet rats with disheveled fur in one of the higher traffic spots for tourism in the world?”
Another common tale of my long time city-dwelling friends is gentrification and the cost of living has far surpassed most folks income. While you see the building of sleek towers for the wealthy, and a to get those sexy views, a few tax break units are built for lower income folks . last I knew one building had a special entrance away from the buyers to never have to come in contact with a person using the “special door.” It seems a bit like and odd segregation not on race, but economics.
As the city is getting full with LLC’s of mysterious and untraceable overseas property ownership, and the super wealthy, there is a mad scramble in the other boroughs like Brooklyn and even the Bronx for “new development” opportunities. Folks get pushed out to where something is affordable in an era where income equality is going in the wrong direction for a society to survive.
For those that are poor, impoverished, or need assistance, i suggest you take some time to go through the upstate cities where there really isn’t much of anything to do or grow with, what you will see is where the poor of New York has been quietly been told to go, and or have their government dollars go farther.
what you are seeing being set up is the future megacity and then what I will call and politicains might brand as "universal income cities." Will access to technology and opportunities for knowledge and information also go to these places at the same rate inside the mega-city? what I fear is you will come to a place like a train ride from Moscow to St. Petersburg today.
it used to be that there were a series of towns and villages that all helped pitch in with the economics of the country. you had villages and small cities, where people knew each other and they all lived a life, raised families, and had access to what they would need to live a decent life. today, most of those towns are done and gone, just like the upstate cities in the state of New York. I look at all the old amazing buildings and know what can be done with them…yet…with the tax rates and lack of economic growth in towns without any university, you know that the people simply held out too long and a lot of the grand old buildings are too far gone. I just had a great deal of sadness looking at a friend’s barn and no matter how I ran the numbers, it was not a positive solution to salvage, scrap, or move it. but my how the walls could tell storied from the past 100 plus years.
I think Asia is and has been dealing with issues of population density for a long time. in the united states, we have a lot of land mass, and so when people think of innovation in an urban environment. I think the rest of the world is in a better position to adapt and change with urban innovation as they haven’t let some critical infrastructure with transport and more of a community life get in the way of the suburb.
what I am working on now is how we can move our skunkworks lab around the planet, and a strange benefit of retail and malls dying in a lot of the USA is “shit, they have space and there is no one there to bother us!” there will be more to come on that snippet in a few months when we work out the logistics of the mobile live/work/lab. who knew one door closing and a few people pissing me off would lead to a final vision/idea/solution for that problem.
our lives will change, and can really be a high quality, healthy and vibrant social and community system for urban spaces of our future. the question is more about “do people really want this?” or “do people want to talk about it, as long as it costs them nothing, or have to give up something?” I see other countries, of which Japan and Switzerland have strong social culture, and I look at the USA and see us getting more selfish and greedy versus a betterment for all. its ok if you want to disagree – my comments are made looking at 30 years of traveling the planet and living on the internet before most ever got on it. call it a head start where the ideas we thought up and worked on 30 years ago – are finally coming into reality today. what is different? simply technology, better tools, and for many things, a deep reduction in costs if you take one step from bleeding and cutting-edge technologies.
what I don’t see happening is people making or building more, rather accumulating and buying more. it is a bit of a mystery to me in the states. people want to buy with instant gratification and if they can’t see it right in front of them, finished, available to buy at that moment – they don’t want much to do with it.
maybe people don’t know yet? then again, how many people lugged chain saws and all sort of equipment on their back up a mountain to sit on top of it and go, “ok, there is no power, water, road, sanitation, food. but what a view!”
I literally shake my head as the questions that came out with those problems, gave solutions to all of the questions that have urban and rural applications…heck even a decent mobile one, although that is a mobile immersive workspace.
for the last few months I really had to wonder at times if I was a bit off kilter as I listened and watched the lives of what is “normal” and thought to myself, “I remember living that way and saying ‘this is it?’ and then I started asking ‘why’ to bigger questions about people, culture, societies, and how we can have more balance and equality in the lives of all.
if we don’t come up with those answers, humans will not be on this planet all that much longer. but then again, how many people are thinking out several generations in today’s seeming instant gratification Nano-second attention span herd? I swear we resemble Pavlov's rat experiment more and more each day, yet, we are humans.
speaking of interesting humans. the lad that took this portrait, pat still does old school tin types in the era where everyone has an amazing camera in their cell phone, yet, many have no idea how to take decent images. pat has a great talent. check out his real work at www.glasscanon.com