“The future is here, it's just unevenly distributed,” wrote William Gibson in 2003. This statement is becoming more and more prescient in our complex, globalised and increasingly digital lives. Our ability to decode the signs and shifts that are occurring around us is key to understanding business and society as we negotiate the uncertain waters of the 21st century.
With this in mind, BMW i's Future Thought series is designed to ask questions around the biggest trends re-shaping our lives in the coming years.
DESIGNING THE MEGALOPOLIS.
Tomorrow's urban world will have to be systemically robust, but retain areas of human culture and empathy. How will we strike the right balance in the future city?
Earlier this decade, human kind was officially declared in a United Nations (UN) report to be an urban species. In the same report the UN predicted that 66% of all people on Earth will live in cities by 2050. Urbanisation has been called the most significant social shift in modern society and throws up a myriad of obstacles, from reduced air quality to increased levels of crime.
“As planners and architects we are trained to be optimistic, but the early signs of how cities are changing worldwide are alarming,” says Eran Ben-Joseph, professor and head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.
“There is a coming problem with overpopulation and with migration to cities throughout the world. Infrastructure, resources, housing, food, clean air - these issues are urgent, especially in emerging economies.”