IV society 2050…(trend 5,6 and 7)

First of all, what I did not write in my earlier post and do want to mention is that elderly people often are alone and may need a place to socialize. Having contact with others when you do no longer have a job is very important. For instant communities like church are very helpful at that point, although you also can visit a church for other obvious reasons (but there also are bridge, pool, sport, read, …,  and other clubs people can go to). But to remain to the social aspect for a moment: not only elderly people need social contacts. In a world where virtual reality, digital contacts become more standard everybody needs a place to meet people face to face.

Relating to that, in order to say something useful about the future, we should not forget people who are not connected to internet, not even have a computer. People that do not want to have one or are not able to afford one.

Places should be created where those people can go to use a computer, and maybe ask someone else to help them or look something up for them when they are not able to do it themselves. This might even go together with places to socialize.

The far going computerization and robotification of the world makes the distance between poor and rich larger, and a vast need of people who now their electronics and mechanics. Besides that I think lots of people will become lonely, what makes space for re-socializing the more important.

Having said that, I come to the last trend: renewable or sustainable energy. At this very moment lots of renewable, sustainable forms of energy are available. The only problem at this stage is that economically seen it is far more preferable to use traditional resources (mainly oil, gas and coal). Governments earn to much on taxes.

windmolens

But for example for electricity one can use wind (windmills), sun: photo voltaic cells, water: energy from current water, energy from waves, energy from tiding. Main problem at the moment I think is good storage of electric power.

For heat one can use sun, there are very good sun collectors in different types on the market. Heat is much easier to store in for example heat and cold storage in ground water wells, or molten salt thermal energy storage. Also in building there are several solutions to make a building energy efficient.

Actually I think with some investments we can easily use 100% green energy. A good push in the right direction came lately from Eon, a west European energy company, which decided to replace all traditional resources to sustainable ones.

I also want to mention here Ms Leslie Dewan, an USA citizen and nuclear scientist who did research at MIT on clean and safe nuclear energy using nuclear waste and a salt solution to control the process. The idea was use of low radiant nuclear waste, which resulted in enough energy an waste which had to be stored for 300 – 400 years in stead of 30.000 – 40.000 years.

III Society 2050 … (trend 2, 3, 4)

Where people used to rely on the authorities for care and social facilities – at least in the Netherlands at this moment – things are rapidly changing now. As a result of cut down of expenses and decentralization things like home care stop working, or are downsized to a cheap and hardly sufficient level. Homes for elderly people are shut down, one has to live on his/her own as long as possible with help from family and neighbors.

What this means in my opinion is that we, society, needs to look after those people, take care of the needy and miserable people. What is most important for needy elderly people to have a local person who people can talk to, a person with a local network, but also knows how to find and reach organisations for helping people like meals on wheels.

The elderly need someone who can do small things for them like replacing a light bulb, fixing some, some food shopping, and for some people also house cleaning and cooking (meals on wheels for example). For poor people there already are some local initiatives where poor can buy without money. They can deliver services like the ones described above, earn points with it and buy stuff in the store for those points. Those ones needing the services can deliver goods they do not use anymore, and get points for them, so goods can be exchanged for services or other goods.

To make it more specific for the shopping strips I am researching, a point of contact will be of great help, but also a sort of sitting room where people can exchange news, knowledge and just chat (real life), all this based on local social networks who can support each other. In this sitting rooms maybe a computer can be available, where the younger ones help elder ones on internet, and elder c.q. experienced ones can help the younger c.q. inexperienced/unskilled ones. For care nursing should be provided by local government and/or by insurance companies.

Which at the same time brings us at education. For education in the world we have to hold a torch, but for this I would like to refer to and give the floor to Malala Yousafzai, who lately won the Nobel prize of peace. Lately (before receiving the Nobel prize) she did an nice 45 minutes interview (except for short 15 sec introduction completely in English) [click here]. In the Netherlands, every child from 4 till 16 years of age is obliged to go to school. After that, going to college or university becomes more and more expensive. Therefore I think that learning while working will grow, and society has to pay attention that talents get a chance on good education.

II society 2050… (trend 1)

How are we going further into the future, let’s have a closer look on trend 1 I sketched earlier.  What I see happening is for example growing of the online shopping market. I do not think that online shopping will take over, because for many things costs of delivery would be more expensive then necessary. Besides, on some things you want to look in a shop before you take them home. But for non food and relatively small things like computers, phones, small kitchen equipment, I think online sale will be a great thing.

Besides the online stores we see a move to the revival of crafts, people having no job – as a consequence of the economic crises – are making an effort to use their talents locally. Shoe and cloth repair is often cheaper and as good as new clothes. Road workers and gardeners starting for themselves and working together, beauty salons and mani- and pedicure, barrista’s. All sorts of one (wo)man business develop in a good way. This is also stimulated on the customer side, where relative low price for good quality, social contacts, trust,  authenticity and craftsmanship are appreciated.

informal sector

What also will start or grow are in my vision companies that separate trash for recycling and make innovative new stuff of it , second hand markets will flourish. Sustainable use of materials. Maybe even the informal sector will grow, people who want to work hard, not lead by the rules of the international community, but by doing quick and good what they are good in.

Another growing thing is urban farming, growing local vegetables and/or fish and flesh. because it is grown local, transport costs are low and products will be in the shops fresh! That is what people are looking for, good sustainable quality.

urban farming

Concluding on trend 1, I think we can say that local entrepreneurship must be encouraged, which I think automatically will make people more happy, and as a side effect make society more sustainable.

society in 2050

In the Netherlands there are lots of neighborhoods with a shopping strip meant to be locally orientated. These shopping strips often are built in the  1950’s and 1960’s and lost functionality through changes in society(which is not strange after 50-70 years). New things as online shopping, sustainability, more parking spots, scale up of store sizes, environmental issues and legislation, and so on make these strips ready for a new life. How these strips can change is something I am doing a little research on at the moment.

To start my research I wanted to look where we are going in the future, and which trends we can see today. With this we might get a reasonable guess what we can expect and think of a good concept to improve this local shopping strips and give people a boost into the future.

Where we want to go I looked up at the site of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, but you could find it anywhere. In a nutshell, that outcome would be a planet of around 9 billion people, all living well – with enough food, clean water, sanitation, shelter, mobility, education and health to make for wellness – within the limits of what this small, fragile planet can supply and renew, every day.

Well, that is a very general statement, now back to human scale and how to get there. First of all, I think we have to look at some recent trends which might be leading us into the future.

TREND 1: traditional company concepts are no longer guarantee for success. What we see lately is that crafts become more important (again). It is a general reaction to the digitizing and scale growth in the world. Not only quantity and cheapness should be measured, but look for quality, craftsmanship,  genuineness and authenticity. That this often works with fair trade, use of local products, awareness of local situation and therefore is sustainable is a nice extra. 

TREND 2: people get more and more dependent on the local community / network. Social facilities and providings from national or local government are cut back and one has to rely on his/her family or neighbors.

TREND 3: we still have to hold the torch for enabling good education for everyone. Education is getting more and more expensive, and with that not available for everyone.

TREND 4: care is moving from hospitals to homes, where insurance companies pay only for cure, and hospitals do have to work as commercial companies.

TREND 5: Let us not forget those people who are not connected to internet and/or do not have a computer. They are with many.

TREND 6: globalization, social media, home automation, robotics, leads to other ways of living.

TREND 7: we are running out of traditional resources for energy.

As this is a research topic, more posts on this topic will be published in the future. any comment/ thoughts are welcome at this moment!
tnx in advance!
Ben