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The Future of Cities:
        Three scenarios for urban futures
        A project by the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities




Presented by:
Noah Raford, DUSP, MIT
nraford@mit.edu
2.1 billion more in cities
Mostly young
Most in slums
Increasing complexity
Decreasing resources
+                           Uncertainty



                                                                        The future
Complexity




                         Risk                                                        Future 2


                                                    Past trends                      Future 3
             Certainty




     -             Rate of change             +   Past            Present               Future




                 Scenarios: planning for change
23 interviews world wide
 • Architecture
 • Commercial tenants
 • Entrepreneurship
 • Environment
 • Governance
 • Infrastructure
 • Non-governmental organisations
 • Planning
 • Real estate
 • Technology
Drivers of change
Growing income inequality
Lack of capital availability
Role of centralized governance
Infrastructure decay
Lifestyle change & value shifts
Resource shortages
Economic
•   Increased division of wealth between rich and poor
•   The world’s poor are an increasingly powerful force in urban development
•   Current urban development models not t for their emergent needs
•   Global warming will disproportionately effect the poor
•   International nance will become more important, domestic capital less
•   International nance will become more selective, comparing between cities
•   Taxation will continue to be a strong determinant of capital ows
•   New ecological accounting mechanisms will play an increasing role in real estate
     nance and development
•   Building obsolescence will become an increasingly important factor
Political
•   Most city governments will lack the resources to meet increasing citizens
    demands
•   Weaken central government and open room for other players
•   Civil society and community based organisations will be the rst to ll this role
•   Bottom-up participatory approaches to development and management will
    become important
•   Local government will need to shift from regulation to enabling and facilitating
•   Boundaries of where city authorities ends will blur, administrative implications are
    unclear
•   Grassroots' innovation could lead to transformational change
•   Insecurity more important factor, with high unemployment and economic, political
    and environmental migration
Cultural
•   Need for new types of education / consciousness change
•   Increased social fragmentation as people cling to their identities
•   Increasing fragmentation of commercial and social services
•   The youth will play a powerful role in urban governance
•   Need to strike a balance between short term pro t and growth and long term
    needs
•   Increasing complexity calls for new kinds of leadership
Environmental
•   Water will become an ever increasing problem
•   Droughts in rural areas will drive people to urban areas
•   Global warming and extreme weather will impact urban development
•   Most cities have very poor emergency preparedness for environmental disasters
    and will be blindsided by change
•   Disease return to rst world cities
•   May have to consider abandoning cities
Technological
•   ICT will enable acceleration of social dynamics already in place
•   Could have signi cant destabilising effects through asymmetric warfare, etc.
•   May allow for breakthroughs in decentralised infrastructure and governance
•   ICT enables relocation of activities, such as public administration
•   ICT will enable more social surveillance and government control
Workshop
          Learning journey
       Driver identi cation
        Sorting key drivers
        Scenario snippets
Fleshing out and exploring
               implications
        Systems mapping
        Deeping scenarios
Gulliver’s     Massive socio-       Triumph of the
 World       technical revolution       Triads
Scenario 1:
Gulliver’s World
Two worlds in one
A core of new eco-prosperity
A fringe of stagnation & struggle
Smarter cities & transport
But persistent basic challenges
Broader global leadership
But increasing fragmentation
Higher quality of life for some
But increasing exclusion for most
Scenario 2:
Massive socio-technical revolution
A decade of decline
Producing social tension
Followed by a devastating blow
Leading to a youth uprising
And a new generation of leaders
Who push through new agreements
Creating global climate stabilization
And smarter, greener cities
With local food economies
Increased “soft wealth”
And greater quality-of-life for all
Scenario 3:
Triumph of the Triad’s
Rapid, distruptive climate change
Market failures multiply
International aid falters
Con ict and migration ensues
Breakdown of critical infrastructure
Leads a harsh return to self-suf ciency
Urban tribalism increases
Leading to new “family values”
Warlord tax collectors provide service
For a global age of muddling through
For more information visit:
The Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities
http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/centres/insis/research/Pages/future-
cities.aspx

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Oxford "Future of Cities" @ the Harvard GSD

  • 1. The Future of Cities: Three scenarios for urban futures A project by the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities Presented by: Noah Raford, DUSP, MIT nraford@mit.edu
  • 2. 2.1 billion more in cities
  • 7. + Uncertainty The future Complexity Risk Future 2 Past trends Future 3 Certainty - Rate of change + Past Present Future Scenarios: planning for change
  • 8. 23 interviews world wide • Architecture • Commercial tenants • Entrepreneurship • Environment • Governance • Infrastructure • Non-governmental organisations • Planning • Real estate • Technology
  • 9. Drivers of change Growing income inequality Lack of capital availability Role of centralized governance Infrastructure decay Lifestyle change & value shifts Resource shortages
  • 10. Economic • Increased division of wealth between rich and poor • The world’s poor are an increasingly powerful force in urban development • Current urban development models not t for their emergent needs • Global warming will disproportionately effect the poor • International nance will become more important, domestic capital less • International nance will become more selective, comparing between cities • Taxation will continue to be a strong determinant of capital ows • New ecological accounting mechanisms will play an increasing role in real estate nance and development • Building obsolescence will become an increasingly important factor
  • 11. Political • Most city governments will lack the resources to meet increasing citizens demands • Weaken central government and open room for other players • Civil society and community based organisations will be the rst to ll this role • Bottom-up participatory approaches to development and management will become important • Local government will need to shift from regulation to enabling and facilitating • Boundaries of where city authorities ends will blur, administrative implications are unclear • Grassroots' innovation could lead to transformational change • Insecurity more important factor, with high unemployment and economic, political and environmental migration
  • 12. Cultural • Need for new types of education / consciousness change • Increased social fragmentation as people cling to their identities • Increasing fragmentation of commercial and social services • The youth will play a powerful role in urban governance • Need to strike a balance between short term pro t and growth and long term needs • Increasing complexity calls for new kinds of leadership
  • 13. Environmental • Water will become an ever increasing problem • Droughts in rural areas will drive people to urban areas • Global warming and extreme weather will impact urban development • Most cities have very poor emergency preparedness for environmental disasters and will be blindsided by change • Disease return to rst world cities • May have to consider abandoning cities
  • 14. Technological • ICT will enable acceleration of social dynamics already in place • Could have signi cant destabilising effects through asymmetric warfare, etc. • May allow for breakthroughs in decentralised infrastructure and governance • ICT enables relocation of activities, such as public administration • ICT will enable more social surveillance and government control
  • 15. Workshop Learning journey Driver identi cation Sorting key drivers Scenario snippets Fleshing out and exploring implications Systems mapping Deeping scenarios
  • 16.
  • 17. Gulliver’s Massive socio- Triumph of the World technical revolution Triads
  • 20. A core of new eco-prosperity
  • 21. A fringe of stagnation & struggle
  • 22. Smarter cities & transport
  • 23. But persistent basic challenges
  • 26. Higher quality of life for some
  • 29. A decade of decline
  • 31. Followed by a devastating blow
  • 32. Leading to a youth uprising
  • 33. And a new generation of leaders
  • 34. Who push through new agreements
  • 35. Creating global climate stabilization
  • 37. With local food economies
  • 40. Scenario 3: Triumph of the Triad’s
  • 44. Con ict and migration ensues
  • 45. Breakdown of critical infrastructure
  • 46. Leads a harsh return to self-suf ciency
  • 48. Leading to new “family values”
  • 49. Warlord tax collectors provide service
  • 50. For a global age of muddling through
  • 51. For more information visit: The Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/centres/insis/research/Pages/future- cities.aspx