When I use the term "cities of the future," most people's eyes glaze over. Cities of the future will be slightly more cumbersome than cities of the present, it is assumed, but that misses an important point.
Cities are mostly incremental, but occasionally, there are dramatic changes to the places we live and work.
For example, when congestion pricing is implemented below 60th Street in New York City, 880,000 drivers per day will be charged between $12-24. For better or worse, this single policy will immediately and materially change how millions of people make drive-or-not decisions, transportation times below 60th Street, and the quality of life for those who live and work in the zone.
The immediate impact of congestion pricing does not factor-in inevitable mobility advancements – namely self-driving cars – and is less robust than other mixed incentive transportation experiments.
Cities' default incremental-then-sudden approach will transform just about every part of our urban lives. Advanced technologies will accelerate this trend.
So what will a city of the future look like?
Here are a few ideas:
- Free, warp-speed digital connectivity (whatever comes after the internet)
- Cashless, tiered commerce
- City-wide moderated climate
- "Micro markets" for capital allocation
- Social exclusive-inclusive scoring
- Universal basic income
- Robot-maintained parks and green spaces
- Real-time, editable entertainment
- Reliable mixed (preventative/acute + human/machine) healthcare
- Frictionless, always-on transportation
- Carbon-neutral energy generation and storage
- Community-led Civilian Conservation Corps-like projects
If climate or robots do not kill us first, it may even be enjoyable!