Updated: Apr 21, 2021
By: Connor Sanborn, Co-Founder of SunFlower LLC
If you haven’t yet: check out the introductory post for this series — it lays the groundwork for Parts 1-4 exploring the limitless potential of the world of tomorrow.
The World is Your Oyster
What’s that? You don’t own a working time machine - but you still want to see the future up close? That’s okay, we have our imaginations. Flash-Forward! (LIGHTS, NOISE AND SUCH). We find ourselves in the year 2076, the outlook seems bright; where you live and settle down is no longer a result defined mainly by the costs of living! This has opened up to you a wide array of choice in geographies and cultures when choosing where to make a new life.
Contrary to the Big City living of the early 21st-Century, the costs of living in major metropolitan areas are now subsidized below that of rural developments. Governments finally recognize the value of the network effect and the benefits of life in an efficient, colony-style arrangement. Looks like nature (ahem… bees) had it right all along. Remember, the world is now 3 billion people larger than half a century ago — thousands of cities have sprung up over the years with the sole purpose of housing our newcomers. These labyrinths were constructed to alleviate the strained infrastructure of the 2020s and, unintended by their creators, offer a nearly endless list of locations worldwide that will suit you nicely.
Where I Live
Have you ever pegged yourself as a ‘country’ person? Well, then you might choose to live in the ‘countryside’ (now loosely describing anywhere on Earth not inhabited by millions of humans). Surprisingly, country living allows more freedom than anyone could have imagined in the past — energy, food, connections to the world around you, they’re all provided on-demand — thanks to a completely distributed network of resources empowering every household to live self-sufficiently and independently. But where do all of these ‘resources' come from?
Funny you should ask! What appear to be personal greenhouses, referred to more broadly as ‘resource centers’, generate and harvest everything for you ranging from renewable energy and fresh water to agricultural produce and proteins created from thin air and beneficially-reprogrammed bacteria. Using CO2 extracted from the atmosphere and humanity’s past, 3D-printed graphene objects are made for home, farm or work use. The 2070s have re-popularized an old building technology — most houses and resource centers are made from ‘enhanced concrete’, a natural calcareous concrete produced by microbes that actually heals the damage done from mechanical and environmental stress over time using carbon from the air. Your home laughs at tornado warnings.
Perhaps you’re not a fan of even the slightest physical isolation; you need to feel the energy of the people pulsing like blood through the veins of society. You’re not alone. Many others decided that the buzz and bustle of the new city is the life for them! City-dwellers find great convenience in their ultra-connected lifestyles, with nearly instantaneous access to all types of resources and entertainment coming at minimal energy and financial investment. Free drone deliveries and virtual reality viewings are common practice helping to reduce urban traffic and improve cultural accessibility to the entire city’s population. Urban happiness levels have never been higher.
It gets even better. Everything is now powered by hydrogen and electricity — pollution is a thing of the past; low-income families are no longer victims of disproportionate environmental health inequality, no longer being priced out of the ‘cleaner’ parts of town. Instead, career choice and needs, family size, survival expenses, energy requirements and proximity to work (if you’re not one of the majority working from home) are just a few of the factors deciding the optimal location, size and cost of your living space. Your apartment receives electricity from a community microgrid that supplies 100% renewable energy with several months of reserve backup for emergencies and natural disasters. Community- and building-sponsored agriculture is standard — your dietary preferences are procured weekly by volunteer urban farmers who live on the same block and harvest crops from the roof of your apartment, next to the beehives.
What Your Home Is Like
Let’s turn the dial up to 10. What if your entire home — not just the tech inside it — was truly smart, or even alive? Without the bygone need of relying on outside and unreliable resources, the dwelling of the future provides every necessity (plus added luxuries) to live a truly meaningful life.
Biological principles are the foundation of construction techniques in the future. All housing in 2076 is built to be net-zero, or even carbon-negative, with largely passive ventilation and lighting. Building-integrated solar technology gathers the Sun’s energy to heat, cool and light all households with the help of energy storage designed into the walls and floors. The windows are variably transparent solar panels, the roof surfaces are breathing and your ceiling fans push out pure oxygen to encourage good health. Nature-inspired wind turbines designed with AI capture the smallest ambient breezes ruffling the leaves on your lawn. Built-in rainwater collection and passive evaporative purification systems provide nearly all of the water you need. Condenser systems powered by excess renewable energy remove humidity from the outside air to compensate for the rest. These systems go largely unnoticed because they’re constructed as part of the building envelope itself.
Increase the level of luxury, you say? Certainly, right away. Floors that warm your toes in the winter and cool them in the summer are no longer an unreasonable fantasy. Heating and cooling systems in your home are solid-state — they can raise or lower the inside temperature to meet your level of comfort with no moving parts, noise or hazardous refrigerants. Light moves with you through your home, wasting minimal energy and illuminating the most important spaces of your dwelling area at the time. Based on the mood, your walls and windows change hue biochemically like a chameleon and glow in syncopated synchrony, as dinoflagellates in the tropical waves. The longer you live in your residence, the more ideal your home climate and comfort settings become as living preferences are learned and processes are optimized to be as energy efficient, cost-effective and life-enhancing as possible.
No longer is your home something that you want to simply upgrade with new trinkets and things. Now, we enjoy ‘updating’ our homes with new software, new microbes, new features and functionality. Just as over-the-air updates to your cell phone, laptop computer or electric vehicle (EV) 50 years ago increased their technological capability — your appliances, lights and electrical panels become smarter as a result of your home’s core operating system learning through data analytics. Individual systems also learn and improve on their own, contributing to the greater quality of the network created by your home’s automation portal.
The information synergy leads not just to predictive cups of earl grey prepared for cold, rainy mornings — but also fantastic developments like early sickness detection through identification of abnormal body temperature variations during sleep. Your self-sufficient and self-powered, intelligent and sustainable home will learn to support and simplify your every move on a daily basis, keeping you happy, stress-free and in good health. Now, you can finally focus on the important things — like helping the rest of the world and creating the future.
#Lifeinthefuture #Sustainablefuture #Climatesolutions #Homeofthefuture #Renewableenergy #Climateadaptations #Microgrids #Energystorage #Equalityforall #Energyindependence #Artificialintelligence #Biomimicry #Dataanalytics #Carbonnegative #Selfsufficiency #PositiveFuture #2076
Callebaut, V., 2020. PARIS SMART CITY 2050. [image] Available at: <http://vincent.callebaut.org/object/150105_parissmartcity2050/parissmartcity2050/projects> [Accessed 23 May 2020].
E.ON, 2020. What Does The Eco Home Of The Future Look Like?. [image] Available at: <Forsyth, A., 2020. Home Future Design With Futuristic Houses. [image] Available at: <http://www.crismatec.com/1500240207/mnc/8b362378269c19d0/> [Accessed 16 June 2020].> [Accessed 28 May 2020].
Fabian, B., 2020. Norway Svalbard - Longyearbyen "The Northernmost Public Library". [image] Available at: <https://www.bogifabian.com/glowing-murals> [Accessed 12 June 2020].
Forsyth, A., 2020. Home Future Design With Futuristic Houses. [image] Available at: <http://www.crismatec.com/1500240207/mnc/8b362378269c19d0/> [Accessed 16 June 2020].
Prokopowicz, Dariusz. (2019). Re: What future for several dozen years for the agglomeration in which we live?. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_future_for_several_dozen_years_for_the_agglomeration_in_which_we_live/5cdf9fe13d48b7690f26c0ea/citation/download.