Monday 21 August 2017


What have urban design thinkers been writing about? You are what you read. You are what you eat. You are how you meditate. You are what you exercise. Do all these sayings come together for some new form of refreshing individual and collective leadership in urban creativity?

The past influences about an imagined holistic urban future, is as much influenced by existing story telling found with believable factors and elements suggesting an awareness of alternative features. These can be introduced into the moment of the present by acknowledging two critical fields of exploration the macro-environment of the heavens above shown with telescopes and the micro-environment revealing atoms with microscopes. All these images freeze movement and energy in a moment of time.

Tempering hope with despair about our future urban predictions begins with a clear understanding shared by Jack Williamson: – “We have burdened you (the future generations) with impossible debts, a wasted and polluted planet that should have been your rich heritage and left you instead a dreadful legacy of ignorance, want, and war………… that you have to cleanse and heal your injured planet, end hunger, conquer crime, (corporate, politbureau corruption), and learn to live in peace”.

Urban design readings offer some possible future opportunities with worded stories of predictions by Fredrick Pohl, Jerry Pournelle, Sheldon Glashow, Isaac Asimov, Gregory Benford, Roger Zelazny and even President Reagan. These are generally not found on students reading lists in design studios of many educational institutions. The authors took risks but all had hopes and desires as to what they might foresee in the future. How accurate were their individual predictions?

POPULATION FORECASTS impacts all urban future growth and change is where all things begin. Peoples decisions versus government decisions. In general these futurists overshot estimated population figures and did little to examine immigration consequences. The overall global population figures have declined.

EMERGENT FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES over time such as: nanotech, biotech, genetic engineering, geo-engineering, artificial intelligence, GMO food, and Internet use, has not driven the expected advance in each category for an upturn of good harvest. Some categories however have crept into reality.

HEALTH from epidemics are now drawn to attention by worldwide media, however AIDS, Spanish Flu, Polio, Ebola, Cancer, Obesity and Nutrition have been far off the mark of being overcome.

ENERGY was accurately predicted as to increasing our dependence on shale oil.  The other side of the energy duality is to stop using so much energy. This has not been adequately focused upon. Generating new energy supplies, it’s distribution and storage is still expensive to operate and maintain. The most important part of energy is also the looming water crisis, which has the potential to be a far bigger global nightmare than our fossil energy problem.

MANUFACTURING has just arrived at recognizing the microscopic particles of materials, not just the plying of status quo consumer goods. Social awareness of product information content together with “crowd management” should have to turn away from present forms that might in any way impair capital goods production. However social regimentation will then have become so deft that most people will regard any other social milieu as pitiable.

EDUCATION AND CULTURE has harvested a population that thinks in data images rather than informational symbols with established meaning. Changes have started to encourage thinking above the existing status quo pattern for multiple purposes only to train students for employment and ingrain new code languages so as to report to computers and follow instructions. This has not brought head and hand skills together for future productivity applications.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS is gathering a future attention in the world of computer-generated graphics connected to inventions. Gaming, filming and “fly through” virtual images have become almost indistinguishable on many devices in separating the virtual from reality images in the performance of broadcasted dramas. These “coded” digital images are not carefully identified as either fantasy or science fiction. The hope that holographic images will stabilize future aspirations needs considerable integration for accurate discernment of derived consequences between a virtual and reality world – globally.

WARS AND WORLD POWER. Our futurists listed predicted no nuclear war. This is somewhat an accurate forecast.  However, the threads of such a devastating happening are on the tipping point for a northern hemispheric disaster. Whereas the American economic power has experienced a gentle yet relentless decline in the value required for quality of life creation. The rich and the poor will form two armed camps. This circumstance bodes increasing crime and corruption to continue unabated against morality and ethics as an honest goal to establish the truth.


If the USA is to recover, one must stop pretending to be what one was in 1950’s, and reorder our values and principles for sustainability away from the pursuit of privilege. A new form of global monetary exchange is warranted. Maybe “Bitcoin” backed by small gold reality ounce units should come into effect.

Global freedom to travel has not advanced at all. The prediction that there will be no fast trains connecting American cities, but a network of levitated superconducting trains will be under construction in Western Europe and in Japan has failed to reveal itself.  Furthermore diplomacy amongst sovereign nations about alternative future transportation systems is not part of an enlightened debate for any visionary mobility technology adoption and/or implementation.

Exports and imports of goods offer only restrictions to freedom for trade negotiations. Transportation agriculture and higher education are still not America’s most successful exports.

Worldwide economic dictatorships are forwarding another new form of warfare aided by restrictions in monetary flows and regulations between countries. These actions are seen to stem deleterious activities to human kind. These actions spell but another form of surreptitious warfare. By whose standards are such sanctions to restrict monetary flows promulgated?


Until urban design creates a time honored tool suggested by Frederick Pohl: – “lay out your assumptions for a most-likely future, and then turn every assumption and trend on its head until you get a mirror-image future in which every variable becomes its opposite”. This vision of his for 2012 is utopian but a possible synthesis that needs to be explored. Pohl bets that a world of global peace and prosperity, free of arms and armies, longevity and leisure, happiness with a healed Earth, is the one to strive to gain – forever. Is this a collective purpose worth working toward?

So any urban synthesis needs to be explored by individuals with practical solutions together with an interdisciplinary team for implementation. Each individual with good personal daily conscious habits using pencil and paper, as well as, computers must reach far beyond the current perpetual analysis, but rather toward a prognosis well expressed into a synthesis that needs to be well defined and expressed virtually. This to graphically inform the media with facts in order to liberate the thinking of the literate and to manifest freedom to the public at large for implementation into alternative city building.

A holistic alternative solution must be shared to balance man-made things with Natures designs for our temporary stay on Earth to maintain prospects for Peace, Prosperity and Liberty.

Graham Kaye-Eddie

M.U.D.             1159 words               1/25/15

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