Living Simply (Future Cities), Daily Living Part 9

This is our home!
This is our home!

Despite digressions, I am still wanting to complete my thoughts on envisioning a mature culture. This post will look at local and long distance transportation, personal and business travel, and interactions between cities. My ultimate goal is to envision how a mature culture could live in simple sustainable fashion.

I previously mentioned that everything in a mature culture would be recyclable, and that most structural needs such as furniture and automobiles would be modular, designed for practical long-term use. Once a design had been found effective, easy to repair and fully recyclable, it could be built in high volume, modular fashion, and distributed throughout the world. In a world that did not value senseless competition, most material items would then be standardized, with little future development unless there truly arose the need for improvement of the product.

Transportation

Public transportation would also be standardized, designed to be massively efficient in moving people from place to place as needed.

  • Within community buildings, this would mainly be by high-volume automated walkways and elevators.
  • Between buildings, there would be similar walkways, perhaps at many different elevations thereby connecting buildings in many ways. There would also be provision for “rentable” bicycles and electric vehicles depending on distance and personal needs.
  • Between cities, there would be high speed electric train systems, creating a vast intercity network for transportation of people and freight. Air travel would still be feasible if reliable electricity-fueled planes are developed.

I mentioned in an earlier post (Daily Live? Part 5) that there would be approximately 6000 cities scattered around the globe, each with a footprint of a few square miles. Such a city could be located in an area of great physical beauty, and still be surrounded by vast areas of wilderness, some of which would be available for human utilization as pleasure. But much of it would truly be wilderness, allowing maximal natural development.

City Life

Cities themselves would physically be fairly similar from one city to another (which they are now, although the vast unpleasant underbellies of modern cities would no longer be part of the culture). Any given city would provide high quality services in all areas such as health and nutrition.

  • It is likely that most types of standardized products would be part of the manufacturing component of the city, but also likely that each city would specialized in a few standard components, for example, transportation products such as automobiles or trains, or manufacture of solar energy products (all of which would then be distributed world-wide).
  • Where cities would differ would be in the arts and research areas. Every city would have many cultural components, much of which could be shared electronically with the rest of the world. Each city would also specialize in specific areas of research in medical, technological, and scientific studies; all of which would then be shared throughout the civilization.
  • Each city would also be a place where local cultures were maintained and maximized as to diversity.

Travel

I do not believe that physical travel would be a major feature on life in a mature culture, either for business or personal use. Technological advances would also allow much in the way of virtual travel, providing rich exposure to local areas of beauty without the high ecological cost of huge numbers of people.

And although I place great value on experiencing cultural diversity, I do not believe that our current patterns of travel create this. Modern vacations are often moving from one location to another, at great hassle of time and expense, while ending in an environment that is fairly uniform in its tourist characteristics. There may often be some special activity such as lying on a beach or skiing on a snowy mountain, there is usually little exposure to depth of culture.

Of much greater value has been those times where I have actually lived within a new culture, e.g., living with a Spanish family in their home while learning a new language. Or visiting a friend who lives in a foreign country, and then going on a hiking trip through the local villages. Such visits have been memorable, and perhaps allowed friendships of great depth, even if short term. This kind of travel could be maximized as learning experiences, as sabbaticals of travel from one culture to another.

Coming next: Governance

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