• Hans van Mameren

Is it sure cities will keep growing?

All predictions agree on continued growth of the urban areas! In all continents of the globe. And all policy makers and planners are working on that basis. But what if another scenario will appear?

It could very well be that urban areas stop growing soon. They crumble on the influx of newcomers. Maybe the social elasticity of the communities gets overstressed. Livability is not only a technical matter and challenge. Some move upward on the social ladder. Many are left at the bottom of society and feel the pain of inequality. They are the ones mostly hurt by pollution, corruption and exploitation. Fall victim of crime and addiction. The sharp contrast of inequality can lead to riots and rebellion. Leaving the vulnerable as first victims.

So there is a good reason for people to prefer the more homogeny communities of the rural areas. Providing that the rural areas can offer their people the same benefits as the urban areas. And that can very well be the case in the near future. The new technologies developed to create a sustainable economy will support the rural communities as much as the urban.

Small scale Energy Grids are appearing in the urban areas. So they can in the rural areas. Economy of scale is then diluted. When the core elements of Mini-grids are built in large production facilities, having the economy of scale, the installation in remote areas is as easy as in urban areas. Small scale Energy will become a DIY matter. Preinstalled software will require no more specialized knowledge as an app on one’s smartphone.

The village teacher will be supported by an on-line tutor to help her/him with supporting the children. Specialized doctors will review the data of smart devises much better as a village GP. In Singapore a monitoring devise is developed to monitor the condition of the unborn child. Only when a serious condition occurs the mother has to go to the hospital. Routine checks are done at the mother in her own environment. Banks are made obsolete by new blockchain technology, saving costs for the client and adding a lot of convenience.

Why moving to the sinking swamp of Jakarta, the breath-taking air of Delhi or the noise of Lagos?

A mother protects her child. But with the urban smog, can she?

Why moving to the sinking swamp of Jakarta, the breath-taking air of Delhi or the noise of Lagos. Many will then prefer the fresh air of their village, the intimacy with their family and neighbors. And still have the income to support their family. Not all, but many will stay or return to their origin. Leaving the over-planned urban areas in contraction.

It can go like this. Would that not be a nice scenario? Building a more relaxing society with very good opportunities for its people, their environment and the nature we are all living in and depending on. Not a fantasy, but an achievable future.

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