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If you want a preview of the downtown Vancouver streetscape in 2035, start with a walk down Granville or Georgia Street today.
Most of the buildings will still be standing. There will be additions and replacements, but most of the changes that will transform downtown's living, work and retail space will be undetectable from the sidewalk. That includes upgrades to water and energy systems in buildings that in 2012 are models of inefficiency by contemporary standards, let alone future ones.
"If you are thinking 2035, realistically 80% of the buildings that will be in existence at that time have already been constructed," said Innes Hood, a professional engineer and senior associate with Stantec Consulting, a consulting firm with 12,000 planners, architects, engineers, project managers and experts, working in teams to break down the boundaries between designers, contractors and investors, while using advanced computer modelling programs.
Retrofits are crucial.
One of Hood's main assignments is overseeing the redevelopment of existing buildings. More often than not, that means uncovering, through energy audits, glaring examples of waste - air leaks, inadequate insulation, inefficient heating and ventilation systems.
"We are involved in residential projects where we can achieve 80-per-cent reduction in energy use and become essentially greenhouse gas neutral through the implementation of cost-effective technologies," Hood said. "We're not having to strive to the leading edge. These are tried and true technologies around good building enclosures and high-performance mechanical systems such as heat pump technology...
Via Lauren Moss
We live in an era of accelerating change. Technology is changing and innovating faster than most of us can keep up. And at the same time, it's easy to get so caught up in shiny visions of the future, and not notice the astounding things that are happening in science and technology today.
Via Susan Bainbridge, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, by Jorgen Randers, launched by the Club of Rome on May 7, raises the possibility that humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism.
In the Report author Jorgen Randers raises essential questions:
How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline? Using painstaking research, and drawing on contributions from more than 30 thinkers in the field, he concludes that:
While the process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations has started, the human response could be too slow.
The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the Report) will progress.
But there will still be 3 billion poor in 2052.
China will be a success story, because of its ability to act.
Global population will peak in 2042, because of falling fertility in urban areas Global GDP will grow much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.
CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause +2°C in 2052; temperatures will reach +2.8°C in 2080, which may well trigger self-reinforcing climate change.
The Report says the main cause of future problems is the excessively short-term predominant political and economic model. “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view”, said Professor Randers, speaking in Rotterdam. “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind”.
Via ddrrnt, ABroaderView, Laurence Serfaty
It wasn’t too long ago that the term ‘Smart City’ was not on very many people’s radar screens, but recently, it has been more familiar, and people are understanding the concepts behind smart cities.
A smart city uses information combined with technology to improve quality of life, reduce environmental impact, and decrease energy demand. This list of the smartest cities on the planet takes those factors into consideration, as well as the ‘smart’ plans the city might have for the future...
Via Lauren Moss, Toni Sánchez, association concert urbain
Despite the critical role that water has in our everyday lives, few people realize that the world’s freshwater supply is facing a major crisis in the near future.
Take a look at this infographic for more details, statistics and data on the 'invisible threat to humanity's future' to help increase awareness with regard to the global water crisis...
Via Lauren Moss, Susan Davis Cushing, SustainOurEarth
Soon, we will be able to build computers with artificial intelligence and processing power that rivals the human brain. Intelligence will be everywhere, embedded in our clothing, our vehicles and homes. Intelligent robots will serve us - until they don't feel like doing so anymore. And what happens then...? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1277322/plotsummary
Via Sakis Koukouvis, Andrea Graziano