The Decade Ahead

It's time for my promised set of predictions for the coming decade. It has been a transgression of disciplinary norms for historians to predict the future, but its also quite common among bloggers. So let's treat this as a blogosphere game, nothing more. It'll be interesting to see just how wildly wrong I am a decade from now.

In many respects, the next decade is likely to seem like a hangover after the party of the 2000s (yes, I said party). The good times of the boom were little more than a lie perpetrated by finance, utterly ungrounded in any economy reality, and were not based on any sustainable economic thought. Honestly, it's unclear to me how much players like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, and Larry Summers were duplicitous and how much they were just duped. Perhaps they thought they would get out in time or drop dead before the bubbly stopped flowing. Or maybe they were just stupid. Either way, we start a decade with national and global economies in ruins. A generation that grew up believing that the world was their oyster is now faced with the same reality that my generation knew growing up: that we would likely be worse off than our parents. I see little to correct this condition and much to be worried about.

Gopal Balakshrishan predicts that the future global economy will be a stationary state, a long-term stagnation akin to that which we experienced in the 1970s and 1980s. China will start slowing. The United States, EU, the Mideast and East Asia will all make up a low growth block, a slowly decaying imperium. India, together with parts of Africa and South America, will be on the rise. To be clear: the very worst thing that could happen is that we would see otherwise. If another bubble forms—in carbon trading or infrastructure for example—watch out. Under network culture, capitalism and finance have parted ways. Hardt and Negri are right: our economy is immaterial now, but that immateriality is not the immateriality of Apple Computer, Google, or Facebook, it's the immateriality of Goldman Sachs and AIG. Whereas under traditional forms of capitalism the stock market was meant to produce returns on investment, a relationship summed up in Marx's equation M-C-M' (where M is money, C is a commodity produced with the money, and M' is money plus surplus value), the financial market now seems to operate under the scheme of M-M' (see Jeffrey Nealon's brilliant Foucault Beyond Foucault). Surplus value is the product of speculation.

There's every chance that I have little idea to what lengths the financial powers will go to continue this condition. After all, I would have said that we should have had a lengthy recession following the dot.com boom and we didn't. Still, the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, house prices (measured in real dollars), and salaries all went down over the course of the decade, so it's plausible to say that for the most part, the economy was a shambles.

Climate change will become more widely accepted as corporations realize that it can lead to consumption and profits when little else can. If we are unlucky, the green "movement" will become a boom. We will finally realize that peak oil has past, perhaps around 2006. Climate change will be very real. It will not be as apocalyptic as some have predicted, but major changes will be in the works. We should expect more major natural disasters, including a tragic toll on human life.   

Populations will be aging worldwide during the next decade and baby boomers will be pulling more money out of their retirement accounts to cover their expenses. At the same time, younger people will find it harder to get a job as the de facto retirement age rises well into the seventies, even the eighties. A greater divide will open up between three classes. At the top, the super-rich will continue controlling national policies and will have the luxury of living in late Roman splendor. A new "upper middle" class will emerge among those who were lucky enough to accumulate some serious cash during the glory days. Below that will come the masses, impossibly in debt from credit cards, college educations, medical bills and nursing home bills for their parents but unable to find jobs that can do anything to pull them out of the mire. The rifts between all three classes will grow, but it's the one between the upper middle class (notice there is no lower middle class anymore) and the new proles that will be the greatest. This is where social unrest will come from, but right now it seems more likely to be from the Right than the Left. Still, there's always hope.

Speaking of hope, if things go right, governments will turn away from get-rich-quick schemes like "creative cities" or speculative financial schemes and instead find ways to build long-term strategies for resurrecting manufacturing. It will be a painful period of restructuring for the creative industries. Old media, the arts, finance, law, advertising, and so on will suffer greatly. Digital media will continue to be a relatively smart choice for a career, even as it becomes more mainstreamed into other professions. For example, it will become as common in schools of architecture to study the design of media environments as it is now to study housing. We will see a rise of cottage industries in developing nations as individuals in their garages will realize that they can produce things with the means of production at hand. Think of eBay and Etsy, but on a greater scale. National health insurance in the US will help in this respect, as it will remove individuals from the need to work for large corporations. But all will not be roses in the world of desktop manufacture. Toxicity caused by garage operations will be a matter of contention in many communities.

Some cities are simply doomed, but if we're lucky, some leaders will turn to intelligent ways of dealing with this condition. To me, the idea of building the world's largest urban farm in Detroit sounds smart. Look for some of these cities—Buffalo maybe?—to follow Berlin's path and become some of the most interesting places to live in the country. If artists and bohemians are finding it impossible to live in places like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles anymore, they may well turn elsewhere, to the boon of cities formerly in decline. The hippest places to live will no longer be New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco. The move toward smaller cities—remember Athens, Georgia, Austin, Texas and Seattle?—will explode in this decade as the over-capitalized major cities will face crises. But to be clear, this is an inversion from the model of the creative city. These cities will not see real estate values increase greatly. The new classes populating them will not be rich, but rather will turn to a of new DIY bohemianism, cultivating gardens, joining with neighbors communally and building vibrant cultural scenes.

With the death of creative cities, planners will also have to turn toward regions. As jobs continue to empty out, city cores will also see a decline in their fortunes. Eventually, this may resurrect places like New York and San Francisco as interesting places to live in again, but for now, it will cause a crisis. Smart city leaders will form alliances with heads of suburban communities to force greater regional planning than ever before. This will be the decade of the suburbs. We began the last decade with over 50% of the world's population living in urban areas. I predict that by the end of the next decade over 50% of the world's population will live in suburban areas. This isn't just Westchester and Rancho Palos Verdes but rather Garfield, New Jersey and East Los Angeles. Worldwide, it will include the banlieues and the shantytowns. Ending the anti-suburban rhetoric is critical for planners. Instead, we'll be asking how to make suburbs better while boosting the city core. Suburbs may become the models for cities as the focus turns toward devolving government toward local levels, even as tax revenue will be shared across broad regions.

Urban farming will come to the fore and community-supported agriculture will become widespread. This won't just be a movement among the hipster rich. It will spread to the immigrant poor who will realize that they can eat better, healthier, and cheaper by working with members of their immigrant community running farms inside and outside the city instead of shopping at the local supermarket. A few smart mayors will realize that cities in decline need community gardens and these will thrive. The rising cost of long-distance transportation due to the continued decline of infrastructure and peak oil will go a long way toward fostering this new localism.

The divisions in politics will grow. By the end of the decade, the polarization within countries will drive toward hyper-localism. Nonpartisan commissions will study the devolution of power to local governments in areas of education, individual rights (abortion will be illegal in many states, guns in many others), the environment, and so on. In many states gay rights will become accepted, in others, homosexuality may become illegal again. Slowly talk will start on both sides about the US moving toward the model of the EU. Conservatives may drive this initially and the Left will pick it up. In that case, I'm moving to Vermont, no question.

Architects will turn away from starchitecture. Thoughtful books, videos, and Web sites on the field will grow. Parametric modeling will go urban, looking toward GIS. Some of those results will be worth talking about. Responsive architecture will become accepted into the profession as will the idea of architects incorporating interfaces—and interface design—into their work.

In technology, the introduction of the Apple iSlate will make a huge difference in how we view tablets. It will not save media, but it will allow us to interface with it in a new way. eBooks will take hold, as will eBook piracy. Apple itself will suffer as its attempts to make the iSlate a closed platform like the iPhone will lead first to hacks and later to a successful challenge on the basis of unfair restraint of trade. A few years after the introduction of the iSlate, an interface between tablets and keyboards will essentially replace notebook computers. Wine will advance to such a point that the distinction between operating systems will begin to blur. In a move that will initially seem puzzling but will then be brilliant, Microsoft will embrace Wine and encourage its production. By the end of the decade, operating systems will be mere flavors.

The Internet of Things will take hold. An open-source based interface will be the default for televisions, refrigerators, cars and so on. Geolocative, augmented-reality games will become popular. Kevin Slavin will be the Time Web site's Man of the Year in 2018. As mobile network usage continues to grow, network neutrality will become more of an issue until a challenger (maybe Google, maybe not) comes to the scene with a huge amount of bandwidth at its disposal. Fears about Google will rise and by the end of the decade, antitrust hearings will be well-advanced.

We will see substantive steps toward artificial intelligence during the decade. HAL won't be talking to us yet, but the advances in computation will make the technology of 2019 seem far, far ahead of where it is now. The laws of physics will take a toll on Moore's Law, slowing the rate of advance but programmers will turn back toward more elegant, efficient code to get more out of existing hardware.

Manned spaceflight will end in the United States, but the EU, China, and Russia will continue to run the International Space Station, even after one or two life- and station-threatening crises onboard. Eventually there will be a world space consortium established, even as commercial suborbital flights go up a few dozen times a year and unmanned probes to Pluto, Mars, Venus and Europa deliver fantastic results. Earth-like planets will be found in other solar systems and there will be tantalizing hints of microscopic life elsewhere in the solar system even as the mystery of why we have found nobody else in the universe grows.

Toward the end of the decade, there will be signs of the end of network culture. It'll have had a good run of 30 years: the length of one generation. It's at that stage that everything solid will melt into air again, but just how, I have no idea.

As I stated at the outset, this is just a game on the blogosphere, something fun to do after a day of skiing with the family. Do pitch in and offer your own suggestions. I'm eager to hear them.

Comments

"My commentary on the future"

"My commentary on the future" the preview says.

Your commentary on the future of social classes is an interesting one; the distance between the "upper-middle" and the "lower" appears personally, at this present time, to be too great to define into only these two on the terms you specified. I think there will be a difference between these two classes that emerges, but they will not be primarily differentiated by their accumulated income pre-bubble popping. Money, in this sense as the product, is a critical result of the subjective capitalist ideology that led the individual to that point. This can't simply be measured in whether they could amass a quantity of capital during the "party", but whether they have the ability to "sustain" their "rank"; for without sustainability growth is not possible.

Sustain is a touchy word but as an idea i find it directly tied to the concept of survival; though both could be personally developed further, they have their conceptual foundation in entropy, consumption and production. In the coming decade (though this has always been the fundamental concept but never consciously), as is signaled by the green movement, this will be of chief concern. Our knowledge and systems of measurement are not presently adequate enough to determine the truth of these actions and events to the required degree at which facts are demanded.

Soon the product of money will differentiate its owners by the sustainability of the individual and the system of production, the latter emerging in the coming years. Unfortunately, its test will not simply be its economic survival but the presently unmeasurable (unquantifiable) psychological and sociological impacts. Death is a measurement of quantity, detriment is a whole other quality that the human sciences have started to document within the scientific doctrine (this raises the question of whether this method is adequate enough to observe and perceive these processes?). This only furthers the call to a re-envisioning and re-design of the systems of measurement, observation, objectivity, and in their essence belief. The word "re-design" carries a very heavy hand, implying a totalitarian almost utopian view; mutation and synthesis may be better words.

I do agree that whatever these "classes" end up being, there will be a conflict between them. I believe there is already this sort of conflict emerging in social and relational situations (as it always has), but this time may exacerbate them to more public stages (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html; an extremist case).

What you say about the future of cities and the seeming inevitability of suburbia is a personally troubling one; it is currently the topic of my thesis's research and design investigations. My idea, which comes from the present american landscape of atrophied (sub)urban areas based on the articulation of the individual, is unsustainable. It is founded on pre-war ideals that do not pertain to the contemporary psychology and sociology. The "anti-suburban" philosophy I agree is a negative one, and I do not believe it is the stance I am taking. They are a reality, they are space, they form our present notions of nature. The ideologies behind them remain strong but the entire strategies of settlement must be reconsidered. You mentioned that architecture schools will teach media environments in the same way they teach housing. Well, from my perspective (and those of some of my professors) housing isn't entirely taught as it is not a contemporary field of architectural discourse; it has been lost, handed over, given up to the developers and urban planners. Notably, I have had multiple studios in residential development but the practice is relatively vacant of collective housing. There are many new programs and disciplines that are presently emerging in an attempt to "architecturalize" this, but I don't believe the answer is outside of architecture. To sum, I refuse to believe that the suburban typology of urban form is sustainable; it has proven otherwise. The solution is not to do it better, but to do it different, with different principles, maybe even for a different audience. The suburb revealed instinctual desires of the modern man by legitimate constraints and discomforts; but in this networked culture we now exist within, these are not enough. They have led to the decline of our identity and place due to a lack of social production. The solutions lay in more than the modification and (further) optimization of a pre-existing model, but a reconceptualization of settlement in general. This "new-localism" you speak of is occuring as we speak, and will continue to grow. Architecture can, and will play an active role in this.

Expensive oil leads to a suburban boom?

The decade of the suburbs *and* post-peak oil. That sounds like a good trick.

Perhaps I wasn't clear

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. That makes sense if you think of the importance of localism and telecommuting, both of which would reduce commuting. As Robert Fogelson points out in Downtown, the growth of city cores was predicated on the growth of suburban communities that fed those cores with workers. If the workers start staying behind, this might force a rethink of how suburbs work. Now of course this woud work better in some suburbs than in others, but Kunstler's argument about suburbs and peak oil is confused. Cities are suburbanizing (becoming less diverse, more mall-like, more oriented for consumption) even as suburbs are urbanizing (becoming more diverse, more sites of production, and so on). Failing to understand this will be an even bigger mistake in the next decade than it was in the last decade (or heck, one could read the Levittowners by Gans, all the way back in the 1960s). 

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[...] The decade ahead Climate change will become more widely accepted as corporations realize that it can lead to consumption and profits when little else can. If we are unlucky, the green “movement” will become a boom. We will finally realize that peak oil has past, perhaps around 2006. Climate change will be very real. It will not be as apocalyptic as some have predicted, but major changes will be in the works. We should expect more major natural disasters, including a tragic toll on human life. [...]

What have we forgotten to account for?

Solid logical sensible predictions, and they sound credible. That fills me with suspicion, since experience shows that credible-sounding predictions based on existing trends usually get disrupted by something we didn't foresee. Bruce Sterling's 1996 novel HOLY FIRE offers a good example -- solid, sensible projections based on mid-90s trends that turned out wildly off the mark. Sterling looked around and saw lots of hype about virtual reality...out in the real world, VR never took off. He didn't see peak oil and he didn't see global terrorism, nor did he foresee the general collapse of traditional industries from automaking (his future has plenty of cars) to the movie industry to newspapers.

So what are we forgetting to account for?

I'm thinking advances in bioscience. Localism may go a lot farther than we expect if people start modifying their own genome, especially DIY garage lab stuff. We may also get some help with Peak Oil from genetically engineered microbes or plants that extract nitrogen and hydrogen from the air/soil and excrete biofuels.

The prediction that AI will advances seems shaky. AI has gone nowhere in 50 years and it seems safe to say that 50 years from now, all the hard AI problems will remain intractable. Computer translations of literature, computer voice input, autonomous vehicles, useful search agents have all hit a wall and will go nowhere. Google with all its computing power and PhDs, recently suggested when I searched for the term "Werewolf" the ad "Become a werewolf! Start a new career today!" That's in 2009, with the smartest computer PhDs on the planet working for one of the best computer companies on earth.

Martin Van Creveld's books about the weakening and collapse of the nation-state have so far proved prescient and this trend seems likely to continue. Europe seems likely to fragment back into principalities and the United States could shatter into 9 distinct commonwealths.

Large-scale traditional wars have continually declined and that seems certain to continue. Big land wars have become too expensive and the infrastructure too fragile and costly to destroy & rebuild, since much of a region's wealth now depends on that infrastructure. Unlike WW I and WW II and the Korean War, today's post-manufacturing economies depend on data networks and robotics and server farms and automated biolabs that prove impossibly expensive to rebuild once a JDAM blows 'em up. So future conflict is more likely to involve economic sanctions or data firewalls than troops storming the beaches of Normandy.

Some big wild cards? Will a fanatical terrorist get hold of a DNA synthesizer and use it cleverly? If so, prepare for TWELVE MONKEYS. Will we see genuine breakthroughs in energy storage? If so, say goodbye to anything above the level of the individual commune, because truly dense energy storage (say, 100 times or more * current battery storage densities) would enable genuine energy independence at the local level. We don't know if this is technologically possible. It might not be. Bio-implants remain a huge wild card. Suppose everyone could get a biological implant that would let 'em share thoughts and emotions and knowledge with one another? Sounds ridiculous now, but we're starting in this direction with silicon retinal implants and stem cells regrowing portions of the spinal cord and, in France, an artificial robotic arm interfaces to someone's nervous system so that it generates tactile feedback and the wearer can feel with it.

Electronic interfacing with the human nervous system seems to be going a lot faster than anyone expected. The coding problem still isn't even close to getting solved, but what if we can record physical sensations from a silicon-brain interface? Prepare for a STRANGE DAYS scenario, or even THE MATRIX, where the urban poor shack up with Gibsonian 'trodes on their temples, living recorded lives of luxury when they're not at work. That's probably not going to happen in the next 10 years but at the rate current brain interface technology is advancing, it may happen within a couple of decades.

Another huge wild card involves regulating aging. Recently molecular biologists ID'd the protein activated by caloric restriction that lengthens rats' lifespans. What if you could extend your lifespan by 25% by popping a pill instead of reducing your calorie intake to near-starvation level?

We're likely to see a massive Malthusian die-off in the third world as their population growth continues to skyrocket even as global warming produces increasingly savage storms and natural disasters. One big wild card there involves global pandemics sparked by massive movements of displaced populations in the third world uprooted by global warming floods and droughts. In America, the entire Southwest of the United States is unsustainable and will have to depopulate. The emptying out of Southern California will cause immense dislocations. ON 23 June 2003 it hit 199 degrees in Pasadena California. That's a foretaste of things to come: expect Death Valley temperatures in Pasadena and the rest of Southern California within the next 10 to 20 years. With electric bills skyrocketing and temperature climbing steadily, the average person won't be able to live in places like Phoenix AZ or Taos NM or Los Angeles CA or San Diego CA. 130-degree temperatures year-round with no air conditioning and $10-a-gallon gasoline will turn these regions of the U.S. into empty wastelands.

Interesting! Maybe Bruce will

Interesting! Maybe Bruce will pitch in with a response? But see also his state of the world 2010.

A couple of random notes: VR is here and a daily reality for millions. It's called World of Warcraft. 

Fragmentation of the US and the European nation-states? Frankly, I'd love to see it—and the localism that I mentioned would be a step toward it—but we've been predicting the former for a very long time. The fragmentation of the state endangers the personas who want to run it, which is a great shame. 

 

Vermont could see a population boom

I wonder just how many people see Vermont as their refuge. What is holding people back from going there now?

I telecommute at the moment. I don't believe it will work for most people. It won't work for most of my potential customers/employers. I especially see those service oriented jobs suitable for telecommuting to decrease in need and/or be replaced by automation. Suburbia will only be relevant to the extent that it can reinvent itself as a production center. It must also become a source of energy inputs as well as process its own wastes. I believe these will be difficult transitions as the political/legal systems are very slow to adjust.

Why will architecture be relevant to anyone except the elite if it does not also follow the open source paradigm?

Suburbia is where most of the

Suburbia is where most of the population and most of the jobs are now (this has been the case since the early 1970s), hence my predictions about it. For its part, the biggest growth in the 2000s was in exurbia. We've seen growth in some big-name cities even as many others (Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, etc.) have witnessed population declines.

More and more people are telecommuting, but yes, it doesn't work for many. Energy inputs and waste are indeed problems, but they are also problems in cities. Suburbia has the advantage of having smaller governments. Plus, what do with all those lawns? Grow your own food. 

This won't work in most suburban communities, at least not at first, but I think we'll see some changes during the next decade. For that matter, this decade was transformational, as many suburbs moved firmly toward being immigrant communities.

On the OS

I do not think that operating systems will not become mere flavors in the sense that you describe; instead, I see them segmenting more explicitly along divisions dictated by their use.

Browser-rendered web applications - HTML, CSS, and JavaScript - continue to be the only completely open medium that works across platforms, and of course great at working within the cloud. While "native" applications designed for specific operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iPhone's OS X, etc.) offer advantages, I see this changing dramatically in the next 10 years. Right now, a lot of this is being driven by Apple's dictatorial policies regarding the iPhone app store. If their rumored tablet has a similarly controlled app store, look for more developers to turn towards the only open environment available to them - web applications. Not that web applications will replace native apps, but as their technology improves they increasingly offer a seductive alternative. In just a few years, the browser WILL be the OS on many devices - think Google's Chrome OS.

Already web applications can perform the tasks most commonly performed by desktop software (email, office-type editing, maps, photo and video storage, chat, etc.). The inclusion of local-file access in HTML 5 will boost the usefulness of such functions dramatically, while automatic cloud-based storage and revision history will help prevent many of the data-loss accidents that commonly happen to basic computer users. While the interfaces of these applications are still rudimentary relative to "native" applications, this changes daily, and the gap will largely disappear over the next decade. Indeed, I envision enterprise-level machines being more "interface" than actual computer: an access point to cloud-based applications and centralized storage, each laptop / tower being more of an access point than a stand-alone machine.

Of course, web applications cannot replace everything. Browsers aren't likely to support 3D-modeling anytime soon, and any cloud-based OS would still require drivers in order to interface with Hardware. Such uses, however, remain "fringe" uses specific to certain industries. One possibility is that OS's will specify (the Architecture OS, the Modeling OS, the . . . *shudder* . . . AutoDesk OS) tied to specific hardware, while a cloud-based interface enables such machines to share common basic functionality. I hope this isn't the case, but it is definitely a possibility.

Sitting on top of all of these possibilities lies the social networks, which are in my opinion the most fascinating and unpredictable phenomenon of the last few years, and the one with the most obvious potential for transforming how digital presences interact with physical ones.

Finally, to touch on architecture from my highly subjective position, I look forward to innovation in new forms of ownership and occupancy. The aesthetic push towards heterogeneity so evident in recent built and student projects points at an intuitive recognition of the complexity of the built landscape - that what precisely that portends I'm not sure. The idea that housing is always permanent, that architecture's tools have IDP-prescribed uses, and likewise that digital competency = interactive facades and parametric forms are ideas that will be diluted and recycled to more systemic, data-driven, and authored-designs that embrace known architectural variables along with unknown future possibilities. The result will not be so much heterogeneous in appearance, but heterogenous in design approach. with variable results. Architecture will become more tool and less product.

'We will see a rise of

'We will see a rise of cottage industries in developing nations as individuals in their garages will realize that they can produce things with the means of production at hand. Think of eBay and Etsy, but on a greater scale.' >>God, I hope so..

'A few years after the introduction of the iSlate, an interface between tablets and keyboards will essentially replace notebook computers.' >>2020? Sorry, tablets will be obsolete--computers will be directly interfaced with the human brain/body..

Urban Ag & Peak Water

There is an old saying in the west is 'that water runs uphill to money'. We're already seeing cuts in irrigation in the Central Valley of California and redistribution of that water to the cities. With the looming collapse of the Sierra (& maybe the Rockies) snowpack, there will be even less water available for irrigating traditional agricultural land in the west - the only reliable source of water will be found in the cities. Water recycling will become the new status quo and perhaps large scale agriculture will move into the cities to tap this vital resource.

Will this shift be handled through wide deployment of Haegian edible estates? or maybe the model will be more of skyvegitables placing greenhouses and roof farms above every grocery store and big box retailer.

There is growing awareness of the link between water and energy - the emergence of urban agriculture will only enhance our understanding of this symbiosis.

I'll be posting more about post-water urbanism at infrascapedesign.wordpress.com in the next few weeks.

peak water

Barry, I agree, peak water is a huge issue, particularly in the American West. We could well see a reverse migration back to the abandoned terrain of the Rust Belt, where there is water, although heating fuel is still a looming problem. And, there will be surprises elsewhere…it won't be in the next decade, but there will Long Island will exhaust its supply of groundwater in this century, forcing it to import water from elsewhere. And of course, there's the South. Remember Georgia earlier in the decade? 

@Heurist the highest recorded temperature in Pasadena was 113 F

@Heurist the highest recorded temperature in Pasadena was 113 F. (45 C.) on June 17, 1917. You have no evidence to support "the emptying out of Southern California". How can you even say "ON 23 June 2003 it hit 199 degrees in Pasadena California"?

Pasadena

[a late contribution from an old friend:]
As you've heard by now, it hit 113° again a few Mondays ago across much of L.A., including Pasadena (where I live). But that was one day following a rather mild summer that saw almost no other temps above 100. And, with our white roof, deep overhangs, and no need to cool the house while I'm at work, even several more weeks of such weather annually would be a minor irritant (ask anyone in Palm Springs). Energy isn't the critical factor here: solar is already viable as a long-term home improvement and will be a no-brainer with few more years of increasing efficiency.

The real issue is when will water rates rise to the point that people start to make not just different landscaping choices, but different lifestyle choices, and which industries will be driven out by those costs.

re: 199 degree temperature

i don't speak for heurist, but i'll bet it was a typo, meant to be 109.

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[...] Kazys Varnelis offers predictions for the coming decade. A number of things here, of course, but I think he’s spot on with the [...]

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[...] nods to the emergence of urban agriculture and water shortages in his post The Decade Ahead. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Re-Mix urban form studioNewsletterThe Weekly [...]

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[...] I've previously written about the dangers facing cities in the upcoming economic collapse. Even as some "urbanists" are naïvely predicting that city cores will only strengthen during the coming decade as suburbs decline, cities face many hurdles. One is that second cities, both in the US and abroad are subject to a network effect, being left behind by a few more powerful brethren that get all the press. Been to Buffalo, Detroit, Utica, Syracuse, Albany, Newark or Paterson lately? Cities are a basket case. [...]

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