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Published on December 22nd, 2014 | by Sponsored Content


The City In 2030 Will Look Just Like… The City In 1930 (We Mean That In A Good Way)

December 22nd, 2014 by  

Editor’s Note: This article is one submission in a live Masdar blogging contest (find out the entry requirements here). Very simply, the focus of the contest submissions is to: “Describe your city in 2030: what will occur due to changes in energy, transportation and water technologies, and how will they transform how you live?” We are sharing this submission here on CleanTechnica because we think it’s awesome and because Masdar is sponsoring CleanTechnica in order to raise awareness about this great competition. I have personally engaged in the contest in previous years, and I hope one of our readers wins this year since it would be great to meet you in Abu Dhabi!

The 2015 Masdar Engage blogging contest is offering up a future-think question — namely, “Describe your city in 2030: what will occur due to changes in energy, transportation and water technologies, and how will they transform how you live?”

Oh, great. A trick question. After all, 2030 is barely 15 years away. To complicate matters, here in the US the pushback forces are not likely to run out of steam. That includes anti-Agenda 21 lobbying fueled by deep-pocketed organizations, as well efforts by fossil energy stakeholders to keep an emissions-reliant business model alive well past its expiration date.

So if you’re looking for an honest answer from someone who lives in a small commuter city that has barely changed in the past 22 years, which means that it looks pretty much like it did in 1930, here ya go: It’s going to look pretty much the same in 2030.

On the other hand, didn’t I just see a Chevy Volt gas-electric vehicle drive down my block? Sure, on the outside it looks just like an ordinary car, and it even has a gas tank, but depending on your daily routine, you might have to gas it up like maybe once a year.

To those of you who don’t commute by car, skipping the weekly trip to the gas station might not seem like a big deal, but for the rest of us, it’s like having your cake and eating it too.

That little extra increment of control over your routine makes a big difference. Heck, it’s downright transformative. So let’s take a look at some other semi-invisible changes that are already in the works, despite the pushback.

For example, if you’ve been using compact fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs, you probably noticed that you are practically never-changing light bulbs. If you have a studio apartment that’s no big deal, but if you live in a house, that’s one huge, constant, and potentially dangerous chore that you can pretty much kiss goodbye.

Come to think of it, didn’t I just drop in the local mega-electronics store and see a huge display of those new “smart home” controls right up front? Yes, I did. You stick these gizmos in your house, and everything still looks the same, but you can manage all of your electric appliances more efficiently without having to run around resetting everything. Throw in a hookup to your EV battery and Bob’s your uncle.

Then there’s the Sodastream. It’s genius. You get to skim past an entire aisle at the supermarket and, as a bonus, you aren’t constantly taking plastic bottles out for recycling.

So to sum up, if you visit my city in 2030, you’re going to see pretty much the same buildings that were there in the 1930s, and the streets will be the same, and the neighborhoods will be the same.

Under the skin, things will be quite different. The real revolution will take place in consumer technology. Take the converse of those three examples that I’ve just provided, and you can see how much effort it takes to maintain a lifestyle dependent on fossil fuels, obsolete technology, and throwaway packaging.

As for what to do with all that free time, get a head start now and write an article for the Masdar blogging contest (CleanTechnica is a media partner for the contest, btw).

Submit your answer here in a 500-600 word essay to win a trip to Abu Dhabi next month, and get hired to cover Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

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