The crash of 2008 ended the construction bonanza that began at the turn of the century. Projects were still being completed in 2010 and new ones were starting, but the pace at which building was slowed significantly. Layoffs in the construction industry were expected to remain as the industry returned to a more historical normal for new building permits. While the industry was suffering with restructuring, no one noticed the restructuring was really becoming a reawaking. The industry took hold of the green movement with vengeance. LEED certification, green space, and renewable energy became the status quo for buildings in 2013.
The economy that looked like it was going to sputter to halt got a shot in the arm from investment in green technology. Governments invested in renewable energy, ethanol; biodiesel, and biomass received tax incentives and consumers acted quickly to accept the handout. Companies also began to respond to the green movement by using green as a marketing tool. Consumers were demanding companies reduce their carbon foot print and practice social responsibility.
Natural disaster continued to occur and the rate at which they occurred increased. Flooding, earthquakes, and storms had displaced 20 million people. These climate refugees migrated to cities to seek refuge. Citizens and communities generously gave of their talents and resources to ease their suffering.
In 2014 the green movement was in full force and city dwellers began to demand a greener lifestyle. The city was full of noise, pollution, traffic, and processed food. People demanded, organic food, clean air, and foot traffic. Therefore, they began to migrate from the city to more rural areas. Vacancy in city buildings increased and the lifeblood of the city, its residents, slowly drained.
Migration of city dwellers to the country caused a demand for an increase in bandwidth as jobs were being outsourced from downtown office buildings to rural areas. Yet, even with an increase in ICT no one imaged that in 2017 cloud computing would become a reality. The cloud finally became essential for business to reduce costs and stay competitive. The cloud allowed for more workers to have a remote office and corporate headquarters will slowly becoming a deserted island.
The migration to green pastures continued as consumers sought to leave the grid, eat organic food, and live in zero emission communities. Green communities began to emerge! These communities resembled the retirement communities of the 90’s. The communities were planned around a central hub which instead of a golf course and clubhouse became was an urban farm and green space. Each member of the community pitched in to maintain the garden and all the goods were shared with each member based on a predetermined arrangement. Traffic within the community was restricted to foot traffic and electric golf carts. Thus, each community was a zero emission cluster or residency.
In 2018, governments realized that the green community was here to stay and began investing in infrastructure to connect clusters together. Communities became linked by light rail and other efficient mass transit systems and with walking paths. Each cluster became green certified by the government planning commission, which took a 360-degree approach to green standards. Resources were required to efficiently, energy derived from natural sources, and food items must be grown with limited use of pesticides. People rarely left the green village because the cluster contained both industry and leisure activities and schools for the children.
The city center remained the home of government functions and the residence of corporate headquarters. However, the hustle and bustle of the city was reduced significantly be the migration of work from the city to the suburbs.
Natural disaster still occurred during but the frequency was beginning to slow. The CO2 in the atmosphere, though still above the threshold of 390 ppm had come down by 375 ppm since 2015. Refugees were still seen in many major urban areas, but some had repatriated.
The economy experience stable growth as investment in green technology and green building provided a heat beat for financial markets. Investors returned from the sidelines to spur growth in the technology sector.
The economy gained more traction as the rural building bonanza continued. Energy efficient consumer products were in high demand and green technology fueled economic growth. Solar power created demand for panels, batteries, and converts. Power utilities were investing heavily in wind energy, nuclear power, and biomass power plants. The race to zero emissions was powering an era of economic growth not seen for two decades. Markets were rising, jobs were plentiful, and the outlook was bright.
Mother Nature was still wrecking havoc on occasion, but the plentiful coffers of corporations provided aid to those affect as companies used aid disbursements as an opportunity to create positive PR. The number of climate refugees fell from 20 million in 2010 to just over 9 million in 2023.
Vital administrative functions remained in the city center, but most industrial and financial industries continued the migration started in 2014. City infrastructure was in poor condition as investment was made in green clusters and not in maintaining city systems and buildings. The buildings became an empty façade of days gone by. Clubs, bars, and other social meeting places left the city as patrons were no long frequenting the city. The absence of economic life left the city center empty, slow, and peaceful. Yet, few were around to enjoy the peace and quiet.
1.Personal Rapid Transit http://www.personalrapidtransit.com/
2.Randstad Holland 2040 http://international.vrom.nl/pagina.html?id=37398
3.Australia South Africa Local Governance Partnership http://devplan.kzntl.gov.za/ASALGP/Resources/Documents/ASALGPhandbooks/1-what-is-public-participation.htm
4. Bike Path Picture. Retrieved on August 24, 2010 from http://wirednewyork.com/guide/biking/
5. Urban Farming Picture. Retrieved on August 23, 2010 from http://www.azuremagazine.com/magazine/features.php?id=1917
6. Green City Clusters Picture. Retrieved on August 23, 2010 from http://sustainbydesign.wordpress.com/