2015: Unemployment in many European coun- tries and in the USA remains high due to the ef- fects of austerity measures on public budgets, and because of a hesitant mood in the busi- ness world, an ageing pool of consumers and a continuing decline in manufacturing jobs.
2017: The high price of energy and other natural resources affects house- hold budgets with prices of food, mobility and electricity soaring.
I get most of my daily gro- ceries through urban farm- ing pools that exist around the city. Some of the food I receive directly from our neighbour- hood garden. I only buy from super- markets what I cannot get easily get through these channels..
Together with my family, I par- ticipate in huge demonstrations to support energy efficient policies and protest against the inability of
government to provide people with a decent liveli- hood in this era of expensive oil.
2018: GDP is replaced with more adequate indicators for tracking social development and progress in sustainability. Health, happi- ness and an individual’s ecological footprint are among the aspects measured.
2020: Due to high unemploy- ment and rising prices, people have time to start experiment- ing with local production of energy and food.
2021: New models of local collaboration emerge around energy and food safety.
2022: The financial markets face severe crisis. Several big banks collapse as a result of the bankruptcies of big companies, the bubble in energy markets, turmoil in real estate markets, uncontrolled risk-taking and perverse incentives for managers and CEOs working in hedge funds.
2024: Governments are unable to help banks out of insolvency. Stock markets are closed and re-opened again, several times. Governments fail to create poli- cies that would help the markets out of the crisis.
2026: In many countries governments resign and it turns out to be impossible to form new coalitions, which paralyzes national politics and public investments.
2028: The absence of dynamic global markets results in extreme energy and food scarcity. People rely on their imme- diate circle to guarantee access to food and other basic commodities. Products are used as efficiently as possible.
At any given time, I’m part of at least five different co-operatives that are involved in hobbies, food and elderly care – all of the necessities of life are provided for by making communities resilient. The rapid decline of public welfare has forced peo- ple to start looking after themselves.
2035: Towns and regional councils in different countries resize their power to compensate for the dysfunction- ality of national governments and global markets.
2038: Solutions of emerging cities, towns and regions focus on creating a new kind of local economy and new type of shared power between the public sector, companies and individuals.
Each neighbourhood’s average level of hap- piness is something I follow closely when I’m looking to change apart- ments. The index allows me to spot the happiest areas to live in – I want to know about more than the material offerings of the area.
As most of my time is spent working and collaborating in very social settings, I spend my holidays go- ing somewhere where I can be by myself in silence and reflect on past experiences and feelings.
2040: The United Nations is practically transformed into United Cities, Towns and Regions as the significance of the nation state diminishes. A new Global Trade Council is formed through which micronations manage trade and commerce.
Today is the final match of the World Cup for Cities where football clubs com- pete in this most prestigious of tournaments, held every four years.
2040: Political participation takes place at the local level and new methods of direct decision- making are introduced.
In my neighbourhood, there’s a neighbour resourc- es’ management system so that everyone can share necessary tasks and appli- ances efficiently.
2015: A new television show format, “The Altruist”, turns out to be a huge success all over the world. The concept is created in the Netherlands, but within couple of years it spreads across Europe and becomes localized. Con- trary to the hundreds of competitive TV-show formats of the past 50 years, the show celebrates empathy and the capacity for collaboration. For many, this symbolizes a turning point in prevailing thinking about human nature.
2018: People’s interest in studying examples and experimental projects around the “science of empathy and compas- sion” grows rapidly.
2020: Applications of the Sci- ence of Empathy have had a significant supportive impact on such fields as collaborative consumption and the organisa- tion of work.
I do most of my work at hub- like office spaces that exist everywhere. I like these collab- oration spaces as I find them stimulating. They spur on new innovations as I meet more and more new people.
I frequently use public transport that is ac- cessible on demand from the countryside to the city. Small buses make it effortless to travel within villages. There are also lots of modular micro-trams that provide efficient mobility.
2027: Given the high and persistent unemployment, many local communities have adopted new practices for peer-to-peer networking based on the latest understanding of people’s capability for empathy and collaboration. The shift from ownership to access is fostered. This means more and more products are shared and consumption is very needs-based.
2030: While lack of both public and private money in R&D slows down the dissemination of new innova- tions, applications of the ‘technology of empathy’ seem to be an exception and they pick up pace in comparison to other fields.
Every day I actively offer my tools for other people to share. This means that when I have a vacuum
cleaner, my community can use it as well.
2034: The biggest technological boom since the ar- rival of the internet and mobile phones is created as new applications are developed at local and global level. These include many things from neural scan- ners that help to detect when you are feeling empathy to network tools that reflect how other people are feeling andw training courses in reinforcing the ben- efits of compassionate actions within groups.
Here in Croatia spontaneous neighbourhood dancing ses- sions are a sign of trust and healthy community.
2038: A group of initiators that allocate local resources emerges. They set up experiments on ways to take of care of local resources through new types of long-term planning of e.g. rare minerals.
2040: The generation of people who have grown up within the empathy paradigm gain permanent positions in politics, companies and communities.
I use a new service that provides efficient intra- city product logistics through a network of bicycles that deliver products wher- ever and whenever.
2041: Several micronations have adopted new decision-making processes assisted by Tech- nology of Empathy tools. These tools make it possible to engage citizens at new levels, and they help in creating consensus on many far-reaching issues that in the previous era of party politics became locked in stalemate.
2043: The new generation that now dominates the work life has greater experience working collaboratively than ever before. These people understand that brains also need some time off.
2045: The notion of leisure time changes. People seek ‘reflection time’, time when they are free from information flows and social roles. Addressing this need for ‘reflection time’ requires special services, because the majority of people live in such close neighbourhoods.
2047: People spend time that would previously have been called ‘vacations’ in solitude in cabins located in the midst of nature.
2015: The organization of work changes due to long recession and high unemployment. More and more people start to work outside of tradi- tional companies.
2018: People in many regions are stimulated to find new ways to secure income, built on mutual help and af- fordable access to basic resources such as energy and food. The result is a new boom in cooperatives that em- ploy people and help them to create local versions of sustainable lifestyles.
At school, kids want to do their homework and even exams together with other kids. This is because the hugely popular TV series The Altruist is running in its fifth year and is being copied in schools.
2028: Visionary politicians, entrepreneurs and civic leaders gather and unite local (human, ma- terial and financial) resources to reform existing infrastructure and service provision to match the new political reality.
Health is of the highest importance in local ad- ministration and in every municipality here in the Netherlands, as it is in all other European countries.
At election time, I support acts, like a lowert tax on local food, not a person or a party. This leads to a more participatory political system, as elected pol- iticians are no longer the key.
2037: One of the most successful methods of PPP has been the formation of neighbourhood cooperatives. These structures were kickstarted with the help of municipalities and PPP voluntary groups that went to advise neighbourhoods on how to organize peer-to-peer services, start their own energy and food production, gather resources for infrastructure alterations and how to form sus- tainable models for collaboration.
Some of my friends are educated to help the elderly. They’re the most respected individuals among my friends.
I’m pursuing an option to attend a program that allows me to move into a better functioning neigh- bourhood. I know I have to work hard there, but I really appreciate that more prestigious commu- nities arrange these type of PPP possibilities.
2040: One million European cooperatives agree on open source standards for their technologies and ways of organizing. The standards require mutual help from cooperatives in teaching the best possible methods. The history of the new agree- ment goes back to open source entrepreneurs from the Nordic countries in the early 2000. These entrepreneurs argued that everybody would have something to offer for the society if only they were provided with the access to the data.
There’s a monthly preventative health circle in my com-
munity. We discuss topics such as nutrition, diets and sleep cycles. These health circles are very popular.
2016: A large public stimulus package is announced in support of develop- ing urban habitats. It is aimed at improving public space, basic transporta- tion and energy infrastructure, especially in neighbourhoods built in the second half of the 20th century. The rationale behind it is to enable the creation of local service economies through the creation of more attractive public spaces and employing people to do construction work.
Here in Nijmegen children grow up participating in communal activities from a young age as part of the local social environment. Learning by doing is empha- sised.
Micro-producers of food are organised in co-ops that allow them to trade food on a very local basis. These networks become hugely popular in everyday life.
2025: A new Europe-wide network of “villages in towns” is estab- lished. Members of the network establish urban farming coopera- tives in their neighbourhoods and start negotiating with municipali- ties, real-estate owners and inhab- itants for access to under-used land for farming purposes.
2028: “Villages in towns” start to develop local nutri- tion cycles through collecting organic waste and helping inhabitants build their own dry-toilets. The idea of town villages spreads fast and soon shapes the geography of many European towns and cities.
I am really looking forward to the BBQ night next week. I like it when co-housing communities decide to cook and eat together on a regular basis. This builds community
My monthly output of soil is enough to support my own farming needs. I get my soil through my super-efficient dry toilet and compost.
I share a 140m2 apartment with my parents, my friend Chris- tina and her parents and my mother’s long-time friend Jan. 20 years ago the same apart- ment was home to an elderly couple. Apparently their design for using the space wasn’t as clever as ours. My parents built me my own room last month. It took us one weekend.
2030: The most successful modifi- cations of the new Public-Private- People-model (PPP) gain plenty of attention at a time when most of the regions of Europe are hampered by rocketing energy and food prices and occasional shortages.
2035: In many cities and towns local PPP-councils have fo- cused their efforts on establishing accessible public spaces for every neighbourhood and village.
Unfortunately we had a series of conflicts between different neighbourhoods here in Madrid, over how to share land that was freed up from car use.
2037: Funds are collected from individuals, local enter- prises and municipalities to form plazas, inner court- yards, meeting spaces and neighbourhood assembly halls where people can join their neighbours, start plan- ning for local energy and food production, and learn how to form timebanks, peer-to-peer services and other types of sharing systems. Reorganising public space also helps reduce the need for individual space.
Former council blocks oper- ate like self-sufficient villages. Parking lots have been turned into agricultural fields, new infill provides modern, well- designed flats and new types of communal space.
2040: ‘Sharing the village’, a collaboratively created manual on planning local energy, food production and smart sharing of neigh- bourhood indoor and outdoor spaces, gains immense popularity all over Europe.
I’ve heard that they just started to slash and burn land to create better farming possi- bilities here in Finland. That’s an old and local tradition, but it’s now done by applying new technology.
People who are ill can quarantine themselves from their wider community in flu hostels, thus reducing their impact on community’s resources.
2044: Most of the villages in Europe have trained one or two of their inhabitants to be their “sharing architects”. They take care of developing a village’s buildings and spaces to serve the needs of the new era.
My grandparents are still active members of society and their efforts in taking care of community well- being are very much valued. They take care of children in the street park outside our building.