On June 4, 2009, the Planning Group of HOK, the design firm, distributed an email that, among other things, listed ten forces that HOK and its consultants at Magellan Consulting believe will change our world between 2009 and 2050. The forces they identified are:
Ten Forces Changing Our World:
Global Demography and the Population Race: To say that the global landscape is changing is a seismic understatement. The world’s population is projected to reach approximately 9.2 billion people by 2050, with nearly 60 percent of the new growth coming from India, China and Sub-Saharan Africa. Where will we house our future generations? How will we feed them, educate them, move them from one place to another? Where will we find the resources to sustain them?
Geopolitics and the New Leaders of the Free World: Meet the new kids on the block – Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Appropriately referred to as “the BRICs,” these four countries will become the foundational building blocks upon which future world economies and foreign policy initiatives will be constructed. How will the emerging economic and political superpowers of today perform on the geopolitical stage of tomorrow? Will the world achieve a truly open society?
Social Change in the Millennial Generation: The Millennial Generation is the newest population of the global corporate culture with a unique set of values. Will the rest of the world embrace their same ideals, or will social friction be the catalyst for future global crises? How will education change to accommodate for an unprecedented rate of new information being generated each year?
Life on the City Planet: The Earth has become a “City Planet” with more than 50 percent of the world’s population now living in cities. What are the key drivers of this change? Can our current urban infrastructure support the nearly 70 million more that migrate to the cities each year?
Finding the Energy to Sustain Humanity: As a planet, we are addicted to fossil fuels, relying on them for every aspect of modern life. Can we make the alternative energy transition quickly and effectively without sparking global conflict? What energy sources will help us achieve oil independence?
It’s Not Easy Being Green: As scientists agree that human activities contribute to global warming, how will the environment react to centuries of abuse? Some say it’s too late to mitigate the effects of the impending climate change on global resources. Is it possible to achieve a truly sustainable environment?
When the World Runs Out of Water: As populations surge and global warming heats up the planet, future generations will face an impending shortage of natural resources critical. How can we maintain our fresh water and food supplies when more cultures are adopting Westernized consumption patterns?