Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 20, 2012 7:20 PM

The City Of The Future

Are you fascinated by humanity?

Great ideas happen when we come together as a group of people. This is why the role of our cities in our society plays such a critical and fascinating role. It's true, that everything good about humanity probably comes out of our cities, and that everything bad about our humanity probably comes out of our cities as well. This concept struck me as being deeply profound when it comes to business and success after I came across the documentary titled, Urbanized (by the same people behind Helvetica and Objectified):

What have we learned after 5000 years together?

We've learned that we have limited resources and unlimited resources. As more and more people move to cities, we are putting an increasing amount of strain on our planet to sustain us and our growth, but the only solution to this problem comes from that amazing moment in time that we can meet face to face and work on our challenges in the hopes of overcoming them. The movie Urbanized moved me because it made me realize how much love the urban lifestyle. Yes, I'm an urbanite. I prefer a shopping mall to a beach and I prefer a air conditioning to a tent out in a national park. You can make fun of that as much as you want in the comment section below, but I spend my time marveling at the many things we - as a human species - have created. My first viewing of Urbanized happened while I was flying to this past year's TED conference, so imagine my surprise to see that the TED Prize for this year was awarded to  The City 2.0.

What will the city of the future looks like?

I am fascinated with this question. As a Digital Marketing agency, our future success is dependant on our ability to understand new technology and media and how it connects with people. The truth is that we cannot have a strong business without a strong community. On top of that, our world is changing at a rapid pace and these digital environments (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc...) are all cities and communities unto themselves where new social contracts and values are being built and shared by the people who populate it. The digitization of business also affects our cities in powerful ways that we have yet to even absorb. Editor & Publisher published a news item today titled, Google Pays $52 Million For Abandoned Paper Mill. That's what happened in Hamina, Finland back in 2009 and by 2010, the seawater was helping to cool down the many data servers that Google houses there. What we now have to think about is this: do we have the right people to fill these jobs, where does education fit into our urbanized evolution and how prepared are we for the future of life in these cities? Big, massive questions and challenges. A recent episode of Charlie Rose featured a discussion with the Mayors of Chicago, Louisville, Baltimore and Jacksonville. It's worth the twenty minutes of your time to watch, and please pay close attention to the comments about Google's Eric Schmidt about how Google gets the best results from its people (hint: it's when they're collaborating in close proximity and face-to-face). Cumulatively, I've become somewhat infatuated with this notion of the city and how our lives continue to evolve. I'm hopeful that this content gets you thinking differently both about your own city and the global connectedness of our online lives...

By Mitch Joel


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