ENERGY IS URBANIZATION
All the scenarios for the 21st century predicts a continuous increase of the urbanisation development. All these predictions lack the input of several new wild cards. The first is PeakX. Our current view on cities is that space is almost the main deficit of it. This will change severely. Our view on cities will change 180 degrees, from concentration of supply to concentrations of demand. Cities are concepts based on cheap and abundant available energy and resources. These times are over. This will effect further city economics. Cities will become expensive places, by this the attractiveness of cities will decline. City populations will be severe lower than today and by this space will be available in abundance. In many facets the 21st century is a mirror of the 20th century. The second facet is the current development in IT. In the past the cities were the centres of knowledge and attracted knowledge based businesses. By the Internet this driver of urbanisation is over. In the past cities were the centres of trade and attracted by this all type of companies (from trade, to resources, to production, to transport). By the Internet trade has gone digital and doesn't need the city as geographical location any more. In the past cities were the hubs of transport. But the driver of the hub based transport model was mainly a shortage of demand. These days are over. Hubs in transport are an outdated concept. One other battle lost for the cities. Everything is economics. When the cities become too expensive, too crowded and too unsafe , they lose a lot of their natural attraction. Cities has a cultural abundance, the possibility to start all over again in anonymity, these advantages cities will keep always. Culture will become the only USP of urbanisation. Demand concentration delivers more market for more diversity, plus cities will still be the physical windows of a nation to the world. Foreigners, tourists, foreign companies always will prefer the cities of a nation. But all the other competitive advantages (beside the cultural one) the cities will lose. The 21st century will not be the age of urbanization, but the age of suburbanization. Rural life will be much more cheaper than urban life. Rural production always have been much more cheaper than urban production (the main driver behind secondary cities growth). The very much quotes American culture critic James Howard Kunstler has made many remarkable visions on city and suburb development in his book 'The Geography of Nowhere'. He plead for liveable city design. In his view the skyscrapers will be the first casualty of de decline of the mega cities. One thing is sure: tenants will be offered space for severe lower prices than it is today. This will of course (by economics) compensate the attraction of the cities somewhat. Mega cities are designed without any knowledge on PeakEnergy, PeakWater, PeakCredit, PeakTransport and PeakGlobalization. In the East and South cities will less decline than in the West, but also in the East and South reaches urbanization very soon its peak. Energy is Urbanization is for sure not a very valid statement.
Author: Gijs Graafland
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