FutureRoom is all about envisioning about what the future will look like. Hans Möller questions whether young people will want big city life in 2030.
As the innovation director at the North East Enterprise Partnership, which works to create better jobs and support economic development, thinking about innovation and change is central to his job. He thinks that the way the youth of 2030 will want to live will change dramatically from that of today's youth.
“Just observe the population growth in big cities the past 20 years, how is it actually affecting people? Why is it happening and will there be a backlash?”, he questions. “This is what we saw in the 60s, when people escaped to the countryside. It will definitely happen again, especially for young people.”
Whilst Möller thinks the youth will share some similarities with the hippie movement, he acknowledges that technology will lift some of the restrictions the movement once faced regarding changing career paths, isolation or a lower quality of life. Technology is rapidly developing people's connections, where people can work and how people work. “I don't think we will even type, we will think and look at the screen and the camera can follow our eye movements, it's already speech recognition”.
“The economy is gradually moving into the digital space” he notes; “If you can be connected in rural areas and have great quality of life and an interesting job through new technology, there is nothing that ties you to the cities. In the 60s you had to change jobs to survive, perhaps this is why it didn't sustain.”
Looking back, you could make the assumption that the hippie movement was forward thinking for its time. They embraced vegetarianism, resource sharing and a love for nature, something Möller also thinks will be even more so important in the future.
Humanity is facing a number of major environmental and social challenges that must be addressed, therefore finding sustainable solutions is essential. Möller explains, “food must change - our society is built on animal farming and we are consuming far too much”. Although he is aware of the challenges ahead, he remains optimistic about solutions, “companies can now create a hamburger that feels and tasted like a burger, but is actually not a burger. You can grow meat on a field, or meat-like food.”
Thinking about what the future may look like is not always a positive or enjoyable experience, but it is crucial to the lives of future generations. Open mindedness and sustainable solutions are two of the things Möller believe to go hand-in-hand with change. “If we make it 50 years into the future, which I hope we do, sustainability will be so obvious to everyone - they will think back at how we did not take it seriously in the 20th century”