In the next 50 years our most populated urban areas may become ‘cultural wastelands’ as our cities evolve with growing populations that are spread out across city types.
Those who are living in Edge Cities will service other city forms, as well as being low paid and having a lack of public services, according to a report produced by City University London.
The report proposes six ‘ideal-type’ cities that aren’t a model for a future but represent what may exist based on the cultural changes that have happened in recent years.
“Cities will be functional dormitories with transport links sponsored by corporate urban interests. Due to low pay, and the low tax base, few ‘public services’ will be provided,” the authors write.
“Moreover, such services would be more expensive to provide in such a dispersed form. Thus, it is also likely that there will be little support for additional taxation to sustain cultural facilities.”
They also say that shopping will have migrated online and in Edge cities and prices in them will be too high for those living there to receive personal deliveries. This would also be reflected in the lack of culture in the cities.
“In cultural terms when compounded with economic and social polarisation, and small government, this will result in what is in many respects a cultural wasteland.”
It was put together looking at the cultural changes that have happened in the last 50 years.
The other types of cities will include the tourist-experience city, the homeland city, the campus city, the business lounge city and the omnivore city.
They said: “We present this as a range of scenarios based upon six ideal-type cities. We do not expect any one of these cities to be the model for the future, but rather that this range will point to the potential parameters for the role of culture in cities.”
This was backed up by the understanding that there are several underpinning factors, which are long-term or slowly changing.
The authors said that these included a population that is ageing, better educated and multi-cultural.
The tourist experience city, they say, will be organised for, and tailored towards, an augmented reality of the city. This could provide an immersive experience that is tailored to the individual visitor.
A homeland city would be one that offers the “security and containment of the past” and be lived in by those who are over 50. “Those under 50 will be restricted from visiting except at weekends and public holidays,” the authors wrote.
Campus cities would be hubs of innovation that have developed from science cities and technological hubs; they involve culture and education for instrumental purposes.
Those who are well off would be able to pay for entry to a business lounge city, where exclusive groups can inhabit around high culture and “the best performances”. The privileged will have more opportunities and be surrounded by the best products.
The omnivore city will house those who are educated but are not in the corporate world, and will be tailored to accommodate a fast changing cosmopolitan culture.