Insight on Urban Tomorrows
Expert Survey on Futures of Liveable Cities
This paper presents the results of an international survey on futures of liveable cities, conducted by Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC), University of Turku, and the Helsinki Node of the Millennium Project. The results from this expert survey feed insights to the ENCORE research project (2015–2016), with an aim to contribute to a successful and pro-active urban governance.
Seven futures-oriented urban development experts, mainly from different Millennium Project nodes, answered the questionnaire. The responses are presented in four intertwining themes, in which they were clustered during the analysis: 1) liveable urban environment, 2) smart city, 3) participation, and 4) governance.
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Bitcoin and the surprising “disturbance in the force” that will upend our financial systems
by Futurist Thomas Frey
In 1984, Congressman Jack Kemp introduced the “Gold Standard Act of 1984.” At the time, many people found it inconceivable to have anything more stable than gold to serve as the basis for our economy.
32 years later, gold is losing its luster, and the emerging new kid on the block, Bitcoin, would have seemed like science fiction back in 1984.
Today, we are seeing clear signs that Bitcoin is replacing gold as the safe haven currency of choice for key investors in countries all over the world.
When surprises happen, people buy Bitcoin.
In Venezuela where hyperinflation is causing the bolivar to spiral out of control, the smart money has moved to Bitcoin.
When Greece threatened to leave the European Union in 2015, investors surged into the digital currency.
The same thing happened with the Brexit vote in the European Union, and when Donald Trump defied polls to win the U.S. presidential election. Recent economic surprises in China, India and Philippines that threatened to destabilize those countries’ paper currencies sparked an interest in the digital alternative as well.
In China, Bitcoin use is skyrocketing. Much of the time Bitcoin use is tied to a sense of desperation, and this desperation-driven demand is what’s forcing the value of Bitcoin higher. Over time, its value will be driven more by its usability because a digital global currency is infinitely more usable than cash, gold, diamonds, and even digital national currencies.
Ironically, I’ve often said that for Bitcoin to become widely accepted around the world it would have to learn how to play well with national currencies. Instead, the tables are starting to turn and national currencies are beginning to realize that they have to play well with Bitcoin.
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Peering into a murky crystal ball; where will Africa be in 2030?
To build a better future, Africa will have to drive its own development agenda.
Africa will miss most of the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030. But it might just reach ‘escape velocity’ enabling it to break out of its extreme poverty orbit by 2045 or 2050.
This is the sense of experts who participated in a seminar on Africa’s future at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria recently.
‘Almost no Sustainable Development Goals will be met without truly revolutionary improvements in governance and the way services are delivered,’ said ISS chairperson Jakkie Cilliers, who also heads the institute’s African Futures and Innovation programme. Even in an optimistic ‘Africa Rising’ scenario projected by the ISS, most African countries would not meet the 17 SDGs.
The principle SDG is to eliminate poverty. But extreme poverty (quantified as living on US$1.90 per person, per day or less) was unlikely to be eliminated by the 2030 SDG target date in any plausible scenario, Cilliers said.
Over 37% of Africans now live in extreme poverty.
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