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Futurist Friday: A Dark View of the Next Urbanism

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
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Military people are professional pessimists. Which I guess is a good thing, since we want them to be prepared for the worst.  Back in the 1950s, Herman Kahn (often cited as the father of scenario planning) helped the US envision potential futures in the event of nuclear war.

But while the Cold War focused on threats posed by national nuclear arsenals, 21st century aggression may play out as urban warfare in “megacities” home to over ten million people each. There are already 35 megacities in existence, lead by Tokyo (population 38.8 million). The UN has predicted there will be forty one by 2030, and the US military is preparing for conflicts that play out in their crowded streets. 

Your Futurist Friday assignment, watch this brief (5 min) video outlining the Pentagon’s dystopic vision of hyper-urban life. This scenario outlines challenges that will face cultural organizations as well. How will museums, libraries and our kin help ease the challenges foreseen for megacities: slums, crime, homelessness, overcrowding, inequality, pollution and resource scarcity?

(Pentagon Video Warns of “Unavoidable” Dystopian Future for World’s Biggest Cities from The Intercept on Vimeo.)

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  1. Not sure what this has to do with museums or AAM's mission. Also, FYI, there's a fairly ugly and intolerant comment attached to the video.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Marc. A major role of the Center for the Future of Museums at the Alliance is to help museums understand the forces shaping society, and their communities. The future of war and terrorism will have a tremendous impact on the lives of the people we serve. Yes, there is an ugly comment on the video–any site that does not filter comments is subject to trolls. I recommend that if readers choose to dive into the comment section of articles, videos (or blog posts) they be prepared to encounter hate speech. An unfortunate truth of our online world

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