The Benefits of Urbanates
“One might even think of an urbanate as more of a resort that you and everyone you know lives at!”
Exactly how urbanates will be designed will, like everything else in Technocracy's plans, have to be determined at the time of implementation, given the resources available at the time as well as the needs of the population.
However, we can, based on Technocracy's research, and what we know of today's technology, speculate on the types of things that will be possible only in an urbanate.
First of all, urbanates would be far more space efficient. Roads for automobiles will no longer be necessary as short distances and public transportation would easily fulfill all the transportation needs of the population. This transportation would also take up far less fuel, materials, and operators than currently is required. This does not mean that people would be able to travel less, but rather that with increased incomes, and much lower transportation costs, visiting your friends or relatives on the other side of the urbanate would be little more concern than using a phone to call them.
Of course all of this extra space could be devoted to the needs and desires of the citizens, such as hospitals, schools, recreation areas, large living areas, and natural parklands. In sharp contrast to today's cities, which are crowded places with buildings scattered randomly about, roads and cars everywhere, and the odd park or tree a rarity, it would be easy to see why people would have little problem moving to the new urbanates once their construction is complete.
Life in an urbanate would be easier as well. Let's take shopping, for instance. Today, we each have to travel quite some distance to many different locations to find all our needs. Even worse is the fact that one type of product, or even the same one will often be different prices at different stores! In an urbanate, a citizen would first have the option of either going directly to the distribution center, or accessing electronic catalogues at home. Going to the distribution center would only require a short walk -- either indoors or through beautiful parklands -- or perhaps taking the built-in transportation, which would likely resemble something between a subway system and elevator. After the short journey, you would then be able to view examples of the item that you are interested in. Demonstrations of devices could easily be arranged, or clothing could be examined and even tried on much like today. The only difference being that the cost of all items would be low all the time, thus making budgeting no longer a worry, and that all items you could want would be located at the same location, thus no longer requiring extensive and frustrating “comparison shopping.” At home, the viewing of electronic catalogues would not be much different from the online shopping that is becoming popular today. Along with the aforementioned differences, there would also be the benefit of being able to utilize the latest technologies in doing so, thus allowing such options as animated demonstrations and remote custom tailoring. Once purchased, the item could then be either picked up, or delivered in the most efficient and convenient manner, usually within only a few minutes to a few hours. It is not implausible that small items such as mail and small packages could be delivered using an automated conveyance system, not unlike a high-speed dumb-waiter, right to your home. Even your groceries could be delivered this way, as could hot meals of all varieties, making home cooking a personal preference or hobby, rather than a necessity.
Due to the urbanate's small size and convenient transportation system, all destinations could be accessed quickly and easily. No longer would you need to care for a vehicle, or find parking spaces, get caught in traffic jams, etc. Instead, you could get to your place of work, school, or recreation within a matter of minutes. As to what forms of recreational centers that would be available is completely up to the desires of the population, such as sports arenas, dance clubs, amusement parks, natural parks and arboretums, zoos, movie and stage theatres, fitness areas, and nearly anything else that you can think of. This ease of transportation would undoubtedly change the way we live, allowing people to spend much more time enjoying their destinations, rather than wasting time getting to them. Visiting your family and friends at their homes or meeting them at a local recreation spot could be done frequently as well. Indeed, one might even think of an urbanate as more of a resort that you and everyone you know lives at.
What types of living spaces would be used cannot be determined until a design is underway, whether it be houses, apartment-like dwellings, or somewhere in between (such as townhouses or condominiums). What is known is that living space would be allocated according to need. For example, families would require more space than individuals. These dwellings, regardless of their exterior design, could conceivably be built with a modular layout; that is, the arrangement and spacing of rooms could be customized according to personal needs and tastes. For instance you could have a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartment, each room becoming smaller as more are added, or instead have a single, large, “studio”-type of space. Indeed, if it is not possible already, it would be quite soon that these living spaces could even be reconfigured by the person living there themselves, in much the same manner as one would rearrange their furniture today.
After all is said and done, however, all homes would have certain attributes. These would include, but not be limited to, being fire-proof, sound proof, pest proof, and otherwise difficult to damage. The climate in each room would be reactive as well as adjustable for both temperature and humidity. Furniture and other floor coverings would be stain resistant, and supportive to walking. Appliances as well as furniture would also be made easy to move when desired, but difficult to upset once in place, until it was decided to be moved again.
There has been much talk of “convergence” the past few years, which refers to the combining of various electronic devices, such as your television and home computer, into a single, integrated device. Such things would be very likely in a Technate as well. Each unit would be equipped with a central processing and memory unit that could be easily accessed for maintenance and upgrading, but otherwise unobtrusive. This computer would be networked with a central urbanate hub, which would provide many services that you could need, including entertainment storage and Internet access. Through a series of standardized outlets throughout the living space you could connect any combination of input or output device for your purposes. For viewing movies and serial programs, a large monitor with a built in wireless control would be connected to the central computer which would then “download” whatever you wish to see. Movies and serial programs, as well as music, could be loaded as soon as they were available from the central urbanate hub (a series could be ready the same time every week or day, just like today), but also available anytime afterwords, in case you missed it. Thus these programs would not be “broadcast” in our conventional sense. Taped movies and music CDs would not be required (although recording devices would be available) since you would have ready access to all music and other entertainment at any time. This would save a massive amount of duplicated waste that is performed currently with our outmoded concepts of property. Other types of media output devices could be used for music, or electronic artwork (imagine a special screen, on your wall and only a centimeter thick, that displayed moving images much like today's screen savers; or a fishbowl with electronic fish inside, even little sharks or fantasy animals!). Combinations of input and output devices would allow home computer use (like todays PCs) as well as any variety of communications, including voice, text, or visual. They could also be placed in any room you wished, and in any variety. The central computer would be quite powerful and capable of multiprocessing, thus any number of people could use it for different or similar purposes at the same time whenever they wished. Portable units could easily be designed as well to allow mobile communications, just like today's cordless phones, or wireless keyboards.
Other devices could be attached to this central computer as well, such as lights, or appliances. Any level of automation could then be programmed into the computer. An example might be to turn on the coffee machine 5 minutes before your alarm wakes you up, and then have the shower turn on 15 minutes after that in order to warm up the bathroom floor before you go to have a shower. Lights could be turned on and off according to the presence of someone in the room, if desired, and the computer could easily be voice activated and be given these commands from any room. In fact, it would not take much better technology than we have today before computers would be able to learn to anticipate your needs after a period of time. This could create a relationship between a home and those that dwell within it.
And of course there are the larger benefits to society as well. Pollution would be non-existent, due to the much higher efficiency of transportation, production, and distribution. Energy and material costs would similarly be significantly lowered. Communication choices would be extensive, from personal contact devices (like today's cell phones) to Internet access. The drain on natural resources would be so low as to allow preservation of all types of natural areas and wildlife. Social tension due to overcrowding such as violence and other crimes would also see a vast reduction. In short, most of the problems associated with today's (and even yesterday's) cities would be practically non-existent!
Again I would like to stress that these are merely speculations. It may be decided that some of what I have mentioned would be undesirable, either to the public, or for industrial or environmental reasons. Whatever type of living environment does result in the final design for a urbanate, you can rest assured that every modern convenience possible will be placed at your disposal in one form or another. These are just some examples of the wonderful things that await us after installing a Technocratic society, a Technate. It would be worth your while to study Technocracy in greater depth to see exactly how such a wonderful form of living area can be possible for everyone, because it is, but only with Technocracy!
For more speculation on the many possibilities that the concept of urbanates provides, contact your local Technocrats!