With the stark futures predicted by Elliot and Urry in the conclusion to the book ‘Mobile Lives’, an escape to the Bronze Age Hollingbury Hill fort situated above Brighton could be a possibility in the distant future. According to the future evaluations set out by them it could perhaps be either within a sustainable community, where the inhabitants will be living locally off the land ( Elliot, A & Urry, J 2010, pg 142), or a dystopian future of war lords barricading themselves into a gated and guarded community, protecting themselves from rising sea levels (Elliot, A & Urry, 2010, Pg 144).
Either way with the development of our carbon dependent mobile lifestyle, climate change and the decline of cheap energy means that there are very stark possibilities in terms of how our societies will operate in this very uncertain world.
A more optimistic and (hopefully) realistic future vision from Eliot & Urry is that our societies will develop around smart technology, helping us to shape our lives through sensors to help facilitate more sustainable, low carbon lifestyles (Elliot, A & Urry, J 2010, Pg 147-48).
Small, cheap sensors are integral elements that connect us to utilising digital devices, and it is these sensors that are integral for the community to work together and create their own data. Citi- Sense is one of the initiatives at HackAir which facilitates projects that are working on participatory approaches to improving air quality globally. The UN’s division for sustainable development states that ‘allowing people to broadly engage in development policy making’ https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/about is an important element in the creating of a sustainable future, and an initiative such as Citi-Sense fits this framework. The premise is that the environment is analysed by both the data collected through the sensor and by the more subjective filling in of a questionnaire. The data is then analysed in a workshop and discussed at a community level.
To avoid some of the dystopian visions explored in ‘Mobile Lives’, we will need to adopt this smart, sustainable approach to the development of our communities, if not we may find ourselves following the other more bleak outcomes that were outlined in the book.
Citi-Sense video available at; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgDO3z9B3Kc
UN (n.d.) What is Sustainability?,http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/sustainability.shtml