Use the future to build the present
Socio-economic Models
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

3.2.3Socio-economic Models

By 2050, nearly 70 per cent of the world’s anticipated 10 billion people will live in urban areas.10 That is roughly equivalent to all the people alive today, so the governance of cities must maintain a sharp focus on environmental, social, and economic sustainability as they grow.

To date, much of the progress in the socio-economic domain has focussed on models of financial-market dynamics and the potential for creating “smart cities”. A smart city is an urban area that uses extensive information and communication technologies to collect data from its citizens, buildings, roads and other infrastructure to monitor and optimise the management of a wide range of public services, systems and resources. Increasingly, ‘digital urban twins’ are being developed to model, among others, the effect of climate change on the urban environment and test policies and actions to cool cities.

Modelling citizens’ socioeconomic behaviour, and the evolving nature of the urban areas themselves, will also support initiatives to increase regional self-sufficiency (including in food supply and energy generation), boost the circular economy and optimise local traffic and mobility systems. Smart coordination is increasingly important — and possible — when so many people live in close proximity.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Large city models improve quality of life

Integrated models for places as large as Zurich, Singapore and Manhattan, begin to include simulation of city microclimates, including temperature, humidity and airflow. They allow the anticipation of the effect of architecture, urban design and planning on outdoor thermal comfort, promoting the design of more “liveable”, cooler cities with lower energy needs and reduced carbon impact.

10-yearhorizon

Digital twins of cities allow smart urban re-development

After successful deployment in select locations, digital twins are rolled out more broadly using agile data science and modelling platforms. They are used to plan new developments in rapidly growing cities and for the re-building of existing cities. Machine learning and data science optimise mixed-use city planning, traffic flows, local circular economies and renewable energy production for better quality of life. Smart cities, using digital twin technology, evolve into responsive cities, able to reconfigure their services and resources on the fly to account for the movement of people across the city, local weather conditions, or emergency scenarios.

25-yearhorizon

Simulations alter the way we live

Digital twins become ubiquitous tools for urban and economic planning, expanding from cities to regions, and heading towards modelling the entire built environment. Thanks to foresight enabled through simulations, cities and their hinterland evolve into new types of settlement in which mixed-use renewable energy and food production fulfil about 70 per cent of the local population’s needs. Transportation infrastructures are emission-free, but altered living-working environments and improved work-from-home technology mean that commuting is drastically reduced anyway.

Socio-economic Models - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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