Quadrant: accelerated growth of population, slow advances in technology
Hi I’m Lisa, Director of the design firm Next. Isn’t 2030 shaping up to be a good year!? As seen in recent years, the population has seen yet another huge increase in growth. The Research and Development Team have new figures showing Australia’s population today sitting at approximately 35 million!! Isn’t that a crazy figure, compared to the 25million that was projected a decade ago? But a lot has changed since 2020, I mean we started seeing changes long before then in the year 2010 when the world started running out of natural resources and then a few years later this depletion started to have an affect and slow down the rate of growth in technological advancements.
In the past decade and a half we have seen incremental technological growth, so many people have lost faith in technology and are no longer excited because they have not seen any new technologies, products or services that have made much of a difference to their lives. This had a major impact on the economy, many businesses had to shut down because they no longer had the resources to keep operations going or their products and services became redundant in the new economy. When the cost of petrol sky rocketed, people stopped driving cars altogether and the car industry just plummeted. There were however positive aspects especially for the environment. We started to see a shift in the market where people were more ecologically minded and conscious of environmental factors and their well being when it came to making consumer decisions. The price factor or the consumer driven by price no longer comprised the majority of the market and the altruist consumer emerged and started to take over!
This is where firms like Next were able to successfully enter into the industry to help business take on challenges to adapt to this new environment and rekindle the relationship between people and technology whilst still keeping in mind the new concept of the altruist consumer.
Next is an interdisciplinary design collective which design concepts and experiences that use the technology and available resources in a sustainable way to help connect businesses with their market, and essentially build a strong and meaningful relationship with their consumers. With so many people in the world today, who are all developing an eagerness to support the natural environment and less interested in the ordinary technology advancements, businesses must take on board this new type of market and recognise that there is a definite opportunity to bring technology back to the forefront of design by easing it back into people’s lives in a meaningful way.
A recent and major project developed by my team and running smoothly is the sky bridges development. To cater for overpopulation the city had to restructure itself by constructing enormous buildings that were around 900metres tall. This however did not solve the congestion problem as people were still finding the streets to be overcrowded and difficult to navigate due to the immense capacity of users. Next was able to work alongside the construction company Gledhill to produce footbridges that connected the buildings together, so that people could travel from one suburb to another easily without having to go all the way to the ground floor. So these sky bridges created new pedestrian zones and relieved some of the congestion but more importantly it also became a product, which highlighted the benefits of sustainable technology in design. They are made up of translucent solar panels, that is energy efficient but also extremely beautiful to look at especially from the streets below. This is only one example of the many design solutions that we at Next have successfully implemented to address the fact that there are more people in the world, but we can still excite them even without new technologies if we have the right motivation and that is to create meaningful designs!