The 'making' revolution: how smart cities and citizens will lead way
The way we make things is constantly changing, but this making revolution is not limited to physical objects; we are bringing the 'maker mindset' to complex challenges facing the human race, writes Jason Tester, Research Director at the Institute for the Future.
Today, he argues, the tools to make literally anything have increasingly become available to anyone. Open source electronics platforms, the rapid progress of 3D printing technology, and community makerspaces with sophisticated industrial tools are rewriting the rules of production to enable anyone to be a maker.
This global culture has a name—the maker movement—and you can see its impact through new publications like Make magazine and the fast growth and global reach of makerspaces and maker meetups like Maker Faire.
But this making revolution is not limited to creating physical objects—stuff. Makers are starting to reimagine the systems that surround the world around them. That is, they are bringing the “maker mindset” to the complex urban challenges of health, education, food, and even citizenship, and this is often rooted in cities.
Like the maker movement, cities will also be one of the most important forces of change in the 21st century, in no small part because most of us now live there. In 2008 the global population crossed over to became more urban than rural, with projections for over 60% of people living in cities by 2030. And cities are getting bigger. By 2025 the UN predicts there will be 37 dense megacities with 10 million or more residents.
Cities are also where we’ll need to solve the next century’s biggest challenges first, like mitigating the initial impacts of climate change, adapting to a world of limited resources, or making sense of an abundance of data from billions of connected devices.
The future of making is changing again, and cities and citizens will lead the way. We hope you’ll join us to make this future together.
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