Imagine walking in a forest barefeet across the soft moss. You hear birds singing, and you see a squirrel hopping across the branches of a tree. When you reach the edge of the forest you see a giant skyscraper appearing right in front of you. But it’s not a normal skyscraper, no. You’re still in nature. It’s a complete natural skyscraper. It has a shape of a weird fungi-like pillar, covered in giant moss with a small swimming pool puddle on top.
You look around and see buildings without any straight lines or 90 degree angles. No, you see curves. Smooth, flowing surface’s, like limestone carved by flowing water. Buildings covered with fractals vanes. Soft buildings. Sponges. Hexagonal transparent roofs. Buildings that rather look like giant mushrooms or flowers with tiny curving windows. While people are walking happily within them and beyond them.
You realize. It are living buildings. All the buildings in this city are living. Living buildings. They grow, they shrink, they adapt, they flourish, they rot, they die. They grow along with the seasons, they grow along with demand. When the number of people on the road increase the roads adaptively swell and make place to let the traffic flow. When there are no people using a building, the building will shrink, when it’s peak hour, the building will expand. The buildings have a pulse.
You see the fractal vanes across the ground, between the buildings. You realize, the buildings are all connected together. This city is one living system. The buildings are like organs working together. One building is specialized in energy absorption with moving curved solar panels on its leafs, the building is specialized in water distribution, like a heart pumping its energy throughout the city and branching within the walls of all the buildings. And like this, there are many more buildings specialized in their need. Can you imagine another one? What would it look like? What would it do?
The transportation system also works completely different here. The vehicles and the roads are completely dependent and interacting with each other. It’s one connected network of vehicles communicating with each other. The vehicles are shaped like pods and can determine their path and cluster together based on their shared route, but not by the steering wheel of the driver, but by a de-centralized hivemind that guides the traffic unisome with an advanced algorithm utilizing a modern version of the internet of things and biosensors. No accidents, no traffic jams, fast speeds, shared space.
You cross a street and the pods flow effortlessly aside, manouvring around you. You feel safe.
You enter a building. You feel a soft heartbeat pumping beneath your feet. You feel something is happening here. The wide adaptive hallway indicates the main route and you follow that.
You enter a huge open space and see awesome trees in the center of the square. You see appletrees, bushes with strawberries. You gaze around and see many different fruits hanging on to bushes and small trees. There’s even a small lake with someone swimming in it. You see a bird sitting on a branch and remember how people were a bit reluctant when some animals, birds, and insects entered the building. But they soon realized these animals were essential for the ecosystem to sustain itself.
You see someone sitting on his hands and knees working in one of the gardens. You ask, what are you doing? He says, “well, we’re researching the relationship between the bifurcation pattern and the non-cyclical growth and fractal dimension expansion of this cauliflower.” You think for a while. It was a big switch 100 years ago.
It seemed impossible then. Growing buildings, one connected self sustaining ecosystem, adaptive furniture, trees and fruits growing inside buildings, green grass fields flourishing at my barefeet. They didn’t believe it. But it was the mere goal of the new generation.
Investing in understanding and growing with nature was actually the only way out. We needed to understand nature and our relationship to it to survive. At the time, plants didn’t want to grow, soil was dirty, and animals died. But we are one smart species. We invested heavily in biotechnology. Biomimcry, biomemetics, systems thinking. Technology and nature synthesized truly. Biosensors, creative forest algorithms, biopsychology, ecosystem ethics, swarm value, it all emerged over the years to get where we are now. It started with an insight that everything is connected, and we were to heavily focused on the things right in front of us the borders, the separations, the possessions, the I. but instead we needed to look at the processes that were moving. The dynamics. The patterns, the waves, the interactions, the feedback, the we. Holism, systems, iteration, resonance, fractals. It was hiding in plain sight.
Now we are here. Still, we have many challenges that change and chaos brings. But we understand our resilience and know that changing change always is a dynamic dance that doesn’t reach an end. It’s something that’s ever changing but also somehow loops around. The infinite, the fractal. Some even started a new branch of nature religion that admires these concepts. Some are even working on a superorganism that emerges from all the subsystems of people, buildings, and cities interacting.
Nevertheless, I think it’s funny how we have learned so much over the past hundred years about ourselves by looking at others, and our environment. We truly learned about ourselves to guide ourselves. To be ourselves. To think about nature. To be nature.
Read more about my conceptual future: