Note — Apr 05, 2020


Considering how unprecedented the current situation is and how hard it is to have a clear picture of where things are going, this interesting compilation of thoughts for the future by Toby Shorin and friends is perfectly titled. They cover culture, what might thrive online and remain after, how things might change IRL, brands, media, retail spaces, a possible resurgence of suburbs, entertainment, politics, etc.

For my part, I think the most important / interesting aspects to follow will be what kinds of visions will be put forth by governments: rebuild as is or with Green New Deals? Rethink how society operates or restart as quick as possible? How much will be collective and how much will be throwing money at banks and large corporations? What kind of new financing and infrastructures might be put in place to deal with the next “event?”

[W]hich of my beliefs remain unchanged? What assumptions will remain in place? What trends will be accelerated, which delayed, and which stopped entirely? What do I care about that has become newly relevant, and what no longer matters? […]

Memes, discourses, aesthetics, language, specialized knowledge and activities, all taking place online, will be the vehicles of lifestyle performance and participation. We’re already seeing plenty of new reading groups, curation modes, and remote hangout formats. Knowledge tooling will be extremely important to this new set of online cultural formation. […]

There will need to be new types of interface and digital social environment to support the continued proliferation of lifestyles. We’ll probably see a flourishing of new, social micro-networks. They will not be for everyone. They will be private in nature, and will support between 20 and 1000 people. […]

People who left the city due to safety concerns or simply for affordability reasons may not return. Combined with the increasing viability of remote work and zero-hour contracting, we may see further evacuation of the city and a new wave of suburbanization. […]

The fate of the urban environment itself, along with the restaurants and retail that it comprises, will depend upon government interventions at every scale. Without sufficient aid to individuals and small businesses (and even with that aid, to a lesser degree), widespread closures will create a void in commercial real estate demand. [...]