How could our future look?

Over the next 30 years, we know the world and our lives will change dramatically. What is less certain is what this change will look like. Below are some of the big changes which will affect our place and our community.

  • Our population will become more ethnically diverse, both through local births and migration. 
  • Our population will grow with continued urbanisation. 
  • Changing demographics may shift the demand for, access to, and affordability of services and amenities, and the balance of influence between different groups in our community. 
  • Technology will continue to grow at an exponential rate and will converge so that technology will impact on every aspect of our work and daily life.
  • Technology may provide many benefits by enhancing daily life, lowering the cost of services, creating new and higher-paid jobs and improving environmental outcomes. It may also create or increase problems including loss of privacy, social fragmentation and the loss of, especially lower-skilled, jobs through automation and Artificial Intelligence. Access to technology may be another aspect of inequality.
  • For our city and region, climatic change is expected to result in 15-30cm sea-level rise; 0.5 – 1.5 degree Celsius increase (by 2040) in average temperature above pre-industrial levels; hotter, windier weather and water shortages. 
  • These changes will impact on our natural environment – biodiversity, loss of habitat; where and how we live; and, what we produce. 
  • Global climatic impacts may increase the pressure on New Zealand to take climate change refugees and to share our resources with the rest of the world. 
  • Moving to a net zero-carbon urban area is likely to impact on how we travel around (less private car use, electric vehicles), where and how we build, how we produce energy and how we manage our waste. 
  • Parts of our community will be impacted differently – coastal communities will need to deal with sea level rise, poorer communities may not have the resources to transfer to lower-carbon technologies, changing economic opportunities will create new jobs and bring an end to other jobs. 
  • Beyond climate change, there is a growing awareness of the negative impact on human health and sustainability of wider environmental degradation from how we live, what we consume and produce. 
  • Changing expectations of environmental sustainability, both from regulators and consumers may impact on how we live our lives, but also how we support jobs and wealth creation.  Agriculture will need to adapt to meet higher environmental standards, and economic activities involving long-distance movement of people and goods may be impacted. 
  • Shifting global dynamics include a shift in global economic power to Asia and growing global geo-political instability. 
  • There is tension between the drive for greater globalisation and an increasing move to nationalism and protectionism driven by rising economic inequalities and a growing trend to regionalisation. 
  • Growing social fragmentation driven by increasing inequalities and the uneven impact of climatic change, technology on incomes and wellbeing and the impact of social media undermining confidence in established institutions. 
  • The working world is likely to change with more insecure employment, growth in the “gig” economy and changing jobs opportunities, meaning lifelong learning and retraining is important. 
  • Growing anxiety and mental health issues driven by uncertainty, the pace of change and pressures from growing social media particularly amongst younger people.  


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