Insights · June 14th, 2022

In the last few months of 2021 Nikolas Badminton‘s family decamped to our apartment located in Palm Desert in California – in the beautiful Coachella Valley. The better weather and facilities at our gated community drew us to this place. We are privileged to take advantage of this – there’s no doubt about that.

During this time the family had the chance to complete a number of virtual keynotes, decompress from the last couple of years where the pandemic has completely flipped business upside down and took me and the Futurist Think Tank team in new directions, and complete my new book for Bloomsbury ‘Facing Our Futures’.

As they lived, played and worked in Palm Desert and across the Coachella Valley Nikolas noticed a number of things:

  • The aging population that has lived in the Coachella Valley is in a state of flux. Younger families and people from Los Angeles and San Francisco are choosing to live here;
  • Many of the communities remain half-empty as so many people keep secondary vacation properties;
  • There is a severe drought and advanced modes of water management;
  • There is a huge opportunity to use this place to establish a new blueprint for living in the United States as global warming and changing weather patterns challenge so many established systems and urban settlements.

One morning while out for a bike ride Nikolas got to thinking – what might this place become. It was clear to him that his generation – Gen X – and the ones coming after – Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha – will not crave this sedentary life, golf with friends and closed communities where people ostensibly live very separately from each other.

So, I have come up with 10 thoughts around what may come to pass in 2050 – Coachella Valley Futures. These are based on the work I have been undertaking for the past few years and are speculative. They are not predictions but possible futures that we might expect to see.

  1. 100% decentralized, electrified and autonomous city – The region will be dominated with infrastructure powered by solar farms and buildings that operate off-grid. It will be a place operating on microeconomics and a self-sustaining Universal Basic Income (UBI). All vehicles will be electric and fossil fuels will be banned, starting in 2035. The local government is deeply connected to the needs and wants of the people that live there and liquid democracy will be the order of business.
  2. Architecture and heat resistant technology – The new progressive architecture and heat resilience tech centre of California has been established where research is undertaken to ensure global cities that will suffer heat stress in the next 50 years have new innovative infrastructure to survive. 
  3. A privacy-first place where data dignity’s data protection from rife misinformation is a priority – Coachella Valley is seen as a global leader in privacy, new information management theory and data dignity – a world where people have 100% control of their data. This is enabled through partnership with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, Calstate, edgy and essential startups, and the biggest tech companies.
  4. Research parks and biodomes – There is a great deal of space down here and the ability to establish research parks that help us simulate global warming and its behavior through the seasons. Organizations researching new methods of sustainable water-energy-food systems, new forms of longevity research, and even simulations on multi-planetary living (Mars and beyond) would be established here.
  5. Vertical farms, Aqua farms and greenhouses for food – With the warming of the planet we will see more local and sustainable food systems become established. What if so many of the well-tended golf courses and hotel lands are converted into ‘food production zones’ and places where greenhouses can grow plant-based medicines and food.
  6. Gen X and Millennial playland – As the Boomers disappear in the next 15 to 20 years we will see golf courses shrink to make way for dirt bike tracks, skateparks, basketball courts and diversified play areas. The Palm Desert Civic Centre Park seems to be an interesting place to use as a reference for what may come to pass. Also, nightclubs and festivals. We’re still going to be shaking our asses in our 80s people – let’s get down!
  7. Longevity retreats and Cryotherapy and freezing centres – The warmth and climate can help us establish new ways of living where people finally live to 120 yrs old thru better lifestyles, gene therapy, plant-based medicines, and cybernetics. 
  8. Arts and culture hub – Art and Design are heartbeats across the valley today however in our futures that will be dialled up to eleven and we’ll see multiple museums that rival MOMA in NYC and San Francisco, Tate Modern, The Louvre and other leading institutions. We may see a local ‘culture tax’ provide a living for the large community of artists and musicians that will choose this place to be home. 
  9. Wildlife reserves where near extinct desert species thrive and survive – More land will be protected and the community will be active in building micro-reserves and places where wildlife thrives. This will result in more research into drought resilient crops and livestock as well.
  10. Pandemic proof micro-communities – one of the biggest and most valuable aspects of this place in our futures will be its ability to help with isolation while maintaining a reasonably normal life. The gated communities will have medical checks and quarantine zones to help ensure medical safety. No more lockdowns for future pandemics? We have hope for that,

There’s a huge opportunity in the Coachella Valley – for Nikolas, it’s like looking into our futures when the Western United States and much of Southern Europe will be in similar conditions. Humanity is resilient and we’ll perservere.

What do you think might be the futures for the Coachella Valley?

This was originally an article on nikolasbadminton.com called ‘2050 – Coachella Valley Futures’.

Category
Cities Long-term thinking
NikolasBadminton_ChiefFuturist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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