Will our future be all high rise, silver space suits and flying cars?

Future shock: What can we expect in the coming decades, asks Albury interior designer Paula Ross. All silver space suits, high rise living and flying cars? It's going to be a challenging time, she says.
Future shock: What can we expect in the coming decades, asks Albury interior designer Paula Ross. All silver space suits, high rise living and flying cars? It's going to be a challenging time, she says.

Do you ever wonder what our lives may look like in 20 or 30 years time? And what our homes may look like? 

For me the future has always had a vaguely sci-fi feel, probably based on bad 60s television shows, all silver space suits and flying cars. 

The reality is probably far more gritty than the well ordered world in my imagination. Probably more Blade Runner than The Jetsons, more dystopia than utopia. Australias latest ABS figures estimate the national population will be close to double by 2050, hitting 50 million. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth’s populations will double. Our demographic of over 65s will double. 

Dick Smith, an advocate for curbing immigration, in a recent interview stated "We're creatures of nature and everything in nature lives in balance other than us. If we think we can have perpetual growth, we can't! Virtually everyone will live in a high-rise, like termites."

Our cities are already groaning under the pressure of rapid growth, with a serious lag in infrastructure. Australia is growing faster in percentage terms than almost all developed economies. Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne is preparing a discussion paper, due for release this year...

The document, Better Apartments — Apartment Amenity Design Measures, outlines options for minimum standards on high rise apartments.

Melbourne’s high-rise one-bedroom apartments would be at least 50sqm under draft guidelines being considered by his State Government. By striking contrast, the average size of one-bedroom apartments sold off the plan in Melbourne last year fell to just 44 square metres (from 47 square metres), research from Oliver Hume Real Estate Group shows.

"Melbourne has some great examples of architecture which make the most of compact spaces but we must avoid unliveable dog boxes cropping up across the city," Wynne told The Age.

Obviously those of us who live in the countryside have an enviable buffer to our city counterparts, but it’s pretty scary to think our carefree way of life may change for the worse. We will need some forward planning and visionary leadership to successfully plan for our future. 

Future predictions of price hikes in energy supply, funding an ageing population and job security are key factors. Add to that huge conglomerates like German giant Kaufland making inroads into an already saturated grocery sector. A 20,000sq metre Kaufland (grocery & general merchandise) behemoth is underway in South Australia. 

Like a big fish gobbling up all the smaller businesses. It's going to be a very challenging time.

Paula Ross in an interior designer and colour consultant based in Albury. You can contact her at paula-ross@hotmail.com