We thank Sue for giving us a personal insight into her life as a former pilot in Aerotropolis.
Looking back to our environment from 2016 until now, I believe we had made quite an improvement, and we are proud to earn the name of one of the best maintained eco-cities. In present, whenever I fly over the Areotropolis, I am always astonished by the amazing view. Up in the sky, one can clearly see the organized layout of the city, and outside the city, it is heavily forested by green trees as well as farmlands and lakes that are fresh and clean for people to dive in. It is as if the nature is embracing and protecting my city. Gone is the unlively city sight, now people can enjoy a distinctive view Aerotropolis offers high up in the air. Many wild life animals inhabit in the forest of the outer part of Aerotropolis. While there are many dangerous and potential aggressive animal that could be life threatening, those animals usually live deep in the forest where people are not allowed to go into to protect both the animals and the people. Only certain acres of forest are opened for entry, another part is used for natural environment research and conservation projects.
By densifying the city to a contained area. Nature and humans can live side by side.
Although many ecosystem issues back in 2016 have been improved throughout the years, it was quite a crisis that had people put a whole lot of effort and were trying to tackle and solve. One of the major problems was that the ecosystem had been under constant destruction from human that many habitants were no longer suitable for wild life animals to live in. Unlike human, the wild animals had no ability to solve problem and fight against the harsh environment, many animals were going into extinction by the end of 2010s. Although scientists were coming up with projects to protect the animals, their efforts were not effective enough to repair the damages that were already made. The causes of the environment damages had to be solved first to stabilize the situation then fix the crisis.
While people recognized that there was a need for change in the process of saving our ecosystem, people started to actively participating in the action of cleaning up our environment. Wastes were recycled and collected to further reproduce them into biofuel. More and more trees were planted within the city where people can enjoy a walk alongside the trees. Citizens were encouraged to take public transportation more often rather than having their own vehicle as their means of daily transport. Animals that were going into extinction were kept at a research centre and taken care of to prevent their rapid decrease in existence. Many projects were taken place in this ecosystem reconstruction phase, thanks to everyone’s recognition on the importance of saving and protecting our environment, and luckily the action everyone took did not go in vain, what we have today is the best prove.
The picture below is a photo I took while hiking in the nature during the spring.
In the present day, Aerotropolis has achieved lot in our sustainability development. I am really proud of what we have accomplished today, although further improvement and progress are always needed. First let me talk about the development on the aircraft since it is my choice of career as well as my passion. The models of aircraft nowadays are eco-friendly, one of the biggest challenges aviation industry had faced in the past is the pollution created from CO2 emission. With today’s aircraft models, all the planes are powered by biofuels. With this implementation, CO2 emission was reduced by far the most. Not only the power generating method, the design of the airplanes we have today has also shown a great difference back when I first worked as a pilot. Instead of the long and narrow body with two wings. What we have today is a wide body airplane equipped with a single wing, the plane is designed as such to reduce wind resistance, which results in less biofuel use. Furthermore, the fat body of this type of aircraft allows the airline to carry more passengers than the old models.
The interior design has also changed; the seats are placed in two levels, as the figure has shown. This design not only effectively use up all the space, the passengers can also have a more comfortable seat arrangement where they can rest comfortably. Although what we have today is a huge step considering the development of environmentally-friendly aircraft, a better, more eco-friendly model is still being developed. So far, the aircraft engineers are developing electronic aircraft that is not only powered by batteries but also from solar energy. However, the difficulties they are facing right now is the weight of the engine as well as the electricity storage tank, those problems might cause burden to the engine that results in waste in electricity and short distant flights. With today’s technology and the experience from our past, I have confidence that as long as we have the will, we will have the solution.
In 2016, while people were aware of the constant pollution aviation industry produced, there were no suitable models of aircrafts that could effectively reduce CO2 emission while simultaneously keep the efficiency. Noise pollution was talked about more than emissions. Back then, the fuel powered aircrafts had lay a burden on the technological development on the aircrafts and the CO2 emission reduction plans. While the demand was to have a fully-booked flight to decrease the numbers of flights as well as the loss on profits from the empty seats, this also caused the plane to become heavier and resulted in burning more fuels. There are some alternatives suggested to replace oil to natural gas, as natural gas burned more cleanly than petrol or diesel and also reduce the tax on fuel consumptions. However, this recommendation was turned down due to the weight and size of gas fuel tanks that were counterproductive on the challenge of high passenger rates, which would bring down the passenger capacity. Engineers were still testing different alternatives to overcome the challenges.
A significant technological development in 2030 was that more and more airlines replaced their old model of fuel powered airplanes into biofuel airplanes. As a city that encourages sustainable development, Aerotropolis Airport regulates the airline that only biofueled planes could land in the city to further boost the popularity of this type of aircraft. Our local airline was the pioneer in replacing all aircraft into biofuel aircraft to set as an example to other airlines. The municipality had collected all the waste produced in the city and took the waste into further-production step for the biofuel production. All the biofuel was then allocated to not only the aircraft industry but also for the public transports in the city. The challenge we encountered in this phase was that the supply of biofuel does not reciprocate to the demand of flights, which was a major issue back then. By 2030, many prior developing countries had become developed countries. People from the said countries started to have more stabled financial supports from themselves to travel around the world and join the trend of culture interaction and exchange from people in different countries. As expected, the demand on aviation industry experienced a high raise. To react to this demand, a high passenger capacity aircraft had to be designed and produced. Therefore, the engineers started their innovative development. It was not until the late 2040s, that the experts had fully designed the suitable model that fulfil the demand of the market, which is the type of aircraft we are using now that I mentioned in the beginning.
Now in 2050, the quality of life is maximised. My son who works as an accountant in the Aerotropolis , had a baby 2 months ago. He is on maternity leave with his wife for 6 months. Hence he can support her during that time and engage into the family life to the fullest. After, he has very flexible working hours. Furthermore, he can work from home. His wife is a teacher at the UN University. It’s up to her to organize the classes in person or with online courses. When she decides to teach at school, there is a day care for the teachers and the students so she doesn’t have to worry about child care. When their daughter starts with kindergarten in 4 years and after in primary school and high school, she will have a lot of classes about how to take care of the world and also, they have a lot of excursions to the natural reserve where they are taught about the self reliant system, the gardening, farming and recycling.
The working adults are all responsible to make sure the processes in their companies are visible. Once a year, different groups of each company travel through the places of their supply chain for goods which can not be produced in the Aerotropolis like technical goods such as watches and phones. My son works for a watch import company and even as an accountant he knows the whole supply chain from the raw material until the point of sale. Of course, travelling the world is not longer a problem as new deltashape airplanes are CO2 neutral during the flight.
In 2016, parents who were both employed always had trouble finding a babysitter or an affordable day-care. The fathers didn’t have maternity leave in Switzerland. Also, the schools didn’t teach the pupils anything about recycling or nature. The focus was more on theoretical knowledge of plants than on how to grow them. Also, a lot of scandals revealed because companies were surprised by a non-sustainable service chain that harmed the natural environment or human rights.
Every year, a survey was carried out to find out potential improvement concerning health, family needs, nutrition, transportation and the working environment. This is how we came to the solutions we have nowadays focusing on well balanced work-freetime life in which we can enjoy our job, the surrounding nature and our families and still perform great in a well developed economy.Also, the school system has changed a lot and was adapted to raise sustainable awareness starting at a young age.
Social wellbeing and economic wellbeing go hand in hand in the Aerotropolis. We are an international meeting area, business people from around the world meet hassle free in the city. The city profits from synergies with everyone living close by. When I think back to the beginning of my career in 2016 we thought the world has reached the height of globalisation, little did we know that with the advance in technology globalisation could go so much further. The term that describes the situation today in 2050 the best is “economies of speed” with the key words being time and cost of connectivity. Today’s businesses rely on distant suppliers and customers for trade. The airport city offers business competitive advantages towards international players with the speed and agility of transporting people and goods. The city offers state of the art meeting solutions making MICE tourism a key income for the Aerotropolis.
As a “free zone” goods and be brought into the airport area for transfer reasons and transported to further destinations without being taxed. This makes the city an attractive location for international business. For a business to be accepted into the city they have a prove knowledge over their complete supply chain. More to the supply chain can be found under social wellbeing.
By clustering international businesses in one location they can profit form industrial symbiosis – this enables companies to utilise material streams, energy, water, by-products and other assets more efficiently resulting finally in a raise in productivity. Not only do the companies’ involved profit but, resources are used longer and the demands for natural resources reduced.
In 2016 the world used the resources as if we had another one. The idea of sustainability was slowly becoming a common subject. The younger people were able to identify more with the idea. The generation Y who were finishing degrees and working their way into managing positions were slowly changing the mind set in businesses. Businesses worked very much against one another. Production was mostly in Asia and supply chains were very much worldwide and as we were still flying with Kerosene this had huge costs on the environment.
The big shock on the economic situation came when the main oil refineries cut off supply to everyone but their own country due a nearly extinct supply. Suddenly everyone had to start coming up with other ways to use energy. Of course most countries had already wind, water and solar power, however not enough to sustain a whole country. This economic shock drove the change of thinking, while some countries never recovered, we in the Aerotropolis thrived on the change.
As a city we have a personal carbon trading system. Each inhabitant has a carbon emissions counter on his or her smart device. Has a person reached their daily limit then they can login to the trade market and trade with someone who will not reach their emissions for that day. At a later date however that person can then ask for that amount of “emission limit” back. The average person should only produce 2.0t per year. In 2016 an EU citizen produced 9.1t on average. (MyClimate, N.a)
Furthermore our fruits and vegetables are produced locally and seasonally. Each residential building has a garden for public use and the commercial buildings have solar panels installed on the roof. We have no imported energy from the city and again we have a trading system. Every inhabitant receives a quota, an amount we are guaranteed to produce per day. Afterwards our citizens can trade energy online. After their quota the residents are highly taxed on further energy use as a deterrent. After the shock of 2034 where the world’s oil reserves were next to extinct and discussions were made to turn back to nuclear energy. The city decided that this step back couldn’t be the way forward and started producing alternative energy. One of my favourite sources of energy comes from the clubs and bars within the city. The dance floor converts kinetic energy of the dancing customers into electricity. (Energy floors, N.d)
In 2016 it would have been possible to live with this quota of energy that our residents receive now. However energy was too cheap and their was no incentive. I am so glad we took the step away from nuclear energy as I felt that there was a constent threat that something could go wrong. One of our flight paths took us over a power plant and I remember having a queasy feeling every time I looked down.
The UN University did a great thing to raise the awareness of local products. They held online seminars with information about fruit and vegetables we had long forgotten about and launched a competition where the locals had to grow the most bizzare looking (local) fruit or vegetable and the others could vote. This competition got the whole town talking and lots of people found out how much fun home grown produce could be. We had forgotten how good local food can taste rather than the imported goods that have been in transit for days or even weeks. Now we enjoy those products locally when we fly to the countries where they are grown.
The airport itself today is a melting pot. It used to be in 2016 but now the cultural exchange and the interaction is as intensive as never before. There are a lot of different teahouses, coffee shops and bistros representing different cultures and traditions. Mostly, people from other cultures go into a typical bistro. Through high tech translation technology people can communicate in their own language and it is translated to the waitresses and also to people originated in the country the bistro represents. Like this, the passengers understand each other but they can still keep their own language they are proud of. They also have a lot of events and celebrations to respect the festivals of each nation that is represented in this city, taking like the Chinese spring festival that was held in Cairo in 2016 to celebrate the Chinese new year. Aerotropolis took an example of this event and launched it too.
Back in 2016, the world’s population already was suspicious towards foreign cultures and the terrorism attacks made it even more extreme. The world was divided into people who were open minded, wanted to learn different cultures and fearful patriots, who feared everything but their own beliefs, nationalism was growing again.
The UN took over responsibility and built up a universities all over the world. We were proud to host the first one which is now the heart of the Aerotropolis. They taught the students to see different cultures from new perspectives and to be open towards foreign influences
They invited students and increased exchange between them. Everyone had to hold a presentation about their beliefs and then the understanding became better through discussions and through clearing misunderstanding.
As soon as students had an intensive participation and interaction, the UN universities also held modules about other parts of sustainability and cultural exchange. Lecturers from the whole were brought in to share their knowledge with the students, to increase the intercultural values.
In 2030, the UN university and the Aerotropolis was growing it had become an international melting pot. This was becoming a place where everyone was accepted no matter which religion, skin colour or language. Everyone felt welcomed and at home.
The university wanted to share their worldview with the residents of the city so they sat together with the team who was building the Aerotropolis and discussed possibilities of cultural representation and interaction.
The solution were translations, music and dances, and the international culinary dinning choices that I already mentioned, but also future perspectives of how the different nations can increase the worlds sustainability by cooperating on each level and trying to understand each other, forgetting the fear and biases. This is how the airport was built up and also, the reason why the city represents different cultures.