Gabe Klein is the former DOT director under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration in Chicago and former Director of the District DOT under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Before working in local government, Klein worked at a few startups, including Zipcar. In 2015, in addition to his other roles, he joined Fontinalis Partners as an SVP (Special Venture Partner) on their new fund. Klein continues to advise a number of technology/transportation startups including Bridj, where he provides leadership on strategy. He is on the board of NACTO and Streetsblog.
David Vega-Barachowitz is the former Director of the Designing Cities initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). He is currently pursuing his PhD in urban planning at MIT.
Drawing on his own and others' experiences across three continents, Frederick Steiner advocates design practice grounded in ecology and democracy and informed by critical regionalism and reflection. He begins by establishing the foundation for a more ecological approach to planning and design, adopting a broad view of ecology as encompassing human and natural, urban and wild environments. Steiner explores precedents for human ecological design provided by architect Paul Cret, landscape architect Ian McHarg, and developer George Mitchell while discussing their planning for the University of Texas campus, the Lake Austin watershed, and The Woodlands. Steiner then focuses on emerging Texas urbanism and extends his discussion to broader considerations beyond the Lone Star State, including regionalism, urbanism, and landscape in China and Italy. He also examines the lessons to be learned from human and natural disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP oil spill. Finally, Steiner offers a blueprint for designing with nature to help heal the planet's vulnerabilities.
This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.
Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.
So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.
Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.
Although many of us feel we can prepare for our future by thinking, acting, and learning using present methods and values, nothing is farther from the truth – especially in today’s rapidly changing world. A newborn child enters a world not of his or her own making. Each succeeding generation inherits the values, accomplishments, hopes, successes, and failings of previous generations. And they inherit the results of the decisions made by those generations.
For the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence when technologies were simple or non-existent, this may have had little impact on human life and the earth that sustains it. Each generation of hunters and gatherers, then plowmen and pioneers, passed on tools to the next generation to help them survive. Change from one generation to the next was slow and hardly noticeable. In those days there was little understanding of science and how things worked, and explanations were not scientific.
This is no longer the case in today’s high-tech world where a change that affects millions may happen in a matter of seconds. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation, let alone that from centuries ago. Previous generations left a legacy of, exploitation, occupation, and irrelevant values that present great challenges, but also opportunities to the people of today.
The application of scientific principles, for better or worse, accounts for every single advance that has improved people’s lives. Important documents and proclamations have been issued granting rights and privileges to members of societies, but at the heart of human progress – or destruction – is the rock-solid foundation of science.
For generations past it was impossible to direct the future much beyond the present moment, and forecasts of the future were based on non- scientific methods. Prophets and sages presented visions of the future based on dreams, hallucinations, religious fervor, divination of animal parts, crystal balls, etc. Some may even have been accurate, but this was more because of luck than because of any direct channel to the supernatural.