Society problems

Designing a future that brings society together

The future is attitude and it’s electric … Join us in celebrating progress with Audi’s podcast on the future on 702.

The Future is an Attitude podcast series presented by Audi features inspiring South Africans who think differently about the future and challenge the status quo by advancing the fields of design, digitalization, performance and sustainability to help us shape the future.

Creators are dreamers. They imagine what we’re going to need and interpret how it might fit into the future before they anticipate it… and then they bring these magical ideas to life. Whether it’s buildings, systems, clothing, products or services, everything we use has already been imagined by a designer who turned an idea into the reality we know today.

In this episode, podcast host Azania Mosaka and Design Space Africa director Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa take a tour of the cities of the future, exploring the ways designers can help us see the world to come and the magic. that can happen. when design creativity integrates with technology.

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When WarnerBros’ cartoon series “The Jetsons” featuring a family from the future flying around a city of skyscrapers in a flying car first aired in 1962, the world it portrayed seemed to be an impossible dream.

Come to think of it, the cartoon’s predictions about 3D printers, talking robots, smart shoes, and jetpacks seem eerily accurate, and in fact, we already use and design a lot of them.

Sixty years ago, less than a billion people lived in cities across the world and if the predictions are correct, by 2050 that number is expected to reach six and a half billion people. So, so that we can all live together and always well, the cities of the future will have to develop upwards rather than laterally.

The future will be very different from what we see, so we need to look at building spaces and urban environments that adapt to this new perspective.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

Can you visualize it yet? Imagine mixed-use skyscrapers that become their own vertical quarters – work, play, life – all stacked on top of each other in a single building instead of being sprawled out.

The cities of the future will not only be vertical, they will also have to be smart and could potentially help us solve some of the problems of the past.

We’re talking about buildings that connect us, captivate us and help us live better… cities that offer us a new kind of future – design has the power to solve some of our most pressing problems, while making us feel with us.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa believes that the more we share these experiences and increase the level of appreciation for design and architecture, then we will see real progress.

You (then) will have to see the emergence of another type of city. If you have a lot of people living in cities, you need amenities, you need schools… and we’re going to have to think about vertical schools like you see in other cities around the world because the density is so low. inside the city.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

Design is constantly evolving. Mpahlwa sees it as the key that will unlock a better future for all of us, and the shift to vertical density offers us an opportunity to bring our society closer together.

He thinks that the idea of ​​designing instead of going out will allow us to bring more people into… people living and working together, instead of being separated by long journeys and socio-economic circumstances and, that is. translates into more inclusion and less exclusion.

We are improving ourselves to put humans at the center of the design process, ensuring that what we design carries us into the future.

How design will keep us connected in the future

Technology will change the way we interact with our homes and how they meet our needs.

In the next ten years, our homes will become much smarter, thanks to connected objects and the Internet of Things.

But what does a smart home look like?

You have the option of installing equipment in your home that will be able to activate or deactivate gadgets in your home without you being there. These are developments that will make it easier for us to manage our environments.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

Raised by an architect, tech entrepreneur Rapelang Rabana appreciates beautiful views and structures and agrees that our physical spaces will be just as important as our digital spaces, in the years to come.

She believes the future will be more about connectivity and the ability to experience our humanity rather than just being alone and isolated in a “concrete jungle”.

For Rabana, luxury will depend on how close relationships are and who we really care about.

The COVID situation, isolation, confinement … made us understand how important it is to be able to share space together. I think we’re actually going to start to appreciate the role of design more because we’re going to realize how really unattractive some of these spaces that we occupy are.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

The workplace of the future is not a place

It’s not just our homes that will change as we move into the future… where and how we work is also on the cusp of a major change.

We’ve already seen that we have the technology to do this, thanks to almost two years of COVID-19 lockdown.

An expert in unlearning, Zanele Njapha envisions the homes of the future designed to support a hybrid work environment so that employers who choose to work from home can do so.

According to her, there is a lot of unlearning to be done when it comes to work. She thinks the words we use about the future of work may prevent us from being able to reimagine what it might look like.

But, if we don’t go to the office anymore, what do we do with it? We will reuse it, reuse it and redesign it and adapt it to our evolving needs, says Mpahlwa.

We will see conversions in which office buildings will either be converted into mixed-use buildings, incorporating offices and housing, or some will be converted into residential buildings.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

The emphasis on designing and redesigning things from the inside is what will allow the cities of the future to begin to emerge.

Designing the cars of the future

Designers stand in the future, they imagine the world to come, they experiment, they play, they push the boundaries and they help us see the future before it arrives.

And another big change we’re heading towards in these new vertical cities of the future is the way we move. We are already seeing electric vehicles operating around the world – cars, taxis, buses, trains, boats – all running on clean, quiet electric power.

Head of Product, Marketing and Public Relations for Audi South Africa, Tarryn Knight has big ideas on how cars can and will change as they go electric. She envisions a future where design flexibility is reinvented and, instead of being designed from the outside to the inside, vehicles can now be designed from the inside out, providing designers with space to be as creative as possible.

Now combine electric cars with another big step forward – autonomous driving technology (also known as driverless vehicles) and suddenly you have a salon on wheels.

She believes that the car of the future will become an experiential device and part of that is autonomous driving and the connected experience.

Futuristic, Graeme Codrington agrees. In fact, he considers autonomous vehicles to be not only more practical, but also safer.

According to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), we can dramatically increase traffic efficiency by around 76% and see safety improvement of up to 96% because each vehicle will know what other vehicles are trying. to accomplish, which is a massive improvement in the traffic ecosystem, says Codrington.

The world’s greatest designer – nature

This idea that one thing can turn into something else, depending on what we need it for, should not just apply to buildings or vehicles.

With smart design and cutting edge technology, we may soon see a whole new generation of products that can adapt and transform into whatever we need, and many of them are inspired by nature.

As we try to solve one of the biggest problems – scaring off natural resources, expert in biomimicry Gamelihle Sibanda thinks the idea of ​​circular design can help.

He says circular design combines the principles of circular economy and systems thinking … a (conscious) reflection on how it will be made, how it will be used and what will happen to it at the end of its useful economic life. from a sustainability and responsibility point of view.

Our lifestyles cannot stay the same.

Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Director of Luyanda Mpahlwa Design Space Africa

The Future is an attitude. The way we imagine and embrace the future, the way we shape it with our thinking and actions, and the way we imbue it with our hopes and dreams … the attitudes we adopt today lay the foundations for our world of tomorrow.

Design: combining form and function

Audi has long been recognized for designing beautiful vehicles. But design is not just a question of aesthetics, it is a question of marrying form and function. Design has the power to transform experiences, transforming expectations of what is functional into something transformative, just like Audi’s new e-tron range, where electric mobility offers an evolving driving experience. traditional – from delicate acoustic effects designed to share vehicle presence and identity, to animated matrix LED headlights. It is not only a progressive design, but also a progressive thinking and designing the future of high-end mobility with a new global mindset and vision for the environment and sustainability.

Visit to see why Audi’s new e-tron range is the next exciting step towards a progressive future.

More Future is an Attitude – Presented by Audi