Massive migrations that cause differentiation between standards of living in the North and South, large cities meet with increasing resistance. Democratically elected, authoritarian governments are physically closing their borders. Walls are built between continents, between countries, even in the middle of cities, like it used to be in Belfast and is in Padua now.
On October 9, 2011 an urban riot breaks out simultaneously in Shanghai and Tokyo. Curiously (it becomes clear that this is no coincidence) the global Google system that most video surveillance cameras and individual tracking systems use is broken. In the time it takes the sun to rise from east to west, the “banished” neighbourhoods of Dehli, Moscow, Berlin, Bordeaux, London, New York and LA rise up. This first global neighbourhood revolt, ably coordinated via networks, will take more than two weeks and a lot of violence to put out.
In 2016, the Syndicate of Border Wall Builders announces the delivery of the millionth kilometre of wall – ironically enough, the client is Berlin. Dell launches a European ID card with a 5 teraoctet capacity, which updates every hour on the hour. All that storage is needed to store the identification information, rights, and copies without which one cannot get into anything in this world. And yet the failure of this politics of closure is inevitable. Fleeing from tension in the North, the Japanese, the Finns, and the Canadians all set up small communities in Senegal and Kenya, where they live the last years of their professional lives (up to 75 years old) and the first of their active retirement. Other city dwellers will seek refuge in virtual worlds. When Rodez, bolstered by its 2008 collaboration with Electronic Arts, claims that it is the most populated city in the world, Lagos protests that avatars don’t count!
On 1st January 2021, New York, taking note of the situation, declares itself independent. The city dismantles its interior walls but builds more at its borders. With the help of the Upod, the first universal translator of languages, emotions and sensations, it becomes a haven of diversity and multicultural living. Sheltered from its hinterland (which protests violently), New York successfully experiments with ephemeral modes of governance, in which citizen conferences form for a number of weeks, deal with difficult problems, submit them to collective judgment,and then dismantle. There are even a few smokers spotted in the least frequented streets.
On 9th October 2026, the global Spin Apples movement, which brings together the world’s 26 independent cities (representing 580 million inhabitants) meets in Bordeaux for the Transurban Expo. Kinshasa aspires to obtain the presidency by means of an audacious programme: opening the dialogue with neighbouring lands!