For task 2, our group scenario envisioned Australia in 2050 as a ‘Sustainable Superpower’ with high surveillance and no border control. Our scenario design originated from the growing issue of climate refugees, in an attempt to respond on a humanitarian level by accommodating for such people in Australia. As stated in my previous blog post about the Anthropocene with focus on climate refugees- scientists predict the number of people displaced by natural disasters could range from at least 50 million to 200 million by 2050. It is therefore fundamental to the welfare of humanity that we begin to seriously consider how to help these people affected by accommodating for more people in Australia in the event of extreme displacement.

Hypothetically speaking, after a series of natural disasters that devastate surrounding Asian countries, Australia opens its borders to refugees providing aid shelters for those displaced from their country to stay in. This then transfers from an initial temporary service to a state of permanent citizenship. Due to the no border control and consequential significant population increase, we wanted to design a form of dwelling and lifestyle that would encourage people to move away from coastal areas and occupy more rural, inland areas. Nomadism was something that we decided to look into as a central point of research as focus to this idea.

Author Paul Memmott in his book “Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: the Aboriginal Architecture Of Australia” discusses the complexity of Aboriginal-designed dwellings in a science of ‘ethno-architecture’ of which ranges from minimalist structures that articulate well defined places and spaces, versus various types of permanent houses and villages. The architecture of Aboriginal houses built prior to the British invasion was dependent on climate, natural environment, resources available, family size and specific needs of the Aboriginal people of that area.

We wanted our product to fit somewhere in between this idea of semi-permanent living whilst remaining sustainable, practical, and affordable for immediate use rather than requiring to be built and established in a fixed environment.

British-based designer Lucy Orta is a contemporary artist who has investigated into the ideas of mobility and survival through sculptural works, which examine the complex relationship between architecture and the human body. Her 1993 sculpture ‘Refuge Wear- Habitent’ notably demonstrates a well-considered manifesto of the human body, and its relationship to a certain space including that of it’s own. Orta developed the Refuge Wear series in coincidence with certain homeless people whose movements she had followed over a number of years.

Images of Lucy Orta's 1993 sculpture 'Habitent' from her 'Refuge Wear' series.

Images of Lucy Orta’s 1993 sculpture ‘Habitent’ from her ‘Refuge Wear’ series.

tent 2
Perhaps it is an unrealistic vision for 2050, but nomadic, sustainable dwellings such as Lucy Orta’s ‘Habitent’ are prime examples of a potential direction the human sheltered experience could take, not only as a sustainable form of living, but as a method of accommodating incoming climate refugees in emergency instances- very probable scenarios for the future of Australia.


Korff, J, 2014. Aboriginal Houses, Creative Spirits, viewed 22 October 2014,

Memmott, P. 2007, Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: the Aboriginal Architecture Of Australia, University of Queensland Press, Queensland

Studio-Orta, 2014. Lucy Orta, viewed 22 October 2014,

Studio-Orta, 2014. Refuge Wear- Habitent, viewed 22 October 2014,


It is near impossible to quantify what technologies will exist in the future or to predict how we as a society will exist. It is therefore necessary to prepare ourselves and future generations as best we can for this unfathomable future. In order to do this, we must turn our attention to education.

It is not uncommon to hear millennials lamenting that their education has failed to provide them with life skills. And they aren’t entirely incorrect. The current curriculum draws from Victorian European education. Such a system produced workers, of whom were required 3 key skills: “They must have good handwriting…they must be able to read, and they must be able to do [mathematics] in their head” (Mitra, S. 2014). However these skills, aside from the ability to read, are no longer a priority or even a requisite for success.

With the probability that majority of current Kindergarten students will enter into careers which do not yet exist, we must aim to foster skills which equip people for 21st Century work. The primary schooling system as I experienced it was significantly behind the times in terms of contemporary technologies. In order to gain an insight into the current learning environment I conducted an interview with my mother, a primary school teacher. In her opinion there has been a “shift in education recently that’s moving children toward becoming 21st Century learners” (J. Curran, pers. comms., 17 October). It is her belief that this change in the curriculum is not only oriented toward Information Technologies, but also toward more practical and crucial skills such as problem solving and collaboration. A concern for the importance of fostering contemporary skills is raised by Sugata Mitra in his TED Talk, ‘Build a School in the Cloud.’

From my experience of recently participating in the HSC, I have observed that rather than assessing skill and intelligence, such examinations test memory and recall. There needs to be an overhaul in the way we monitor and assess the abilities and aptitude of children. This sentiment is reflected by Mitra in his TED Talk.

One concern expressed by my mother is that due to the fast-paced nature of the development of technologies, at times there may be a disconnect between the knowledge that children possess around technology and that of some of their teachers and parents (J. Curran, pers. comms., 17 October). I believe that in order for teachers to sufficiently administer and monitor student learning in a technological age, they must become competent with contemporary technologies.

However my mother’s outlook is optimistic. With emerging technologies such as interactive whiteboards, students can now connect to rural and international students, as well as organisations such as NASA. As my mother suggests, we are “not there yet in all schools, but there are positive changes in the right direction” (J. Curran, pers. comms., 17 October).

It is important to create a learning environment that equips our young people with the skills to become proficient in the pioneering and brokering of new ideas. After all, these are the people who will design the next ground-breaking technology, cure cancer and inhabit Mars; of this we are certain.


Curran, J. 2014, pers. comms., interview, 17 October 2014

Lindl, J. 2013, Can games create an education fit for the future?, video recording, BBC, viewed 17 October 2014, 

Mitra, S. 2013, Build a School in the Cloud, video recording, TED, viewed 17 October 2014, <;

EXO Shelter Render - Michael McDaniel

EXO Shelter Render – Michael McDaniel

For a futuring scenarios task we envisioned a high surveillance society with no borders. The lead up to this scenario came into effect because of climate refugees. As a result of inevitable natural disasters on the tectonic plate lines certain countries are prone to creating climate refugees sooner or later. The Refugee Council of Australia refers to the rise in climate refugees being a direct result of ‘increased public awareness of climate change’. The Global Governance Project defines them as “people who have to leave their habitats, immediately or in the near future, because of sudden or gradual alterations in their natural environment”, this can be due to sea-level rise, extreme weather or drought.

With this idea we looked closer towards turning semi-permanent refugee camps into permanent, functioning communities, that sustain the ability to prosper and grow. There have been flat pack projects by IKEA and event tent outfits by designers such as Lucy Orta. However a design that struck to be most interesting was Michael McDaniel’s Exo Shelter for Reaction Housing. As a direct result of experiencing natural disasters in Mississippi as a child he became inherently aware of the “poorly equipped shelters”. His design solution is likened to a coffee cup – stackable and easily connected to a snap base (like a coffee lid). Its rigid and durable structure allows its life span to far exceed that of other similarly aimed designs. Further to this its nature allows it to be easily cleaned, transported and reused when needed.

On the Reaction Housing website they state their mission – “to revolutionize disaster response”. This mission tied in nicely with our scenario, which focused on the rehousing of refugees in Australia, and ultimately turning semi-permanent residences into permanent ones. The increase in refugees, often commented on in the Australian media, is for a reason and it needs to be addressed appropriately. The Exo Housing system is a “smart, highly portable shelter.”

EXO Shelter – Reaction Housing, Michael McDaniel

The UNHCR has reservations about the term coined ‘climate refugees’ as it has no grounding in the international refugee law. McDaniel has clearly noticed a void in the market for refugees, in the near and almost distance future it is difficult to visualize ‘world peace’ and ‘curing world hunger’, meaning that this issue needs to be addressed. To me, this move towards housing refugees in a sustainable way is essential to moving out of the continuous cycle they find themselves in. A cheap and affordable way to house and connect means they are able to focus on building lives rather than staying alive. This, I feel, is a big part of assisting third world countries. The following video from Ted Talks x gives useful insight into the idea of assisting refugees in life, rather than in survival. Melissa Fleming comments on those that have ‘forcefully displaced’ from their homes.

This idea of housing links nicely with Alysse Currans blog on Nomadism: The Contempory Guide for Sustainability, where she discusses Lucy Orta’s Dwelling X Maquette. She talks about the “inevitable expansion of the population”, which connects in nicely with the idea of quick, sustainable and affordable housing, such as the EXO housing the Michael McDaniel has built. Key words related to both designs include ‘low cost’, ‘durable’, ‘transportable’ and ‘easy to assemble’, which is exactly the type of modular housing we aim to create for our futuring scenario. Whilst the possibilities for the future are endless and highly unlikely to match what we have proposed, thinking of the future and towards the future about the possibilities that will lead us there and the challenges we may face is a perfect exercise in design. Where as designer we are inherently designing for the future, whether that be in 6 months, 6 years or 6 decades. We always need to think outside the box, of all possibilities and ultimately of human interaction and how we as humans can work towards a sustainable future and just world.

Council, R., (2012), “Climate Refugees?”, The Refugee Council of Australia, October 18 2014, <;

Curren, A., (2014), Nomadism: The Contempory Guide for Sustainability, October 18 2014, <;

Fleming, M. (2013), Let’s Help Refugees Thrive, Not Just Survive, Ted Talks x, October 17 2014, <;

McDaniel, M. (2014), Blog, Reaction Housing, October 19 2014, <;

Orta, L. (2014), Lucy Orto Bio,  Lucy Orta, October 17 2014, <;

Zimmer, L. (2013), IKEA Unveils Solar-Powered Flat Pack Shelters for Easily Deployable Emergency Housing, Habitat, <;

For this post I have interviewed David Smith born 1956 and made first hand observations of 60’s born Julia Jones and 2 year old Hunter Smith. Julia is in strong disagreement with the use of text messaging as a form of communication, she goes as far as to say that it is “a dead form of communication”, looking at this from a younger generation obviously sounds ridiculous, especially in a world moving more and more to digital communication. “The impersonal nature of digitalization” is the downfall Julia sees in the technology, which is of course as a result of her age distance from the digital age.

The generational differences felt between children and their parents is an obvious and accepted one. The generation x is known as the technological generation or as put by my interviewee David Smith “generation now”. In the digital age of online shopping and instance gratification, we are becoming more and more impatient for the things we desire. This has lead to websites such as the Iconic, which offer there same day 3 hour delivery fee. Often nagged by parents to discontinue their constant interaction with technology, teenagers (born 1990’s-2000’s) feel the intergenerational differences. Growing up on the border of the digital world and its previous state it is easy to comment on the sudden change in reliance on technology, noting the rise in social media platforms around the same age of our mass social development.


However with all these points in my mind a new generational difference is already starting to rise. This is the children born after the year 2000, who grew up in the digital age from day one. As young adults now we are shocked when we see very young children playing with iPhones and iPads, when we were outside playing at the same age. Hunter Staples is a 2 year old boy, walking and using only some familiar words, yet he understands the swipe to unlock the iPhone function and readily picks up and plays with iPhones as an interactive object. Whilst obviously not understanding the interface or having the skills to play a game this pull towards technology in young children is growing.

Interviewee David Smith expressed his optimism towards the future of technology whilst also placing prevalence on the down falls. He made an interesting comment about human relations, stating that online dating is the way of the future and “we’ll be laughing at the day we picked up in bars”. Whilst a comical statement to make it may not be far from the truth. Technology is readily being incorporated into every human interaction, almost exponentially. The question is how will this affect our future as humans?

Jones, J. 2014, personal communication, interview, 20 October 2014, Mosman, NSW.

McDougall, B. 2014, Tablets and technology blamed for developmental speech impairment, The Daily Telegraph [online], 21 October 2014, <;

Smith, D. 2014, personal communication, interview, 20 October 2014, Mosman, NSW.

The future is something people are constantly predicting based on past and current issues and trends in social and geological patterns. Whether it is considered optimistic or pessimistic, it is fundamentally a great unknown, allowing potential for imagination and possibility. For this blog post I wanted to gain an insight into a perspective on the future related to issues surrounding technology and global warming. I decided to interview my mother, a 55-year-old mother of two and dentist, as I thought her life experience and fist-hand account throughout a significant time period in terms of technological developments and environmental change would bring an interesting understanding in terms of foreseeing future scenarios based on past scenarios.

The first question I asked being: “Do you think humanity’s future is optimistic or pessimistic?” my mother predicted a very positive future in relation to health, technology, and education; whilst a particularly worrying future in relation to climate changes and world peace.

For a woman of her generation, my mother could be considered a technology enthusiast, constantly up to date with the latest Apple gadgets and always interested in how technology works. If there were one aspect of technological development that I would debate as having a negative impact on society, it would be related to human interaction with technology in replacement of human interaction with humans. With this in mind, I posed the question: “Do you think human interaction with technology has effected human social interaction in a positive or negative way?” My mother responded with a more optimistic point of view: “I think as long as people are interacting with each other, it doesn’t really matter which media they are using. There were a lot more one-way conversations in the years of letter writing. Interaction is the most important thing. Being able to Skype a loved one on the other side of the world allows the world to become a much smaller place.”

When I asked my mother if she had heard of the term ‘the Anthropocene’ she was unfamiliar with it, however she was well aware of the current predicament with global warming and climate change. I proposed the question “Do you think all of the current attention on global warming is necessary?” she responded: “I think it is necessary, however it is a difficult situation when the worst offenders such as China and India are developing countries and the economies of the world are dependent on them continuing to do this.” I have always viewed older generations as people who are generally unconcerned with issues like global warming because unlike my generation, they were never exposed to such a topic when attention has only been drawn to the problem in more recent decades. I was pleasantly surprised with my mother’s response, which reflected her engagement with such issues also on a political and economic level.

I concluded the interview by asking “How do you envision the future for 2050?” and my mother replied “I would see the world continuing to become a smaller place with technological improvements and hopefully a continuing improvement in quality of life.”

Overall my mother’s view of the future was fundamentally positive in terms of technology developments, however their still remains concern for future generations in relation to global warming and world peace.

I wanted to conclude with this video from the 1920’s, as I thought it was a good example of future forecasting and an interesting perspective from almost 100 years ago.


1920’s- What the Future Will Look Like, video recording, Youtube, viewed 20th October 2014,

G Wolstenholme (2014, pers. comm., October 21st)

The Anthropocene. To those who are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the current geological epoch humanity has entered into as a consequence of our global footprint, particularly since the Industrial Revolution. While as a species, we have become a phenomenal global force, during this process our accelerated use of resources is disrupting the natural cycles of biology, chemistry, and geology by which elements such as carbon and nitrogen circulate between land, sea and atmosphere. This brief 3-minute film ‘Welcome to the Anthropocene’ is a great summary of how humanity has reached our current geological age in the past 250 years.

Possibly the most significant aspect of our newfound influence is our effect on the climate. Climate change has become a greater problem than ever before, with rising temperatures and sea levels resulting in dramatic environmental consequences. Such impact, not only evidently destroys our natural resources, but is actively impacting upon individuals particularly as wet climates continue to get wetter, and hot climates continue to get hotter resulting in extreme cases of severe flooding and drought. Climate refugees fall under this bracket, as people who are forced to leave their homes and communities due to the effects of climate change and global warming.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres says 36 million people were displaced by natural disasters in 2009, the last year such a report was taken. Scientists predict this number will rise to at least 50 million by 2050. Some propose it could be as high as 200 million.

Guterres has said on the matter:“Although there is a growing awareness of the perils of climate change… its likely impact on human displacement and mobility has received too little attention.” It is therefore imperative that now, more than ever as a unified species that we respond to this need on a humanitarian level.

An extremely relevant example of climate refugees now are those living in coastal cities, which are actively being affected by rising sea levels. Due to increasing temperatures related to global warming, glaciers and ice caps are consequently melting resulting in rising sea levels and flooding. The impact of such effects has the potential to make land completely uninhabitable with the future projection of it being completely under water.

For instance, about half the population of Bangladesh lives less than 5 meters (16.5 feet) above sea level. In 1995, Bangladesh’s Bhola Island was half-submerged by rising sea levels, leaving 500,000 people homeless. Scientists predict Bangladesh will lose 17 percent of its land by 2050 due to flooding caused by climate change. The loss of land could lead to as many as 20 million climate refugees from Bangladesh.

This is where the need for humanitarian aid and response comes in. Based on the current predictions of where our global epoch is heading towards, it is important that we prepare for what the future holds now before it is too late.

For example, the island nation of Tuvalu has struck an agreement with New Zealand to accept its 11,600 citizens in the event that rising sea levels overtake the country. In Bangladesh, where flooding is prominent the nonprofit organization Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, (meaning self-reliance) is building schools on boats.

Turmoil in Bangladesh during extreme floods.

Turmoil in Bangladesh during extreme floods.

It is initiatives such as these that we need to get behind in aims of responding to global crises that are predicted for the future.


Doherty, B, 2012. ‘Maldives Warns of Climate Refugees’, The Age, viewed 10 September 2014,

Lagan, B, 2013. ‘Australia Urged to Prepare for Influx of People Displaced by Climate Change’, The Guardian, viewed 10 September 2014,

National Geographic, 2014. ‘Climate Refugee’ viewed 10 September 2014,

Refugee Council, 2012. ‘Climate Refugees?’, viewed 10 September 2014,

UNHCR, 2014. ‘Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Human Displacement: A UNHCR Perspective’, viewed 10 September 2014,

UNHCR, 2014. ‘The Storm Ahead’, viewed 10 September 2014,

Wahlquist, A, 2014. ‘Climate Change Refugees a Reality’, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 10 September 2014,

Welcome to the Anthropocene n.d., viewed 15 September 2014,

Welcome to the Anthropocene, video recording, Youtube, viewed 15 September 2014,

To Define the term…Big Data Is data that is so huge and vast it is difficult to understand and process. It is used across a variety of businesses including retail and banking. Its role in these sectors is to track customer spending and look at trends and patterns of consumers in which the company can better target their customers and make the most of having this information about consumers. This benefits both the business and consumer satisfaction. Health big data is the term used for the databases associated with the healthcare industry. It’s beneficial to the industry as it improves care and outcomes of patients, increases patient security, can bring useful information to create and improve health policies as well as eliminating unnecessary costs and burdens to the healthcare industry. It can be used by employees to foresee ongoing patterns and trends amongst people’s health, what potential risk factors patients have in common allowing better preventative care and improved targeted treatment. Organisations are using big data to collect patient information which can potentially contribute to building sustainable healthcare systems and increasing access to healthcare.

The Soon Chun Hyang Hospital in South Korea is an excellent example of where Health big data has been beneficial and successful. As the number of patients continued to rise, there was an increased need for efficiency meaning the time used for administration, processing test results and transferring patients needed to be greatly reduced in order for this to happen. The hospital believed that by having medical documentation on file such as X-rays meant they could continue to provide good service and care to patrons as different doctors would be able to access the results quickly and easily. Before the use of a big data system, the hospital used several IT systems in which employees had the tedious, time consuming job of loading patient information and data onto. These systems included Electronic Medical Records (EDM), electronic payment systems and Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS).

As the Hospital worked with IBM Technologies, a system was produced which combined all of these individual systems into one single datacentre. This had huge benefits for staff as well as patients as now the hospital can prepare data 95% faster which improves overall efficiency, lowering overall operating costs by 40%. By using a data system this also reduces the concern of potentially misplacing the original hard copy of the file or set of information.

This case study reflects the benefits of big data and the way in which it can be used to assist a company. I think this is a really great benefit for the healthcare industry if the data is used to assist patients and improve the overall quality and effectiveness of healthcare.


IMB Technologies, Harness your data resources in healthcare, accessed 16th October 2014,

IMB Technologies, Soon Chun Hyang Hospital augments its care experience, accessed 20thth October 2014, <;

Kivatinos,D. 2014, How big data is beginning to change how medicine works, Venture Beat News, accessed 20th October 2014, <;

Kuo,M., Sahama,T., kushniruk,A., Borycki,E. Grunwell,D., 2014, ‘Health big data analytics: current perspectives, challenges and potential solutions’, International Journal for big data intelligence’, vol. 1, viewed 20th October 2014, <;

Raley, Rita. 2013, ‘Dataveillance and countervailance,’ in Gitelman, L. (ed) “Raw data” is an oxymoron,Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, pp. 131-9.