My vision for a future Prosperous Bendigo

Developed for the inaugural "Outside the Square" event in Bendigo. The video of the talk can be found here.

Welcome to Bendigo, March 27 2036.  My name  is Ian McBurney. I'm 58 and just became a grandfather. 

My son Tadhg has a screaming baby and doesn't know what to do with it and I have schadenfreude and I can't help him anyway because I've forgotten what it's like. 

I'm on cloud nine. The Australian cricket team finally made 200 in an innings yesterday, Carlton football club has folded, Karen Corr has been the mayor for twenty years and I finally have a hover board. 

So here is a day in my life. 

I woke up, got out of bed and gave my aging wife Claire a big kiss. 

I head out the front door and recycle a bottle. I laugh as I remember having a red bin. Nothing is designed for landfill anymore. Just like in nature, everything is designed for reuse and recycling. The Eaglehawk recovery shop employs hundreds to make inputs for industry. 

I walk to work. On the way I pass three local cafes, two parks, chat to five neighbours. I'm passed by hundreds of bikes and plenty of shared electric vehicles that I don't have to cross paths with. 

Remember owning cars? They sat there for 23 hours unused and we paid $10k for the privilege. I'm a member of Bendigo Carshare, Bendigo Carpool and a Bendigo person to person car sharing network. I now use a car twice a week and I don't judge my value by my car brand, but by how little I need it. 

As I walk I marvel at the lack of noise and bad smells as the web based goods hub at Marong now transfers goods in and around the town outside peak travel times in electric trucks and during peak times on scooters and bikes.  In real time.

There are veggies in front gardens, seats in nature strips where I can have a rest and the native gardens and wildlife corridors are gorgeous. We have really done well at bringing the bush that we love back into the city that we love.

As I walk there are children playing and I remember the first Child Friendly City plan when the city was dangerous for kids and made them car bound and increased obesity. 

As I walk I can't help noticing the glint off the north facing roofs as every house has replaced tiles and tin with a roof structure that collects solar energy. Sports clubs, council buildings, businesses and community halls are now part of the locally owned virtual solar power station. The rest of our power comes from the huge solar thermal plant up north and the three community owned wind farms in the surrounding small towns. 

I walk past three energy efficiency vans heading to businesses and houses. We have cut energy use by a third and created jobs in the process. 

I arrive at work at 10am. We all realized one day that we were working ridiculous hours doing meaningless work just to buy shiny stuff that then made us unhappy until we threw it in the bin. We now have more jobs for more people in more meaningful work. 

Thankfully the economic craziness of celebrity billionaires like Clive Palmer sank with titanic 2. Gina was on board, along with the Institute for Public Affairs and bank execs with bonuses over 30 million.  We had a bad case of Affluenza there for a while but we worked hard and we got over it. 

The sharing economy is thriving. Why own disposable stuff when we can share quality? My online reputation now matters big time. Without it life would cost a fortune. I share tools, food, shed space and my house on airbnb. 

Our economy and our environment and our society now thrive together. We grow local jobs, community, health and a diversity of ideas. 

Our manufacturing sector is remaking local things and exporting biomimetic products to the world. Bendigo Pottery is making self assembling ceramics at room temperature after learning from mother of pearl and Jimmy Possum is growing tables (water only once a week!) and our many small entrepreneurial businesses are collaborating and growing together in coworking hubs.

Our open spaces, lack of cars, seasonal food system and depth of community connections made much of our 2014 hospital redevelopment unnecessary. Half the building is now set aside for preventative health. 

Our environment is in recovery. We lost a lot and we will pay for it for centuries with extreme weather and impoverished ecosystems that struggle to provide clean air, water and soil.  We lost a lot but we didn't lose it all. 

Our economy is now designed around natures operating system:

Local and connected

Evolves to survive

Adapts to changes

Resource and energy effective

Life friendly. 

Integrates development with growth: self organising and bottom up. 

After work I catch the bus home. I have a conversation with a neighbour and we organise a BBQ. 

And then I'm at home. I love my home. My home creates excess renewable energy, collects, treats and celebrates its own water flows, has eliminated the concept of waste creates habitat for local native plants and animals, produces fruit and vegetables, celebrates natural light and air flows, releases oxygen, sequesters carbon and gains insulation from the living roof.  It's my favourite place. 

As I jump into my PJs I think about the effort we made to create our new city and economy. It was an amazing open ended, collaborative, ideas and action generating human movement. 

We realized that incrementalism was for losers. 

that top down was so 1850s, 

that change was everybodies job 

and that if enough of us WERE the Joneses the city would thrive and jump on board. 

And we realized that John Cage was right when he wondered why people were frightened of new ideas when we're scared stiff of the old ones. 

In 1890 the Bendigo gaslight board discussed electricity and their minutes record a hearty discussion about risk. They determined that electric lights would only ever be valuable for lighting large spaces like parks. 

In 1890 Lord Byron stated that heavier than air flying machines were impossible. 

In 1950 the IBM CEO said we would only ever have a global market for six computers. 

It makes me imagine the Easter Island Progress Association and their slogan "more statues = more growth"

Lets not be on the wrong side of history.