Shenzhen, 2060

Sean Song
3 min readNov 5, 2020

Shenzhen is a fast growing city, from 1980 to 2020, its population rocket from 330 thousand to over 20 million. There is not any single one growth like this, ever.

In the past couple weeks, people celebrate its anniversary. I lived in here since 2003 and felt the passion and happiness of Shenzhen citizen. I’m more interested in thinking about what would Shenzhen be in the next 40 years.

First of all, I always like to start with why? Why Shenzhen is special? What makes the city Shenzhen? My answer is its DNA: bay area, immigrants, far from political and economical centers. These are special and looks a little bit like Silicon Valley. Of course Shenzhen grows with the gigantic Chinese economy. Innovation is the key. And the Shenzhen culture is all about Efficiency.

Based on all these, I see a very special future of Shenzhen in 2060. How to innovate for a city to improve its efficiency to next level? We need to improve transportation efficiency. Current transportation is all the same as 2000 years ago: 2 dimensional with only 1 direction. The efficiency was improved just by the power source, from human to animal, from animal to chemical, now to electrical. If we can fundamentally re-design transportation to 3 dimensional with multi directions (angles). The efficiency is hugely improved. It is simple: hug problem in lower level dimension can be easily solved from upper level dimension.

There is no traffic jam any more. Currently on the ground with all the roads, cars run sequently. In the space, flying cars go with dedicated paths. The network of stations is just like the telecom base station topology, people transport from suburb to suburb and after get off the flying car, take a scooter or walk to the destination. And most of all, roads on the grounds are not straight. Air roads can be straight. So now Futian CBD to Shekou Ferry takes about 1 hour. In the air transportation it can be less than 15min.

Another important benefit of air transportation is the scarce land is given back. Shenzhen as a fast growth city, in central areas land are very scarce. So with air transportation, current land for roads are all available. More efficient transportation and more lands, people can live in suburb areas with much bigger living space.

Let’s imagine the life in Shenzhen in 2060. In the morning, I wake up from the big house naturally, go swimming in the back yard then a nice breakfast with news and music. At 7:30AM, the air car landed at my back yard to take me to work. It flies 30min to the central area, landed to the roof of the building. At 8:00AM I’m meeting with a global team with telepresence meeting systems just like we sit together.

In city transportation by air car, cross city transportation by high speed train. Cross ocean transportation by Space-X. With improved transportation efficiency, the city generates more power than the previous decades. I look forward to seeing the new generation of city life.