Inspired by a posting on Phyl’s Blog, I started thinking about how we can stop driving so much. The thing is that it’s fairly limited how many miles people drive for the fun of it. For most people, it’s all the short trips to work, to school, to the supermarket and so on that really add up to a lot over the years.
And so, in order to really reduce car usage, one has to prevent commuting and shopping. In theory, we could all work from home all the time and use home delivery from Tesco or Asda, but it’s not good enough. To work from home most of the time, we all need good video-conference equipment at the very least. I guess that would help with buying groceries on-line, too, because what is holding me back is not seeing what I’m buying – I want to see the apples (I really want to smell them too, but that might get possible in a few years’ time), and I want to see the expiry dates, so small robots with video cameras moving a trolley around Asda would do the trick for me!
However, even with perfect equipment, I think there’ll be a social problem. We’ll all go mad if we never have to go out any more. So I think the solution might be mixed offices in the neighbourhood. That is, one would go to an office five minutes’ walk away in the morning, log on to the computer and switch on the video conference equipment, and go home in the evening.
It would have some interesting consequences, though. For instance, the coffee breaks wouldn’t be with one’s colleagues, but with one’s office mates. And when one gets a new job, one would keep the old office.