Since 2016, Shell has been inviting university students to imagine the future of more and cleaner energy in Asian and Middle Eastern cities and how it will change the way we live, work and play.

Key Dates for Regional Finals 2022/2023:

Deadline for registration: 13 June 2023, 1700hrs SGT

Deadline for submission: 30 June 2023, 1700hrs SGT

Regional Finals: 10 July 2023, 1400hrs SGT

How today's youth see our world in 2060

A world where holograms surround you, buildings are made of self growing concrete and living underground is a compelling option.

These are some of the ideas that the Singapore undergraduate teams discussed in the 7th edition of Shell Imagine the Future Scenarios Competition.

Each year, student teams pick a city of their choice as they answer the question, “What will more and cleaner energy look like in an Asia Pacific or Middle Eastern city in 2060? How will residents live, work and play?”.

The winner, Team Dhaka2060, from the National University of Singapore, painted two futures of the Bangladeshi capital in 2060. They will go on to compete in the regional finals. Coming in second with their scenarios on Bangalore is Team North Hill Republic from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). In third position, Team Urban Rethink also from NTU who explored scenarios on Bangkok in 2060.

Imagining Dhaka City in 2060: Green Straitjacket versus Silicon Delta by DHAKA2060 from National University of Singapore

DHAKA2060 from National University of Singapore

In a future where climate change and overpopulation are unavoidable, we consider two divergent scenarios predicated on two major critical uncertainties; the energy security of Dhaka city in both its energy mix and supply chain, and the degree and nature of government controls.

In Green Straightjacket , Dhaka’s energy supply comprises a highly diversified network of domestically produced renewables, with minimal reliance on foreign states. Crucially, the supply and provision of energy is wholly controlled by the state. The city resembles a command economy, coordinating statutory boards and energy suppliers to ensure a largely equitable and steady delivery of power to consumers. With an abundant and stable energy supply, production is streamlined, and more resources channelled into exploring emerging markets in technology. Nevertheless, such reliance on state direction is not without flaws. As Dhaka enters a new surveillance state, individual agency is largely forfeited, with complex artificial intelligences deployed by the government to ensure compliance. The way people work, live and play is confined within state planning and permission, in order to secure a sustainable future.

In Silicon Delta, Dhaka is a hub of foreign investment and opportunity, becoming a primary technological center in Asia. The city is heavily reliant on its allies for renewable, clean energy supply. In the spirit of a free market economy, the government imposes minimal to no capital controls. Yet, such decentralisation of the energy supply chain spurs strong competition between domestic and foreign corporations involved, contributing towards uncertainties in pricing and accessibility. Moreover, dependency on foreign energy imports leaves the city vulnerable to energy shocks, price inflation and political turbulence in its supplier nations. Nevertheless, uncertainty need not be detrimental. With reduced state surveillance and an abundant energy supply, entrepreneurial ways of harnessing technology emerge for instance, to streamline public services and make utilities more accessible. The city thus becomes a canvas for individual expression, sometimes for the betterment of society and at other times profligacy of public resources.

Imagining Possible Futures of Bangalore City by North Hill Republic from Nanyang Technological University

North Hill Republic from Nanyang Technological University

Team North Hill Republic analyses the present situation of Bangalore City, India, and evaluates how the critical uncertainties, namely the pace of technological growth and the nature of environmental efforts made, may affect how people live, work, and play in 2060.

The team imagined two futures: Kannagi’s Anklet and Lakshamma’s Fort.

Kannagi’s Anklet

In our first scenario, titled “Kannagi’s Anklet’’, Bangalore prioritizes aggressive technological sector growth, whilst efforts to deal with the environment heavily focus on adapting to the consequences of environmental issues the city faces. The city is powered by many cutting-edge innovations, such as Artificial General Interface (AGI), Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), and Virtual Reality, revolutionizing the lives of many citizens. Bangaloreansdisplay resilience in adapting to harsh environmental conditions such as flooding amidst this bustling technological hub.

Lakshamma’s Fort

In our second scenario, titled “Lakshamma’s Fort”, Bangalore transitioned toward environmental efforts that tackle root causes of environmental problems, while experiencing a slowdown in the growth of the technological sector. The city is re-developed according to sponge city concepts and dotted with developments such as Self-Growing Concrete and green spaces for relaxation and bonding. While the city may have lost the crown of the “Silicon Valley of India”, it has certainly strengthened its title as the “Garden City”.

Imagining the Future of Bangkok 2060 by Urban ReThink from Nanyang Technological University

Urban ReThink from Nanyang Technological University

SCENARIO 1: P̄hū̂bạỵchākār[ผู้บัญชาการ]

(Commander, MBTI: ENTJ)

(Aggressive adoption of technology + Unfocused social welfare)

Fast-forwarding to 2060, is when Bangkok adopts technology aggressively, taking risk for increased efficiency and productivity. This enabled multiple technological breakthroughs and engineering marvels. The smart water city is one such example where the water is utilized and incorporated into the architecture of the city. Buildings are free to move with the water level, making Bangkok the most flood resilient city. In terms of culture, due to the convenience of hyperloop, Bangkok has become the common place for sharing of different ideas, traditions, and knowledge from people across the region. However, technological advancement comes at a cost of widened income inequality and a stifled population where everything is monitored, with AI playing a role in peace keeping.

Question for Thought: Is it considered progress if not everyone gets to moves forward together?


SCENARIO 2: Kngs̄ul[กงสุล]

(Consul, MBTI: ESFJ)

(Passive adoption of technology + Focused social welfare)

Stepping into 2060, Bangkok seems to lack behind on technology due to the continuous passive approach. Existing or matured technology is introduced in Bangkok only when there is a need or a problem that has surfaced, setting back the advancement of Bangkok. “Living on water” has become a norm with Bangkok decentralized and becoming flood resilient. Despite the setbacks, Bangkokians are happier than before with large support in healthcare, education and maintaining social equality. Bangkok has slowly evolved to a Health tourism hub for professionals and the aging population. The needs of the people are the main drivers of Bangkok’s urban planning and advancement of technology, pushing the urban greenspaces, start-up trend, VR and AR to rise by 2060.

Question for Thought: If something is not broken, do we need to improve it?