Chapter 4: The village in 2050

So let’s look into the future. Did our village achieve its ambitions for 2050, or have they succumbed to the pressures they face today?

The good news is our Parish Council held on to their vision, and worked hard to make it happen. As a result, the village is thriving: more people, a mix of businesses and services, and a reputation as one of the greenest places in the County. There’s a picture of the village in 2050 below.

What’s changed?

  • The village has grown. The last thirty years have seen 130 new houses built. There are 395 new residents. Those houses were carefully planned to make sure the village retained a mix of residents. They are well known as pioneers, opening the county’s first inter-generational housing scheme 2027. No ‘care homes’ separating the older generation from the rest of the community.
  • Better broadband connections meant they were able to create space for business in new and converted buildings in and around they village. They are now home to nearly 30 small businesses, employing 122 people.
  • The village made a real effort to cut energy use, and generate locally enough to meet their needs. They’ve achieved that, with renewable energy generation through turbines, solar panels and an anaerobic digestor. They’re proud winners of the Hampshire Zero Carbon Communities award – several times over!
  • One of the businesses that set up in the village in 2033 is a social enterprise, part owned by the Parish Council. They run a community pool of autonomous electric vehicles, alongside the newest generation of ‘intelligent’ buses, which plot routes based on requests made by customers. You can even hire an e-bike there!
  • Nature has come back into the village. There are two micro-rewilding sites, along with meadows and woodland managed for nature. Regular surveys show that biodiversity has increased three-fold in the past thirty years. There is a network of wildlife walks which are well used, and an active network of volunteers dedicated to maintain and improving space for nature. The local GP says being able to spend time in these areas has helped so many people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
  • The Parish Hall has become a thriving community education centre offering everything from primary learning to e-learning degrees. It’s helped give some people the training to start new businesses locally, and others the knowledge to improve the local environment. And it’s proved an invaluable resource for so many community groups.
  • The NHS agreed in 2027 to put Hampshire’s first community wellbeing hub in the village. An extension to the Parish Hall, it’s a base for so many different services which help keep villagers of all ages well in their own community.

Technology has been at the heart of the village’s transformation. Early on the Parish invested time and effort in exploring creative new ways of doing things. People of all ages and backgrounds were given the skills they needed, and in turn they came up with ideas. Being digitally aware and knowledgeable helped them shape the future.
But people have remained at the heart of the village. Technology has always been a tool for making lives better.

The village in 2050 (Click image to see full size)

You can find out how these changes have affected the lives of Bill, Eileen and the other residents by looking at our Characters.

Chapter 5: How can we make this story come true?