Tomorrow’s Hot Spots

Everyone is looking at Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. But these conflicts are neither isolated from a larger context nor unique in their disruptive potential. We shift the focus: to Southeast Asia, to Kashmir, or to Taiwan. What are the unresolved tensions, and what solutions can we expect?

When Two Quarrel, a Third Rejoices

The resumption of diplomatic dialogue between India and Pakistan in late February 2010 shifted the focus back to the Kashmir conflict. Since the break-out of the war in Afghanistan it had become quiet around the conflict in the closeby region of Kashmir. But according to the CIA, Kashmir remains on

Moscow, Get Ready for Trouble

The already difficult situation in the south of the former Soviet Union is tightening up. The signs are hard to overlook: in Kyrgyztan there has been the second violent overthrow within a short time, the future of the republics Abkhasia and South Ossetia - annexed by Georgia in 2008 - is insecure, a

Social Fabric and the Internet

We are increasingly linked to global social networks. But what if someone decides to go offline - or if groups are somehow unable to participate in the new networks? The European takes a closer look at emerging patterns of communication and connectivity among the digital natives.

Forsake for Freedom

Humanity draws closer together. We know what people halfway around the world are doing, our actions have consequences for the whole globe. The tables, charts and bullet point resolutions that are criss-crossing the internet at incredible speed are so complex that they are almost useless. If we could

The Honesty of Online Politics

Even before the last federal election in Germany in 2009, the online political community was growing tired. They had waited for an Obama-like enthusiasm to materialize on the internet but had witnessed only the clumsy and ill-fated attempts of party politicians to give themselves a "cool" aura. Bori

Google Almighty

Anyone who attended one of the big media conventions last year could notice how frightened many of the attendees were. A panel at the IFA convention serves as a case in point: executives from big media conglomerates - among them UFA, Fox, Universal, MTV, the Alex Springer publishing house - and a re

Communication Quarantine

Let me start with a confession: when I went for a walk with my infant child yesterday, I stopped in the park, pulled out my iPhone and checked my emails. Work-related stuff, of course. I even responded to one of them. It was dark and cold, but the baby was wrapped up comfortably and asleep. So I che

Self-Sustained Living

Even a few years ago, the thought of self-sustained living might have invoked images of fringe activism. But advances in biofuels and solar technology have made it easier than ever to move off the grid without losing some of the amenities of modern life. But why would you?

Small is Beautiful

The greatest draw of autarchy is the possibility to take full responsibility for the world around us. Currently, we are becoming ever-more reliant on outside forces while also losing control over our own lives. But there is an alternative: we can take responsibility for the lives we lead, or for the

A Future Without Oil

In June, Lloyds Insurance and Chatham House issued a report called "Sustainable Energy Security: strategic risks and opportunities for business", which argued that "energy security is now inseparable from the transition to a low-carbon economy and business plans should prepare for this new reality".

Amish 2.0

At first glance, the Amish people in Pennsylvania have maintained the same lifestyle for centuries. The landscape is dotted with corn and soy fields, muckrakes, clothes lines, mechanical lawn mowers and horse carriages. But when you take a closer look, the beginning of the 21st century is becoming


Around the globe, cities are growing at a remarkable pace. Especially in developing countries, rural-to-urban migration is creating new administrative, infrastructural and social challenges. Can megacities address these challenges and provide a model for life in the 21st century?

People In Motion

The world is urbanising at a rapid rate. More people live in urban areas than rural areas and this figure will increase to 75% by 2035. A study I directed for Siemens in 2006 called “Megacity Challenges” showed that all cities are on the same development path. Initially we researched 25 megacit

The Global Slum

Along with global cities, we can observe the emergence of the global slum. Most slums are not global, just like most cities are not global. But some slums are positioning themselves as actors on global stages, often with distinct political tactics and a sort of prise de conscience. For instance,

Networks Matter, Not Size

There are now more megacities with an aggregate population of over 12 million than ever before. For the first time 50% of the world’s population lives in cities and by the year 2035 that figure will be 75%. City growth and resource utilization will be the critical factor shaping the world of the

The Green City

How to build social cohesion in rapidly growing mega-cities? Build parks. This is not to say that the systems for transportation, water and air quality, energy, housing, education and the arts can be ignored, it is simply to say that parks must be considered essential infrastructure for successful c


Communication Quarantine

Secretly checking emails, twittering from the restroom, online 24/7. How addicted to the "social media" phenomenon have we become? Markus Albert attempts to find out himself.

Google Almighty

Social media and Google are quickly becoming invaluable to our lives. By breaking with old structures, the little start-up emerged as the most dominant force of the Internet Age.

The Highlanders' Way

The Scottish National Party is governing from Edinburgh. Their central aim: independence from England. But this does not necessarily spell doom for the UK. Instead, we might see the emergence of new forms of partial sovereignty.

Tales from the Shire

The German federal government is relinquishing power to the EU in Brussels. Yet encouraged by the success of regional autonomy movements elsewhere, Bavarians want to bring politics back to Southern Germany - and closer to the people.

Moscow, Get Ready for Trouble

The long shadow of the Soviet Union can be felt even today. Around Russia, former republics and part-republics are experiencing turmoil across national and ethnic borders. If Moscow is not careful to play her cards right, destabilizing forces could soon become energized.

There is Always Room for Mysteries

Our understanding of the universe is continuously expanding. But every question that is solved only leads to new questions. Alexander Goerlach talked to Sir Martin Rees about astronomy, scientific certainty, and the role of religion in contemporary society.

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