Climate Conscious
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Climate Conscious

Future Job Descriptions for the Climate Adapted City

Posted in the City Herald, September 21, 2031

The pressure on our cities to adapt will be immense — rapid urbanisation, Covid-19’s disruption of our way of working, and climate change chipping away at our far-flung capacities to supply food and resources for city populations. As we begin to invest in climate adaptations for our cities there are a myriad of new markets, industries, and jobs that will emerge.

I see lists of ‘future jobs’ all the time, but this one is more nuanced and is directly related to the built environment make-overs that our cities will undergo in response to climate change.

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Job Descriptions for Adapted City (posted in the City Herald, September 21, 2031)

Ag-Bot Technicians

Our City’s agricultural sector is booming and you may have seen our robot helpers crawling about as they help tend our precious farms. Fortunately, we haven’t found ourselves in the Terminator future where robots build and mend themselves and take over the world, and now more than ever we need capable and inventive humans to keep our ag-bot fleet running.

As we continue to diversify our food growing capability on rooftops, in basements, on our towering green walls, and in our vertical farms, your role will be to maintain the City’s fleet.

Applicants with proven experience in robotics design and innovation are encouraged to apply. Your role may include regular public liaison (chatting with the locals).

Chief Heat Officer

The world’s first CHO was appointed in Miami back in 2021. We’ve learned a lot since then and this role will be critical in shaping City policy towards 2100. As extreme heat and heat events begin to impact our city this role has become critical to our life-support infrastructure.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

You’ll lead a team responsible for managing our heat resilience — for people, flora and fauna, building fabric and services, and energy supply. Our program of works through to the 2040s is focused on City retrofits — upgrading roofing, de-paving, supporting our urban forest strategy, liaising with the emergency management department, building community resilience, and supporting resilient energy and water supplies.

This will be a dynamic and vital job and will be best served by systems thinkers well versed in design thinking.

MaaS Technicians

Since the City switched to the Maas (Mobility as a Service) fleet model using Autonomous (and Electric) Vehicles we are always on the lookout for creative and innovative technicians. Even though the fleet is networked, the AVs still require maintenance and nurturing, and your role will include management of the network itself. They really are a friendly lot.

Photo by Pawel Nolbert on Unsplash

Dark Skies Manager

Now this is a job for a star. For all the stars actually.

Our citizens have strongly voted in favour of de-lighting our night skies, not only to bring back the stars but to better care for our nocturnal fauna — they’re part of the City’s ecosystem now.

You’ll liaise closely with the Night Economy Manager to balance the needs of health and safety with the needs of the sky. A background in electrical engineering or specialist lighting is highly desirable.

Being a natural night owl is also advantageous.

Night Economy Manager

Is it getting hot in here or is it just us?

As our City is hit with more heat waves and spiking temperatures, we’ve been systematically shifting many of our activities into the cooler night. We now have a truly 24-hour economy and are in need of a dedicated leader to manage the challenges of balancing public safety, energy, heat risk, and noise.

You’ll also need to work closely with the Dark Skies Manager — please get along with each other.

Photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

Clean Energy Ecologist

Calling all bright sparks!

The City’s renewable energy ecosystem has continued to grow and evolve since the early 20s. Our city-wide and city-owned network of PV (photovoltaic panels), batteries, and metering require regular tuning and finessing, and we simply can’t keep up with the incredible growth of the small scale plugins to our now City-owned electricity grid — so we’re looking for someone who is comfortable in a role that requires extensive liaison with the public.

A technical background in PV, wind turbines (and believe us when we say the City has every scale of turbine), methane digesters, mini-hydro, and new-age non-lithium batteries will be highly prized by the community.

You’ll also manage the ongoing rollout of our Thin Film program. Your role will include managing the fair and equitable distribution of green electrons to keep our community healthy, comfortable, and productive.

Head of Circular Resources

This role has no end in sight — for resources that is.

As Head of Circular you’ll be responsible for managing the City’s ongoing program in designing out waste and wastefulness across all sectors, including construction, manufacturing, textiles, healthcare, and agriculture. In this critical role, you will lead the City towards our Zero Waste goal which remains on track for 2040. Best suited to systems thinkers.

City Urban Ecologist

If you love the challenge of balancing nature with the built environment, then this might be the role for you.

You will be managing the systems integration of all living things within the City, such as balancing the urban forest and heat resilience ecology with the production of food, the management of open space and green infrastructure, the nurturing of the city’s flora and fauna, and the rich network of social spaces and places that these will support. Extensive collaboration with the wider City Resilience Team will be required.

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

City Permaculturalist

You’re a country kid who loves the City… or is that a City kid who yearns for the country?

A more sophisticated version of the ‘urban farmer’, in this role you will manage the balances between food growing and our built environment. Whilst your primary role will be to manage sustainable City food production, you’ll also have a role in city planning and zoning to help ensure that food growing facilities and farms are co-located with their customers.

This is a big role with multiple moving parts, and you’ll have a team of specialists reporting to you (see below).

Soil Managers

Like getting your hands dirty?

You’ll be responsible for managing the City’s soil health, fertility, and productivity across green infrastructure, open space, and urban farms. You’ll also oversee soil creation from organics waste. Relevant scientific credentials and/or experience will be required.

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

Insect farmers

Soylent Green is so 1960s. This is the future of sustainable protein.

Technically you’re an Entomophagist (the cultural and biological process of eating insects) but that’s a mouthful. And we think Insect Farmer sounds cool.

You’ll oversee publicly owned insect farms and manage the health and compliance framework for private farms. You’ll spend much of your time on rooftops, in basements, and eventually in the larger scale urban farm factories rich with plants, insects, and fish. If you’re ok with creepy crawlies then this might be the job for you.

Humorous job titles can be discussed during the interview process. Head of Bugs, Captain of Crickets, and Roach Boss may be considered depending on your personality.

Algae Farmers

The City’s latest food-tech innovation, our pilot algae farm has produced high-yield and carbon-negative nutrition for the City. We’re now ready to roll out the program city-wide. You’ll manage the integration of algae production into not only our food ecology but also the City’s circular resources systems. The Ag-Bot Technicians will also have a role in managing these photobioreactor algae farms.

Might be suited to introverts.

Orchardists

Since we switched to our Maas AV Fleet we’ve been able to not only pedestrianise the City but also re-introduce urban orchards as part of our City farming infrastructure. Through that program we unlocked another 30% of the City’s land area for green infrastructure and cleaned the air at the same time.

Many of our orchards now produce high volumes of fruits and nuts. You’ll manage both the physical challenges of orchard productivity, and also work closely with many of the other new roles including Chief Heat Officer, Urban Ecologist, Soil Managers, and the Circular Resources team.

Definitely an outdoors job, plenty of exercise, and willing to stop and chat with passers-by.

Photo by Damien TUPINIER on Unsplash

Apiarists

This role will give you a huge buzz.

We are always on the lookout for more apiarists to join the team. Working closely with the Entomophagists (you know — the bug people) you’ll manage the extensive array of beehives throughout the city, both public and private.

Hive health is critical to our City farms and you’ll help manage the hundreds of hives across our green rooftops, open spaces, and green grid. You’ll help maintain bee health, fixed and mobile hive health, and honey distribution, and will also provide support to privately owned hives as part of the City’s ‘honey is money’ partnership program.

Aquaponics Manager

There’s something fishy about this role.

You’ll be overseeing the City’s aquaponics infrastructure which now provides high-yield protein for the community. This role includes management of non-potable water supply, feedstock supply from the Entomophagists (you know — those bug people again), technical maintenance of the systems, and harvesting and distribution of produce (fish and greens).

If you have other skills that might help our City continue to tackle climate change through the way we adapt to it, then we’d love to hear from you. We’re making great progress and are tracking well against our 2040 Plan, but there is still much to do.

The pressure on our cities to adapt to climate change will force out a fascinating array of new industries, new forms of exchange, and new jobs. And as I’ve said before, the way in which we adapt can also be the way in which we mitigate climate change and tackle the causes.

To be honest, I’d jump at the opportunities that many of these jobs present.

Which one would you apply for?

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Digby Hall

Digby Hall

Climate adaptation architect, striving to help tackle climate change through positive adaptation. Think. Move. Act.

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