[This is the sort of post that regularly goes up on my new blog with Jon Wilson, /recomedia. If this interests you, you should subscribe to it’s RSS feed.]

Sean Kennedy today linked to a TED talk in his weekly shownotes for his NewsReal podcast. He rightly likened it to his very prescient vision of the future he described in his dark future audio drama series Tales from the Afternow.

image If you haven’t set aside the twenty or thirty hours required to check out the drama, you definitely have been missing out.  I mentioned the series in one of my early posts to Mashable, where I talked about a concept explored in the series called the Listener License:

TFTAN portraying a post apocalyptic Earth ruled by roving gangs and mega-corporations. The concept he describes in the series, though, is based on what he sees as the growing grasps for control of media by the big nine media conglomerates in America, and their politicians in the various governments of the world. Listening to the series, it is clear that Sean is envisioning what may certainly be called a worst-case scenario, where your Listener’s License not only serves as the enabler to participate in creation and enjoyment of any type of media, but as your primary source of identification in the information (and post-information) age.

We’re inching towards the listener license, but we’re not just getting close to another reality described in the series, we’re there – the prevalence of squatter towns.

The talk embedded below is relatively short by comparison to most of the TED videos I’ve seen – a poignant fourteen minutes or so.  It’s done by a journalist, Robert Neuwirth, who seems to exclusively focus on the topic of squatter cities in his work, having travelled to Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul and Mumbai in research of his work.

The talk is told in the style of a journalistic piece. He isn’t advancing any particular agenda, it seems, so you can watch without feeling preached at.

TED Talks: Robert Neuwirth: The "shadow cities" of the future

The first instince for most of us watching the imagery of some of these squatter cities, or as they’re sometimes called, slums, is that we need to get Sally Stuthers on the job here and help these people out.

If the statistics and projections being presented in this talk are correct, though, these are going to be increasingly common in the future, and those that are there are there due to some degree of choice.  Certainly, if many of them had the chance, they would live in a billion dollar mansion, but the recurring theme mentioned as to why they live there as opposed to living on the grid or in more rural and serene setting has to do with the freedom afforded with making their own luck and destiny they have there.

It sounds like a bizarre concept, but makes sense, to a certain degree. One of the comments on the video put it succinctly:

These people value their freedom. They are running away from exactly what you want to impose on them. The don’t need re-distribution of wealth. Who would be the one to decide who has to give up wealth and who receives the loot? Whoever that is is who these are running from. They want to earn their own wealth and not have it taken away from them.

They don’t need protection from eviction. They know the date rent is due and they will do anything possible to make sure it is paid by then. The payment of their rent is all the eviction protection they need.

They don’t need injury compensation for an accident, that’s just your American (or Anti-American) sense of entitlement talking. While unfortunate, the accident is just one of the growing pains these people will go through. When they are allowed to achieve their potential you can be assured that they will design their streets and building so as to prevent such accidents.

Food for thought.