I came across this news article today…
A “world first” $1bn scientific ghost city will be built in New Mexico to test the latest next-generation technology.
Researchers will use the facility in Lea County, near Hobbs, to look at everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets.
The town will be modelled on the real city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, complete with roads, houses and commercial buildings, old and new.
No one will live there, although they could as houses will include all the necessities, like appliances and plumbing.
The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life.
For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars.
Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said: “It brings so many great opportunities and puts us on a world stage.”
The city will be built by Pegasus Holdings and its New Mexico subsidiary, CITE Development.
The Centre for Innovation, Technology and Testing (CITE) is being billed as a first-of-its kind smart city that will be developed on about 15 square miles west of Hobbs.
Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, said work on the city will begin by June 30 .
The initial development cost is estimated at $400m, although Mr Brumley estimates the overall investment in the project to top $1bn.
The project is expected to create 350 permanent jobs and about 3,500 indirect jobs in its design, development, construction and ongoing operational phases. (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/scientific-ghost-city-test-future-technology-005707004.html)
Now, put aside for a moment the issues they may have with squatters or the fact there are millions of starving people in the world and this might seem like it’s a good idea…
I’m sure they will make the money back from leasing it as a film set within a few years but it will be interesting to see what technologies are tested there. The conspiracy theorist inside me thinks it’s probably the first stage towards building an alien refugee camp like District 9 but we’ll have to wait and see…
Anyway, there is obviously a point to this post and I shall come to it now.
It got me thinking about whether there is a testing ground for stuff we do in church? Is there a safe and yet realistic environment for us to try out a sermon or a new song, a liturgical painting, a poem or those funky intercessions you’ve written? During my time as a youth worker it has always been ‘the evening service’ or another time when the main body of the church is not actually present to get upset. 10 years down the line and I’ve been let loose in main services but we’re always learing aren’t we so where do we get to try new things? It can’t be right that it’s only the long-suffering wife or dog or mirror that is our practice audience…
It worries me that so many churches are seeking such perfection in everything that they have removed all space to let people ‘have a go’. How can we bring an openness and spirit of graciousness back to our churches? I am keen to see gatherings and space for creatives to collaborate and produce wonderful new things for churches to use but this is surely a much deeper issue. This is an issue which has become engrained in our church culture and it needs to change…
‘In the world, not of’ comes to mind as I consider how church should look, work and communicate – have we (the church) taken on too many of the traits society pushes on us everyday?Lets create some space to try, to explore, to fail.