The future of South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A popular app has created a vision for South Bend in the year 3017.

City leaders are also planning ahead for years to come and new technologies.

Design Home allows users to design rooms in different cities.

South Bend is one the mobile game features through Thursday, set in the future.

The general manager Design Home, Chris McGill says the setting has a purpose.

McGill attended John Adams High School, but now lives in California.

After visiting South Bend again a year ago, he was so impressed with the changes, he declared it as a futuristic city.

“It’s a city that can really be the nexus of a great futuristic place,” McGill said.

A city official says the future is not too far for South Bend.

City Chief Innovation Officer Santi Garces says South Bend could look completely different in just ten years.

According to Garces, traffic will be one of the first things to change.

He is working with other city leaders to plan ahead for self-driving cars that can communicate with other cars and traffic signals.

“Maybe the cars or the bikes are going to be talking to the intersections, and say, ‘Hey, I’m coming so can you switch the intersections?’” Garces said.

Travel will also be easier and quicker, according to Garces.

“It’ll be easier from you to go to South Bend and then maybe have a pizza in Goshen, then to Elkhart, then come back to South Bend,” Garces said.

The city is also looking ahead to automate suggestions and alerts based on residents’ lifestyles, locations and preferences.

“Maybe we’ll tell you there’s a closure in a road that you usually take,” Garces said.

However, Garces says in coming years, chances are most people will work from home.

“You could basically be at work without being at work. You just put on your virtual reality lenses,” Garces said.

All the new tools will require a bigger bandwidth, and the city is hoping to be the first to receive it.

“We’re working on is applying to this big research grant with the NSF to make South Bend the test bed for wireless technologies,” Garces said.

The new wireless technology would surpass 4G speeds.

“We want to be the city one of the cities where that type of technology gets developed,” Garces said.

The city finds out if they get the grant in October.

As for Design Home, McGill says he won’t rule out adding South Bend to the game again in the future.

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