I didn’t bring up the mode of teleporting where people just do it, from anywhere to anywhere, without any specific technology, because I don’t think it’s particularly likely. However, it does make an interesting perspective for how the world might change if everyone could “freecast” (Dan Simmons’ term for it from his series Hyperion/Endymion.)

First off, I feel like right now, people organize into communities based at least somewhat on who is around.  This is selective to some extent (I only hang out with people I want to, if I have people I already know in an area when I move there I tend to associate with them over others, etc.) but it is largely defined by distance as well.  I used to call this the Theory of Beats – as with two interfering waves, there’s the interaction of long distances (which is like the slow long wave) and the interaction of short distances (which is like the quick short wave bound by the larger wave).  If everyone could freecast, I get the sense that these communities would disappear to some extent, and “distance” would be more defined by emotional distance.  (For example, I might still stick around friends at work simply because I am closer emotionally to many of them due to how much shared experience we have.)

Secondly, what about the organization of cities?  Or more specifically, if you could imagine current cities as vestigial communities around a mode of transport (ports, usually, sometimes crossroads), what might they develop into over time?  In Simmons’ Hyperion, communities are connected over vast distances by fixed-portal teleporters, but when people are free to teleport from wherever to wherever, I expect that residential sections would transport entirely out of “city centers.”  If there even would be city centers!  It’s interesting that a lot of discovery in terms of new physical communities happens physically (I see a coffee shop, I follow friends somewhere) whereas freecasting would force it to act more like the Internet.