Sustainable

These Six Utopian City Of The Future Will Help You Re-Imagine Life On Globe

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Utopia, a book by English statesman, lawyer and rector Thomas More( 1487 -1 535 ), turns 500 years old this month.

A fictional rendering of social doctrine, the book describes an exemplary society on an imaginary island in an unknown place faraway across the seas.

Coined by More from the Greek ou-topos , meaning no place, or nowhere, the word utopia has become adopted in the English language to entail a place where everything is ideal or perfect.

In celebrating Utopias 500 th birthday, the Ecotopia 2121 project, of which I am the coordinator, is harnessing Thomas Mores spirit to predict the futures of 100 real cities around the world if they somehow managed to become super eco-friendly.

Of course, modern utopias required to eco-friendly to overcome the global environmental crisis. Dedicated that cities may be home to 80% of humanity by the end of the century, they can only be sustainable if environmentalism is one of their core features.

The cities of Ecotopia 2121 are presented in the form of scenario art, which involves a review of both global and local environmental challenges as well as their unique histories and cultural activities. This allows for a diversity of future scenarios rather than one common vision of the future city.

What you will see below are a series of artworks, but this is not an art project. We use art as an instrument of analysis and communication.

With that in intellect, here are six ecotopian cities of my own creation that emerged from the project, one from each inhabited continent.

Accra 2121

Accra, the capital of Ghana, is exposed to disastrous deluges every year. This has been made worse by climate change, as well as unregulated construction and dumping in and around its waterways.

In our imagined future, locals seek to procure housing above the floodline, by constructing low-cost tree cabins in the nearby forest.

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Accra 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

Ghana has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, but by 2121, the forest has become a home for some of its citizens.

Accras new residents would protect the forest ecosystem from those who would destroy it, such as the logging, mining and oil companies.

London 2121

In the summer of 2121, during an economic downturn, 100,000 pensioners take to the streets of London, the British capital, to protest cuts in pensions and education, shutting down the entire city.

They bring along their grandchildren to give them something interesting to do as they mind them. By summertimes end, the protesters hopelessnes at the governments poor response, so they take matters into their own hands, staging a permanent occupation.

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London 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

The pensioners convert some 20 km of London into a large eco-village, transforming unoccupied offices into homes, sowing garden lots on street corners, and setting up eco-businesses to trade products and services.

In the process, all the children get free education from their experienced elders in these different green arts and crafts.

Los Angeles 2121

The southern Californian city of Los Angeles once had a great network of tramways, but this was systematically bought up and then closed down by a group of conspiring auto-manufacturing companies.

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Los Angeles 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

As the worlds oil is depleted by the end of this century, vehicles will become useless and trams could make a comeback in Los Angeles. The unused superhighways could then be redeveloped into vegetated greenways. Such greenways are suited for pedestrians and cyclists, but they could also act as ecological corridors, connecting populations of wild plants and animals around the city that would otherwise be isolated.

Retired vehicles could then serve as part of the fabric of high-density houses, creating an architectural style whereby people live and work in smaller structures and within tighter-knit communities. This would entail cities such as Los Angeles would not need to sprawl further into the countryside and wild lands.

Rkohu 2121

Known in English as the Chatham Islands, Rkohu is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, 680 km southeast of New Zealand. Its the ancestral home of the pacifist Moriori people, who came to wear the plumages of the native albatross in their hair to symbolise peace during the 500 years they lived on the archipelago.

In the 19 th century, British sealers and Maori warriors from New Zealand detected the islands. The sealers decimated the colonies of the animals and introduced devastating diseases to which the Moriori had no immunity. Then the Maori staged a violent takeover of the islands, slaughtering or enslaving the remaining Moriori.

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Rkohu 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

The Moriori refused to give up their pacifist ideals to fight against the invaders. While this history suggests pacifism is merely going to get you killed or enslaved, the Moriori who survive today believe otherwise. They maintain that their pacifism meant that they lived in a peaceful society for five centuries.

By 2121, their small capital city on the lagoon is home to a peace school that expounds the virtues of pacifism to the rest of the world.

Salto del Guair 2121

The Guair Falls along the border of Paraguay and Brazil were once a natural wonder. The cacophonous thunder of their seven columns could be heard many kilometres away and, for many years, the falls were a major attraction. They were also the economic lifeblood of the nearby Paraguayan city of Salto del Guair, which flourished on tourism.

In 1982, however, the Brazilian military government blew away the boulders over which the water fell, to create a reservoir for a dam. Many Paraguayans mourned the occur of their much-loved falls.

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Salto del Guair 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

By 2121, though, both the falls and the city have re-emerged in splendid style. The dam has collapsed through neglect and local people have regained control of their land. They set about rehabilitating the falls as best they can, turning their home into a scenic eco-city that attracts tourists once again.

Tokyo 2121

After a nuclear meltdown just out of township, a vast radioactive cloud sweeps over future Tokyo. Everyone must be evacuated. A few hardy nuclear families tough it out in moonbase homes, which are impervious to radiation.

Everything these families feed and drink must be produced and recycled within these homes. When they step outside, they must don protective attire or moonsuits.

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Tokyo 2121. Alan Marshall, Author provided

But because Tokyo is suddenly depopulated, its not nearly as noisy and stressful as before. If hell is other people, as French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre indicated, then Tokyo 2121 is utopia.

Wildlife also rebounds, albeit in a mutated manner.

Why Ecotopia 2121 ?

These six scenarios are but a small sample of the 100 that were produced within the Ecotopia 2121 project. Some readers will be delighted and others confused by the method of the project and its results.

Part of the point of utopianism is to be provocative. If you like your future riddled with self-driving vehicles and the sorcery of nuclear energy, then maybe these scenarios are not for you. And youre likely to dismiss them as fantasy anyway.

But to study utopias and formulate alternative scenarios to how we are today live on this planet is not an escape into fantasy. It is an active response to the many technological fantasies cast about with extravagance and excess into our lives right now.

These fantasies bind us to an unsustainable and unlivable future. If Ecotopia 2121 is but a collecting of fantasies, at the least they would do less harm to the planet we live on.

TheAlan Marshall, Lecturer in Environmental Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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