Activism

These six utopian cities of the future will help you re-imagine life on Earth

By Alan Marshall, The Conversation

Utopia, a book by English statesman, lawyer and clergyman Thomas More (1487-1535), turns 500 years old this month.

A fictional rendering of social philosophy, 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 mean a place where everything is ideal or perfect.

In celebrating Utopia’s 500th birthday, the Ecotopia 2121 project, of which I am the coordinator, is harnessing Thomas More’s 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 need to be eco-friendly to overcome the global environmental crisis. Given 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 cultures. This allows for a diversity of future scenarios rather than one common vision of the “future city”.

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