Slum

On futurism

Tackling the challenge of sustainable urban design for the whole planet and not just for a few privileged countries or social groups, requires a vast stage in the imagination. A stage that hasn’t really existed perhaps for almost a century. A willingness to think beyond the horizon of neoliberal capitalism toward a global revolution that re-integrates the labour of the informal working classes as well as the rural poor, in the sustainable reconstruction of the built environments and livelihoods.

Now of course nothing could be more unrealistic. But one either embarks on a journey of hope, believing that collaborations between scientists, architects, engineers, ecologists and activists can play small but essential roles in making an alternative world possible, or one submits to a future in which our creators, our designers, are just the hireling imagineers of the lead alternative existences… planetary green zones – I’m talking about Baghdad, remember the green zone and the red zone – planetary green zones may offer theronic opportunities for the monumentalisation of individual visions; kilometre high skyscrapers in Dubai.

But the moral questions of architecture, planning and urbanism of a whole, can only be resolved in the tenements and sprawl of the red zones.

Mike Davis, speaking atĀ Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee

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