As the speed of technological innovation accelerates, life in the twenty-first century metropolis is coming closer to fulfilling the predictions of science-fiction writers of decades past, and not always for the best. Many of the most apocalyptic scenarios envisioned by novelists—extreme overcrowding, conflict driven by climate change, the crisis of capitalism, mass uprisings—have also become all too familiar. Could it be that the solutions to today’s challenges are already written? What can architects learn from the wild speculations of their literary heroes? Two of today’s most acclaimed voices from the fields of architecture and science fiction discuss their visions for life in the near-future metropolis.
Architect, Founder, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and Cofounder, KiBiSi Design Group
Bjarke Ingels is renowned for his innovative approach to sustainable development and renewable energy, and his acclaimed architectural practice, BIG, operates within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research, and development. BIG was recently selected as the designer of a $335 million storm defense system to defend lower Manhattan from future floods, as well as the new Google campus in Palo Alto, California, in association with Thomas Heatherwick.
Kim Stanley Robinson
American science-fiction novelist
Robinson is best known for his award winning Mars Trilogy (1993–99), in which humans, in light of environmental catastrophe, are forced to colonize the planet Mars. His books address issues revolving around the imminent warming of our planet as well as the dark sides of capitalism and democracy. He has been invited to speak at multiple fiction and science-fiction conferences as well as the “Rethinking Capitalism” conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2011.
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