IF I’ve learned everything from watching science fiction – and I have – it is that beneath every shining utopia, there’s a dangerous and nasty dystopia dying to get out.
How many times have glistening spires, amazing technology and beautiful people become but a thin veil hiding evil space monkeys*/ killer robots* / android duplicates*/ brain sucking giant insects */ a tortured space whale (*delete as applicable).
But I just spent an hour travelling to the future – and it was wonderful, without a dark and terrifying secret in sight.
My journey through time took place courtesy of Terreform 1, described by their website as an Ecological Design Group for Urban Infrastructure, Building, Planning, and Art.
Basically they bring together artists, scientists, architects and anyone else who is interested to promote sustainable living now and in the future on the road toward an Ecotopia.
This has resulted in some remarkable and real ideas which are all detailed on their website, not as science fiction but as achievable goals. Reading them, I felt like Buck Rogers when he woke up after 500 years in suspended animation.
Terreform 1’s ideas include growing houses from specially designed trees, mushroom-shaped living spaces in future New York, and blimp buses which are self sufficient and clean the air as they go, with passengers hanging from tentacle chairs below.
Not enough for you? Then how about 3D printer robots building islands out of rubbish? Or buildings that are constantly moving and evolving?
Or jet-pack clouds that group individual units together to increase range, before breaking off as you near your destination?
If they all sound awesome, that’s because they are.
The most ambitious idea though is Future North – to float entire cities to the North Pole in gigantic ecotariums, to cope with expanded populations and flooding caused by global warming.
Staggering and mind expanding stuff, but if you’re thinking it all sounds a bit airy-fairy, tree-huggy for you, then think again.
Terraform 1 is overseen by project founders Mitchell Joachim (one of Wired Magazine’s 15 people Obama should listen to) and Maria Aiolova who are serious heavy-hitters, and their work has already featured in Popular Science, the TED Conference and the Observer.
But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself by clicking here to visit the Terreform 1 website and see what real visionary thinking looks like.
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- Terreform One Sustainable City (neatorama.com)
- Sustainable cities (guardian.co.uk)
- Don’t build your home, grow it!: Mitchell Joachim on TED.com (ted.com)