THE ENDLESS CITY

Hubert Blanz › Roadshow #02, 2007

Get used to it. The future is urban and in 50 years it may be weird to find people living in the countryside.

The UN planet-watchers have found not just that we are becoming an urban species but that the world’s cities are growing and merging with each other, forming vast “megaregions

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But what will it be like to live in the endless city?

The answer, says British environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, depends not on the size but what on what kind of cities we build. In Europe you can travel across heavily urbanized areas without even being aware that you are in a megalopolis. A long history of parks, open space, civic responsibility and good public transport has not divorced people from the natural world. “Sustainability can certainly be achieved in urban areas. Cities actually have some distinct advantages when it comes to energy use and transport,” says Porritt.

But life in the endless city would be psychologically intolerable without contact with  nature, he says. The vast city disconnected from the natural world and impossible to leave becomes a vast prison with potentially terrible consequences for both human society and the planet itself.

"The key is the degree to which the cities of the future allow people to live high quality lives. Without access to green space sustainability is impossible. Life must include a connection to the natural environment”

Jonathon Porritt


John Vidal  Adbusters #90: Whole Brain Catalog, 2010