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Book Launch

Book Launch | 2100: A Dystopian Utopia / The City After Climate Change

12/15 Thursday | 6pm

Fast forward to the year 2100. New York, along with Phoenix, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Manila, and many more of the world’s most populated cities, is irrevocably changed. Much of the earth’s great middle swath is subject to droughts, wildfires, and desertification, while increasingly frequent super storms plague coastal areas, destroying precious agricultural lands by bringing seawater far inland. Where in the world shall we live, and what will our built environments be like? The Institute for Public Knowledge’s working group on Cities, Cultures, and Climate Change invites you to join us for a discussion with architect Vanessa Keith in celebration of the release of her new book, 2100: A Dystopian Utopia / The City After Climate ChangeThe author will be in discussion with ecologist Eric Sanderson and architect Winka Dubbeldam.

In the 2100 world the book envisions, most of the earth’s population has moved poleward, now inhabiting compact megacities. Some, like Troll Antarctica, are new, while others like Moscow, Vancouver and Johannesburg have been redesigned and retrofitted as hyper dense settlements. These megacities are paired with the now largely uninhabitable extraction cities of the middle swath that now house smaller scale populations of temporary inhabitants. To accommodate the needs of a world population of 10 billion, the new compact megacities feature technologies such as clip-on architecture and high tech vertical farms while the old, extraction cities have become outposts that are being recycled and used for manifold purposes including renewable energy generation, carbon capture and sequestration.

How can we change our way of life to be more in keeping with natural systems and processes? Climate change unquestionably represents the biggest challenge to the continued presence of humankind on this planet, not to mention the many other species currently at risk. Managing and attempting to limit the effects of global warming should be our biggest priority, marshalling our collective will, energies, and creativity toward the achievement of a common goal. Although the work is speculative, its premises are supported by the latest climate research and predictions, while the design solutions proposed build upon existing and emerging technologies. The future the book envisions is dystopian but the work is utopian, in that it sees the best in human potential rising to the occasion. 2100 serves not as a prediction, but rather as a warning and a call to action. It offers architecture’s response to climate change’s most challenging scenarios with design solutions that suggest the profound adaptability of the design field to meet environmental challenges in the future. Through 2100: A Dystopian Utopia, Vanessa Keith and StudioTEKA visualize possible design solutions to suggest the profound adaptability and possibilities of the design field to meet environmental challenges in the future. The issue is framed by noted sociologist, Saskia Sassen, with her preface and advocacy of “delegating back to the environment”.

Vanessa Keith is a registered architect and the Principal of Studioteka, an award-winning design firm she founded in 2003. Studioteka approaches design through a multidisciplinary lens that spans the boundaries between architecture, economic and social development, and urban and environmental concerns. She is especially interested in innovative sustainable design and the issues faced by tropical countries as they adapt to climate change, and in envisioning design-oriented technical and engineering solutions to environmental problems. Her work has appeared in notable international design publications such as FrameHingeSurface AsiaDesign Bureau and Mark Magazine. She has taught architecture, urban and interior design, and economic development at such notable institutions as Columbia University and Pratt Institute, among others.

Winka Dubbeldam is Chair and Professor of Graduate Architecture at PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder/ principal of the New York firm Archi-tectonics. Her award-winning work, including the Greenwich Building and V33 building, has been recognized as much for its use of hybrid sustainable materials and smart building systems as for its elegance and innovative structures. She has also taught advanced architectural design studios at Columbia University and Harvard University, among other prestigious institutions.

Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and director of the Welikia Project and the Mannahatta Project. His work, including two scientific volumes and numerous scientific papers, has been featured in the New York TimesNational Geographic MagazineCNNNPR, and The New Yorker. In 2009 he published the book, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, illustrated by Markley Boyer, and has been working to expand this and related efforts at mapping the pre-European ecologies of the New York region.

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