Vanessa Keith’s Interview in A People’s Climate Plan for New York City!

October 12, 2019

Vanessa was interviewed on Studioteka’s climate research and her book, 2100: A Dystopian Utopia — The City After Climate Change, as part of Climate Action Lab‘s ‘living document,’ A People’s Climate Plan for New York City? This publication emerged out of a year-long series of workshops aimed at rethinking approaches to the climate crisis. Earlier this year, Vanessa spoke at a day-long workshop organized by CAL at CUNY. This event brought together “activists, researchers, and artists to reimagine climate politics through the lens of the city as both the frontline impact-zone and the potential source of grassroots, artistic, and scientific alternatives informed by the principles of climate justice.” Thanks so much to Ashley Dawson for the invite!

Here’s more about People’s Climate Plan:

“This pamphlet aims to promote ongoing conversation, organizing, and speculation about popular climate planning at a city-wide scale beyond the important yet limited version of the Green New Deal that has been recently adopted by the city with the Climate Mobilization Act.”

Here is a part of Vanessa’s interview:

“When we started the research for the book we decided that it
would be an important aspect of the work to portray, in a very
visual and visceral way, what some of these potential future
places could actually look like some 80 years from now. We
wanted to catapult the reader into this new reality and have it
seem as immediate and real as possible, and therefore also

“Make no mistake, however, this is not a future that any of
us want. What we are presenting is a dystopian utopia. But
imagining humanity able to collectively roll up our sleeves,
rise to the challenges we face, and design our way out of this
mess is something that we just hadn’t seen done elsewhere.
So there was a void to fill.”

“We also wanted our strategies to be based on solid research and
implemented across the world in a wide range of sites all facing
very different challenges. There are a lot of dry scientific papers
and doomsday apocalyptic blockbusters already, and none of
them seem to be touching the public imagination sufficiently to
spur the kind of massive paradigm shift that is really necessary
at this point. We felt that in order to encourage people to make
that shift, we needed to present a future that is something
that we can envision as being believable, achievable, positive,
and something worth collectively striving towards, otherwise
people will just give up or stay in a state of denial. That is not
something that any of us can afford at this point.”

We looked across a wide range of sources in doing the initial research for the project, and took into consideration a myriad of factors influencing human, animal, and ecosystemic wellbeing. What would make the best type of environment in each particular place, given future projections? Could we envision a future that fused the urban with the natural world into a seamless, integrated system? Could it be possible to reconsider the role of waste, of energy, of how the economy functions, how we live and work, in order to bring the human and natural worlds back into a more balanced and reciprocal relationship? These are some of the questions the book asks and answers.”

“What the book portrays is a world in which we have hyper-dense
megacities, small outpost settlements, and wilderness. Cities
are walkable, energy is renewable, and every inch of the built
environment is used in multiple ways for everything from food
cultivation, to energy generation, to providing a habitat for wild

“The future we are envisioning is one in which we as a planet have come together to do what is in the best interest of humankind and the natural world: to live within our collective means without overtaxing or overburdening natural systems.”

Find out more here:

And a link to the full document is here!

Asking and answering questions!
Could our cities be a fusion of nature and culture? What potential utopias can we use this crisis to imagine for ourselves?
Rainforest reforestation in Sao Paulo
Elevated structures form a habitat for people, plants and birds in Johannesburg