Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scottie, Beam Me Up to the Polar City!

Deng Cheng-hong's depiction of a model "polar city", circa year 2500 A.D. Polar cities are an adaptation concept for future generations living on a ravaged planet long after those of us doing the ravaging have said goodbye.

It's also certainly interesting to note that this concept isn't that far out there either. Although in the 70s and 80s we were sold The Jetzens and Star Trek-like visions of the future, none of us have a flying car yet, and hello, it's like, 2008 already! So, it seems reasonable to imagine that with the flood of news related to peak oil and other environmental limitations, including a bunch of wild cards yet to be dealt by global warming, our offspring may be living in the poles while we will never own a flying car or be beemed up anywhere within our lifetimes. It seems even more reasonable to wonder if the recent opening of the seedbank in Svalbard, where "Norway blasted the...Vault deep into the permafrost of a remote Arctic archipelago to protect as many as 4.5 million of the world's agricultural seeds from climate change, plant epidemics, natural disasters or war," couldn't be the very first stones cast as the foundations for these future milieus.

If you've got the time, there is a wealth of information on polar cities in the comments section, as well as some provocative debate on the global warming issue.

1 comment:

dan said...

Thanks for a nice post here. And yes, re: "It seems even more reasonable to wonder if the recent opening of the seedbank in Svalbard.....couldn't be the very first stones cast as the foundations for these future milieus."

Yes, I do believe that that image of the Doomsday Vault, splashed across newspapers around the world last month, did lay the first stones of the mental foundations for what might come later. But it won't be seeds inside the next generation Doomsday Vault, but people, our descendants, maybe 30 generations down the road.

The New York Times reported on polar cities last month, too, on March 29 in the Dot Earth blog. I am now in the process of putting a non-profit foundation think tank into gear, with help from some people in NYC, to give the idea of polar cities more substance.

And there are plans for a model polar city, to be tested with volunteers, maybe in the summer of 2015 if funding comes through. As a PR tool to create more awareness about what might be coming down the pike. For now, the mainstream media will not touch this topic with a ten foot pole, other than that recent New York Times blog post.

A new name for these polar cities, which won't necessarily by at the poles per se, just in northern areas above Montreal and Juneau and Oslo: Model Adaptation Retreat Systems, or MARS, so one might even call them Martian cities, too.

But we still have a long way to go, I am guessing year 2500 or so.

There is also a new initiative called the GLOBAL ROLL CALL, at

Sign up, DIY style.

Yes, keep thinking out loud. Love your blog posts.