LESSON PLAN FOR ECOTOPIA 2121 WORKSHOP
The Ecotopia 2121 project works to predict and design for future super eco-friendly cities. Students of all subjects and levels, from primary school to PhD candidates, can emulate the design process of the Ecotopia 2121 project by following these three steps:
STEP ONE: Choose a city,
STEP TWO: Identify and outline the environmental problems that are prevalent in that city,
STEP THREE: Design (and illustrate) the future of that city as a 'green utopia' in which all the environmental problems, big and small, have been solved.
Obviously 'Step Three' is the hardest step. With my own students, I require them to create a 'narrative of transformation' (i.e. how their chosen city transforms into a super-green urban utopia). To do this, the students must get to know their chosen city very well-- to understand its history, culture, economics, politics, geography, and demography. It's tempting for many students to come up with purely technological narratives of transformation as though new inventions will magically transform an urban setting into a super-green and climate-friendly place. To get around this, a teacher can stipulate that their 'narrative of transformation' must have some social / societal elements.
To help and inspire you and your students, 100 sample future cities that followed this design process are showcased in the book ECOTOPIA 2121. Also many of these appear in the CASE STUDIES section of this project website.
Teachers may wish to note that there are variations of the Ecotopia 2121 design process which are variously called 'The Literary Method of Urban Design' and 'The Fantasy Method of Urban Design'. These variations might be more apt, perhaps, if you intend teaching within a 'design', 'humanities' or 'liberal arts' curriculum.
For an introduction to 'The Literary Method of Urban Design' you can access an edutainment movie through this news media article. (There's also a Spanish-language version of the movie here). For an introduction to 'The Fantasy Method of Urban Design', there is an article available in English and Spanish via this design magazine.