The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow surmounted all environmental challenges to become super-ecofriendly. This month, we highlight the future of Prague.
In the 19th century, the struggling artists of Europe’s biggest cities often grouped together in low-rent neighborhoods to live a lifestyle described as 'Bohemian'; a title derived from the commonly supposed domicile of gypsies (i.e.: the province of Bohemia). The Bohemian lifestyle rejected conventionality and celebrated personal freedom, usually through some form of art. It also involved vagrancy and voluntary simplicity and a willingness to undermine the purity of an obnoxious thing called the work ethic.
Prague, is the capital city of the province of Bohemia, within the modern nation of the Czech Republic. In the scenario presented here, a Prague of 2121AD, Bohemians of the lifestyle kind have traveled from around the world to be in Bohemia, the Czech province.
They are lured there by the self-described desire of Prague's 22nd Century mayor for Prague 2121 to be a center for 'world art'. Where Paris, London, and New York might attract artists with ambition or entrepreneurial talent, Prague 2121 attracts artists with spirit, with a sense of humor, and with an intellect.
It also helps that Prague 2121 has adopted 'the basic universal salary' and is also developing a 'basic universal political power' to spread civic decision-making more fairly and more sustainably as well.
When the Bohemians of Prague 2121 do manage to sell a piece of work, the funds are used to pay their back-rent, and anything left-over is spent with their friends over the course of a single night. Since they reject consumerism and volunteer to live simply, they do not use up superfluous resources nor produce much waste. As the Bohemian lifestyle becomes fashionable, more of Prague’s citizens see how life can be more satisfying with fewer material possessions.
"There are no roads in Bohemia". So said Gellet Burgess, a famous lifestyle Bohemian based in California during late 19th Century. For many, this phrase is to be taken figuratively; to indicate that each person has to find their own road in life. But here, in Prague 2121, it is interpreted literally. The roads of Prague, once filled with sad lonely people in noisy private cars, are disrupted and subdued by landscape artists that close the roads off, one-by-one, in overnight landscaping frenzies; pedestrianizing and ‘socialising’ the tarmac into new urban parks and plazas. So modified, they become more suitable for artistic pursuits, and for parties.