Utopia is a centuries old concept. The English statesman Thomas More coined the term in the early 16th Century to refer to a fantastic idyllic island in a book he also titled Utopia.
In this case study from The Ecotopia 2121 Project, More’s hometown of London is transformed into a Green utopian city.
The story of how London 2121 is born proceeds something like as follows:
In mid-21st Century London, it is probable that public parks will begin to disappear, ripped-up to make way for corporate skyscrapers and highways and airports. Meanwhile, inner-city schools will also fall into disrepair and decay.
The quality of life for those of pensionable age will also likely plummet as economic and demographic challenges promote austere cutbacks in pension payments.
The two groups of society that suffer most from all these problems will be the young and the old. Until – that is – a series of events brings them together in profound collective social action.
Firstly, in an effort to energize children to become responsible citizens, the Greater London Council grants voting rights in its city-wide elections to all children aged twelve and above.
Secondly, Grey Power protests, comprising nearly a million angry pensioners, close-down the middle parts of London for months on end. Because it is summertime, and school is out, the grandparents amongst the protesters also bring their grandchildren along with them. In a united front, they stake-out a right to adequate pensions, to a healthy and safe city environment, and to free life-long education.
Because the protesters have closed the streets to traffic, London’s air quality improves dramatically. This does not go unappreciated by the other residents of London. This includes the hospitals, too, who soon face far fewer admissions related to respiratory problems.
The Grey Power protests then grow Green as environmentalists join in to support a common cause.
With the Government holding fast to a program of austerity, though, the protestors must pursue a yet more radical approach. They move to occupy and convert twenty square miles of central London into a massive eco-village; transforming unused offices and empty luxury apartments into communal homes, whilst sowing gardens on street -corners to grow food. Then they start setting-up small sustainable businesses to trade amongst each other.
The walls of the Tower of London are also deconstructed and repurposed to cordon off the developing eco-village from the smoggy noisy rest of London.
The Grey Power protesters then invite all of the children of London for free daytime instruction in the skills of urban horticulture and eco-business.
Thus, a 'Green Utopian' London is born, London 2121; a place where previously marginalized citizens can learn and teach and work and play in a safe and healthy clean environment.
The brief history of 'London 2121' is featured in this article by The Independent and in this short educational movie. For the full 'London 2121' story, check out the book: Ecotopia 2121. The Museum of London also features 'London 2121' in its London Visions exhibition (open from January 19th to April 15th, 2018).