When? (And the Art of Car Maintenance)
The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow overcome all environmental challenges to become super-ecofriendly. This month, we highlight the future of Havana.
Havana, the largest city of Cuba, has been forced into becoming quite an ecofriendly city by stint of international relations. In 1959, Cuba’s foremost trading partner, the USA, launched an embargo against the island nation when Fidel Castro took power for the Communist Party. Within a very short time, the Soviet Union stepped in to become Cuba’s new foremost trading partner. However, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so did a huge amount of Cuba’s trade.
These massive barriers to trade meant that Cuba couldn’t import automobiles or the oil to run them. The main solution, still in evidence today, was to skillfully maintain the old cars that were already in the country and to conserve oil. The sudden demise of Soviet trade also meant Cuba couldn’t buy fertilizers and pesticides, nor feedstock for animals. The main solution to this problem was to re-set agricultural industry to be organic and more plant-based and to encourage city-dwellers to make urban gardens. The latter has resulted in more than 35,000 hectares of land still being used for urban agriculture nowadays in Havana.
Now Cuba may be on the cusp of reintroduction into the global trading market and perhaps the USA is set to become its major trading partner once again. In the coming decades, there’s bound to be a battle for the future of Cuba; should it be industrialized and trade in manufactured goods, or should it become even Greener somehow? In a way, this debate will benefit the Communist Party since the focus will not be on democracy versus dictatorship but instead on industrial socialism versus Green socialism.
In Havana 2121, they’ve settled on a program of Green Socialism with isolated spots of foreign-funded industry. In this way, if there is any sort of crises, the government can just blame some specific foreign company and send them out of the country.