Grapescapes & the Death of the Car
THE ECOTOPIA 2121 PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS THE SUPER-SUSTAINABLE FUTURE OF 100 CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD, 100 YEARS FROM NOW. TODAY, WE LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF "THE AUTO CITY" OF STUTTGART, GERMANY.
Stuttgart is the city where the automobile was invented at the close of the 19th century.
One hundred years later, the city still hosts the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
But one hundred years into the future, given the decline of fossil fuels and the diminished value of cars, and in concert with cities like Springfield and São Paulo, great ribbons of tarmac in Stuttgart’s suburbs will be dug up by guerrilla gardeners, who claim that good food is more important than excessive mobility.
By 2121, vineyards and vegetable plots will re-color the city from shades of gray into shades of green.
Some people will object, of course, to this total Greening of suburbia, but many officials will see value in supporting these activities, especially if it means they get more votes.
One particular horticultural output, the grape, used both for wine making and for food, takes over from the car as the iconic Stuttgart product. Within a generation, Stuttgart becomes famous for its urban grapescapes. And by converting a portion of the now defunct roadways into vineyards, intermixed with horticultural plots, the following eco-benefits will accrue:
• The grapescape will decrease food miles (the distance a food product must travel through its line of production).
• The grapescape will lower the ecological footprint of each food product (that is, the total environmental impact of each food).
• The grapescape adds greenery to the city, providing for a nicer environment and reducing harmful water runoff and soil loss.
• The grapescape can contribute to social inclusion and health (when the neighborhood comes together in a commercial or collective way to produce healthy salads and an income for the community).
• The grapescape provides for the productive reuse of urban wastes (both solid and liquid) as they are fed back onto the landscape to enrich the soil as fertilizer.
The city of Stuttgart does not ban cars altogether. It bans only mass-produced cars from factories. Those who want cars must build them from scratch by themselves from either sustainable products or salvageable parts. This practice liberates the locals from being mere consumers in a global market dominated by multibillionaire corporations and makes them producers of their own technology, so that they are much more involved in the creative processes.