cover image Ecotopia 2121: A Vision for Our Future Green Utopia—In 100 Cities

Ecotopia 2121: A Vision for Our Future Green Utopia—In 100 Cities

Alan Marshall. Arcade, $35 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62872-600-8

In this curious and creative volume on ecological utopias, social scientist Marshall imagines what it might be like in 100 cities around the world in the early decades of the 22nd century, combining elements of ecological and social harmony. Marshall organizes his discussion alphabetically, beginning with Abu Dhabi and concluding with the Greek island city Zakynthos, and offers insight on both well-known cities and those that readers might never have considered. Marshall illuminates Reno, Nev.’s reputation for gambling and divorce and the manufacturing past of Wolverhampton, England. The latter’s mines and factories were said to have inspired “poisoned industrial” Mordor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The scenarios Marshall constructs for some cities, however, can seem far-fetched. He describes a future Florence, Italy, that features the invention and implementation of “smart biotoilets” that turn human waste into usable organic matter and nitrates. In Perth, Australia, he pictures imported camels enlisted “for both eco-friendly transport and heavy lifting.” Outfitting the animals with solar panels could generate additional power. Creative but occasionally preposterous, Marshall’s predictions for the future of Earth’s cities will likely appeal to eco-conscious audiences keen on science fiction and utopian fantasies, and should interest and entertain urban planners and policy advisors, too. (Oct.)