Interactive Seminar 4 -Imagining a Desirable Future: Liverpool

Following a lecture on ‘Re-Imagining the Future’, I left with visions of a green utopia rife with social equality, justice and kindness. However, I couldn’t help that this mode of thinking was like attempting to revive my belief in the tooth fairy.

In this time of global pandemic, anxiety and uncertainty, it’s all too easy to revert to my British cynicism and curl up in a ball to wallow in my own self-pity. Yet, surely in these times more than ever it is essential that we live counter-culturally – in a hopeful vision. It is so obvious change is needed but how do we mobilise ourselves to be the instruments of change?

Well. The first step is deciding what changes you actually want to see taking place. Being in quarantine can be a time for much needed reflection. I appreciate many will not have this privilege(having been deeply affected by the spread), however, those who do I challenge you to do this activity as it will surely give you an energised and proactive outlook on your local and national community. (Instructions at the end of the article.

LIVERPOOL IN 2050

Following in the wake of the awful neglect and abuse Liverpool experienced under Thatcher(https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-22073199), I felt that it was really important to empower the people of my city. Pride is such a massive part of Scouse culture and by changing the environment and investing in the things that make community thrive, you cultivate that positivity.
I felt that it was also essential to invest in the young generation. The youth are the future and too often they’ve been left with no support or education due to neglect or a hard family situation. Gang violence and organised crime is huge in Liverpool because of its maritime location; by properly supporting young people and teaching them the severity of their life decisions whilst young, we can help prevent them from squandering their future and break the chain of neglect. There can’t be an up down approach. Kids don’t listen to middle-class priests who know nothing of their lifestyle- they need to hear it from people who have lived the same lives. Brotherhood and sisterhood is the way forward.
Liverpool is very fortunate in that it’s already quite a green city. However, there are many unused walk-ways and concrete structures which could be turned into green corridors for exotic species of plants, insects and flowers to thrive. Free city bikes and sheltered paths throughout the city would encourage an active lifestyle whilst simultaneously reducing car use. Public transport will be electric and cheap. Car use will be taxed heavily. Sockets for electric cars will be all around the city centre for those who do need to use cars.
Many can’t afford solar-panelled roofs, hence a financial incentive to reduce the price of solar installation and tax fossil-fuel sources would encourage progression towards green energy. Light pollution is also an existing issue so fewer street lights in low–crime areas and reduced hours would not only help save electricity but also help light pollution.
As a fight against global corporations and chains which exploit local businesses and out-buy them, family-owned industry would be encouraged. This is more sustainable and extremely beneficial to the local economy. It also brings a greater sense of purpose and community.
Left after the slave trade and industrial revolution, there are dilapidated warehouses littered across the waterfront and on the Albert Docks. Using council money, these could be renovated into new apartments to use as social housing. The new eco-friendly insulation and window efficiency would massively utility bills. The small, minimalistic apartments would be a great solution for over-population and offer a more sustainable way of living. Due to the central location, minimal travel is needed.

Here is the exercise I was given for this seminar, why not give it a go yourself? I’d love to see the results if you do so be sure to contact me!

The year is 2050, using your imagination, visualise a desirable version of the future focusing on one of the following:

  • a university
  • a town or city
  • a home

Create a visual mind map using any type of imagery you feel expresses your vision e.g. found objects, drawings/sketches, photographs, graphics, icons etc. (see examples below). You can use one of the above types of images or a combination. You can create this through collage, using digital methods, on a wall, window, floor etc. You may wish to use the lecture slides and notes as reference as to how to build on existing scenarios. Be creative and use your imagination!”

The three book extracts referenced are:

Extract 1. Porritt, J. (2013) The World We Made: Alex McKay’s Story from 2050. London: Phaidon Pp. 82

This extract from Porritt’s book set in the year 2050 is about a future college system that is more flexible, and student led.  

Extract 2. Hopkins, R. (2019) From What is to What if. London: Chelsea Green pp. 2-3

This extract is from the introductory chapter and is a story based on Hopkin’s vision of a desirable future. The extract focuses on his commute to work and hints at how food is produced and sold and how more emphasis is placed on health and well-being and work/life balance.

Extract 3. Gardner, G. (2016) Imagining a Sustainable City. In The World Watch Institute. Can a City be Sustainable? Washington: Island Press pp. 3-5

The first four pages of this chapter are a vision of what life in a sustainable city could be like. It describes commuting, energy use within the city, how the city is adapting to climate change and how the city has reconnected with nature.

Film. Age of Stupid (2008) Directed by Franny Armstrong  Link This is a film set in the year 2055 but unlike Jonathan Porritt’s vision this one is not quite as compatible with human existence.  In contrast this is an undesirable vision of the future for reference.

You may also want to look at:

I hope you enjoyed engaging with my creative shenanigans of dissent! If you so happened to find this topic interesting or have any questions/suggestions, I love a good chin-wag so please do get in touch. Thank you for reading!

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