Speaking today (2 June 2021) at the Climate Conference of Finnish Communes on perspectives from literature on future cities and climate change.
A few takeaways from my talk:
- Literary perspectives are not (primarily) about communicating climate change or climate action. Rather, literature and other cultural representations provide important insights into the frames and language availabe to envision our complex relationship to the environment, about our agency towards the future – frames and language that guide how we can work towards solutions
- Future literary cities provide important information on the “what” and “how” of future urban infrastructure, but also about the qualia or “what it feels like”, including contextualized perspectives on possible turning points along pathways to the future
- Quotations from literary texts always need to be embedded in the broader framework of a particular literary work, genre, and period if we want to understand their functions and meanings.
- Future-oriented literature tells the reader first and foremost about the present moment (of publication), about the frames of knowledge at our disposal today, about what may be lost, and about our current possibilities of agency.
More on the subject in my recent article:
- “Rising Towers, Rising Tides: Competing Visions of the Helsinki Waterfront in Planning and Fiction.” In Markku Salmela, Lieven Ameel & Jason Finch (eds.): Literatures of Urban Possibility. London: Palgrave, 2021, 45-64.
Interview on the subject (in Finnish) here.