Festival of the Future City

What Happened to Utopian Cities?

What Happened to Utopian Cities?

In the late 1960s the world was faced with impending disaster: the height of the Cold War, the end of oil, and the decline of great cities throughout the world. Out of this crisis came a new generation that hoped to build a better future. Douglas Murphy (author of the forthcoming Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture) discusses utopian cities of the past and future with Darran Anderson (author of Imaginary Cities, which demonstrates that each city dreamt up by artists, writers, architects has a real-life equivalent) and futurist Melissa Sterry. Chaired by Jonathan Derbyshire (Prospect).

Speaker biographies:

Douglas Murphy is an architecture critic, journalist, academic and designer. He trained as an architect at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, and is currently architecture correspondent at Icon magazine, as well as writing for a wide range of publications on architecture, fine art and photography. His first book, The Architecture of Failure, was published in 2012. His second, Last Futures, will be published in 2016. He has taught and lectured at Oxford University, UCL, The Royal College of Art, The Architectural Association, ETH Zurich, Historical Materialism Conference, The London Art Fair and London Design Festival, among others. In 2012 he was described by ArtInfo as one of the 30 Most Influential People Under 30.

Darran Anderson is a writer from Derry. He is the author of the poetry collections Tesla's Ghost, The Fool and The Magnetic Mountain. Other work includes Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson (2013) and Imaginary Cities, published in 2015. He is a former co-editor of 3:AM Magazine, and regularly writes on art, literature and music for Studio International, 3:AM and The Quietus.

Design scientist Melissa Sterry is a world-leading authority on the science, technology and thinking that could help build a better world. Since 2010 she has been investigating the novel ways in which flora and fauna species build resilience to extreme meteorological and geological events. She is the creator and director of Bionic City, which seeks to answer the question 'how would nature design a city?', and a PhD Researcher at the Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research group at the University of Greenwich.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was previously Culture Editor of the New Statesman and has also written for a number of other publications, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Observer and the Times Literary Supplement.