Fossil fuels have shaped the world as we know it. They have defined how we move around in our cars, how we produce and consume food, run our economies, generate electricity, and design our cities. But whether we want it or not, our addiction to coal, gas and oil is coming to an end. We are heading for a post-fossil future. This era will reshape our cities and everyday lives so radically that it is hard to imagine what it might feel, taste, smell, and look like.
Innovation is the result of responding to problems. Both the car and the bicycle were developed in response to dissatisfaction with transport by horses, and this new means of transport has shaped our environment. Planners and architects like Cornelis van Eesteren, Robert Moses and Le Corbusier designed cities for car traffic — machines for living, focused entirely on efficiency. Today, their ideas are seen as a failed utopia, but they have strongly influenced the urban landscape. How would we design — aspects of — a new, post-fossil city, adapted to the challenges of our time? Would this city be a utopia or a dystopia, and what problems may arise in the process of getting there?