05 Jun '12, 5pm

The 9 billion-person question: What kind of cities will we build?

The 9 billion-person question: What kind of cities will we build?

A lone rider spurs his horse as he gallops across the desolate plains. An explorer heads into the Sierras, the cathedrals of the wild. These are the classic images of the frontier and the romantic heroes who pushed into the wilderness to build the American West. They are also relics of a time when we could imagine that the human and natural worlds were separate. “It’s as if the idea of the frontier kept open the illusion that there was more nature out there that was as yet unaffected by human beings,” says environmental historian Jon Christensen, executive director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. “That really never did exist.” “We now see, in the Anthropocene, that even the wilderness is a product of human forces and is very much shaped by human ideas,” Christensen says. “The city is also full of nature.” Photo by Peter576. These insig...

Full article: http://grist.org/cities/the-9-billion-person-question-wha...

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