Worldbuilding the real world: build good ruins – Part 1

Make good ruins –

The times are urgent, let us slow down – Bayo Akomolafe.

In this conversation he says “we have to find ways of listening to the world”. I agree, but find myself both intrigued and annoyed by the twee hippie hubris – “every moment is sacred”. One reason I’ve never been to, say, Africa Burn (or Burning Man, but I’m not in the US).

I don’t want this so-called modern hell-scape where we are caught in tiny gilded cages. But I don’t want the traditional, the indigenous, the primitive either. I want a transcendent middle, I want to find a middle ground that honours the scientific method, that has the tech uber-tools and toys, while catching the wonder of connecting with the earth. My current shorthand for this is tending seedlings to a kick-ass soundtrack.

I’m using this interview with Vandana Shiva and Dougald Hine, to shape some notes and reflecting on what I want the metaverse to help with, in this odd mix of using technology and capitalism to reduce the stranglehold of technology and capitalism.

5:22 “we need a space in which to be comfortable with not knowing”

Yes, but I don’t want to sit and not know and, like, hug around a camp fire. Yes, I want to sit and be uncomfortable and have the space to reflect, but I want to have much more access to the raw data. I want to observe what I don’t know until I can see patterns. This is the “big data” thing currently so en vogue. But yes, after that, I also don’t want to go preach about it, or make policy recommendations. I want that knowing to slowly hit home to people, to let them make their own decisions with that. I want to help hold the space, so that people can build their own stories, over time.

This article from an architecture blog asks “How can fictional universes influence our visions for the cities we build”? They see this still as a rather top-down idea, complementing conventional urban planning, which is “a complex discipline that affects the design and management of cities to ensure that they meet the needs of their inhabitants.” It’s also something that takes decades to happen, which is a bit shit if you get flooded and tornado’d and monsoon-ed every year and nothing changes.

Fictional universes, such as those found in books and movies, can also have a significant influence on our visions for the cities we build.

In the Netflix Explained series, season 3, episode 9, “Hurricanes” this need for more bottom-up decision-making is articulated well:

A few people who don’t face those risks decide over communities with a lot of accumulated expertise on disaster preparedness and management. It’s so condescending, and also so cruel. – Tania Rosario Méndez, Puerto Rico

  • We just did not have the resources to respond to a disaster. As we started going through this simulation exercise I realised we were treating every person as a victim who was waiting for somebody to come rescue them. But every disaster I’ve ever been into, people aren’t waiting. Neighbours were the fastest response helping neighbours. – Craig Fugate, FEMA, USA
  • They were coming up with these dramatically innovative ways of dealing with the lack of government support on the ground. – Vann Newkirk, journalist
  • Government-centric problem-solving is going to fail miserably in these large events. The more we can have neighbours helping neighbours, the better we can focus the limited government resources on the areas that have the greatest need. – Craig Fugate, FEMA, USA

Places that have done the best, during disaster, are the places where we have fostered and nurtured those existing bonds of community. – Vann Newkirk, journalist

7:45 Now that all those higher levels are getting hijacked by corporate capitalism, the community work of everyday is the resilience.

Part 2 continues here:

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