Half the world’s 7.7 billion inhabitants (Population Clock as of 13.00h IST 24 July 2019) live in urban settings. Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Mexico City, Mumbai, Moscow, New York City, Hong Kong, London are the big cities, the Megatropolises, which all have rapidly growing populations within their densely packed urban centres with equally densely packed peripheries. Living conditions on Earth must change, irrespective of economic or social status, so that we can equalize opportunity and achieve a better standard of living for all.

We propose that the (mega)City and the Spaceship be viewed as parallel and reciprocal case studies to think about contemporary forms of working and personal engagement; compact spaces, multifunctional spaces, public-private spaces, resource management, alternative energy harvesting, waste management, health management and inclusion of nature into our built-up environment.

City As A Spaceship (CAAS) inspires technological humane innovation by positing the spaceship as an analogy of the modern, densely built urban space, with its complex structures and technologically advanced infrastructure, where the designed intention is to configure all systems to eco-efficiency to optimize the use of available resources. We believe the time is now to meet our primary needs through CAAS architecture and design, using technologies for space that can immediately impact the humane retrofitting of these cities. The CAAS City can be an inspiration, an alternate view, for a future city and a way to project and achieve our dreams and visions of an equitable and environment-friendly urban life.

While past visions of future cities were often inspired by space and exploration of the unknown, and thus based in science fiction, the Collective proposes future visions of the city be based in science fact; that which is known and learned from our accumulated space exploration experience.

Visualizing Vienna as a Future City Image credit Damjan Minovski for LIQUIFER, 2012

Why now?

We think of a wonderful, yet obvious symbiosis – tomorrow’s space ideas shape today’s cities. And investment in today’s cities serve as a vehicle and test-bed to both subsidize and implement tomorrow’s space endeavors.

The implications for what we seek to address are now relevant, significant and urgent, especially in the present day context when global climate change staring us in the face.

The industrialized world is re-thinking the results of several decades of thoughtless depredation of the Earth. The other population centers are urbanizing at a monstrous pace and doing it much the same way as the industrialized world did in the preceding decades. The world needs new answers if we are to stand a chance to keep the world habitable and sustainable. “The Earth as a Spaceship” is not merely a metaphor; it is a tangible, viable way for the future survival of humankind.

Visual mash-up blurring life in a metropolis and that on an orbiting Space Station Montage courtesy Barbara Imhof, 2010