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Imagining Urban Futures
Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them
Carl Abbott

2016 • 276 pp. 16 illus. 6 x 9"
Literary Criticism - Science Fiction / Public Policy / Urban Studies

$27.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7671-2

$23.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7672-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

What science fiction can teach us about urban planning

Carl Abbott, who has taught urban studies and urban planning in five decades, brings together urban studies and literary studies to examine how fictional cities in work by authors as different as E. M. Forster, Isaac Asimov, Kim Stanley Robinson, and China Miéville might help us to envision an urban future that is viable and resilient. Imagining Urban Futures is a remarkable treatise on what is best and strongest in urban theory and practice today, as refracted and intensely imagined in science fiction. As the human population grows, we can envision an increasingly urban society. Shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels, reduced access to resources, and a host of other issues will radically impact urban environments, while technology holds out the dream of cities beyond Earth. Abbott delivers a compelling critical discussion of science fiction cities found in literary works, television programs, and films of many eras from Metropolis to Blade Runner and Soylent Green to The Hunger Games, among many others.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“By day Carl Abbott is one of the most respected urban historians of his generation; by night he is among the most omnivorous and omniscient sci-fi fanboys of all time. This book brings together both sides of his brain for a unique guided tour of science fiction cities in their many manifestations, familiar and obscure.  As he shows, science fiction has found its own radical way to represent, to critique, and ultimately to re-design the city.”—Robert Fishman, University of Michigan

“Carl Abbott has long been valued as a thoughtful and creative urban historian. Here he has organized the ‘thought experiments’ we call science fiction into sensible categories that explain the imaginative responses to technological and social change in cities. The book is encyclopedic in its reach and will be consulted for years to come.”—Sam Bass Warner, Jr., author of American Urban Form

CARL ABBOTT is professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. He is the author of the prize-winning books The Metropolitan Frontier: Cities in the Modern American West and Political Terrain: Washington DC from Tidewater Town to Global Metropolis, as well as Frontiers Past and Future: Science Fiction and the American West.

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Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:36:24 -0500