Of Cityscapes and Ruins

Architecture is shaping us in ways we didn’t even realize.

–Marc Kushner

A city is a setting and a theme of many works of fiction. There are three stereotypes that exist in SF, all of which are essentially dystopic visions: one is of an exaggerated contrast between the city and the wilderness (think giant walls or domes), either underlining the opposition between the city life and the rural life (or demonstrating the absence of possibility for any rural life); the other is a display of once high and mighty cities fallen into decadence and ruins; and the third presents the strikingly vivid futuristic cityscape in which people are mere shadows of their hostile environment and basically erased as individuals or persons.

It would be interesting to see a more optimistic inclusion of cities in science fiction and fiction in general. What about realistic development of the future cityscape? Smart cities of the near future, far future, ocean, city-ships, orbital cities and space habitats, other moons and planets? There’s plenty to think about to make your story unique in creative ways.

There’s a logic to layout and architecture that can substantially add to your worldbuilding, so in this post I want to look at how a well-though-out city plan can add to your book’s characters, plot, and everything.

What would a future city be like?

Here’s more TED playlists on the topic to get that creativity flow:

Our future in cities
Architectural inspiration

You can find more talks on TED about the cities and architecture to browse for, but we’re moving on.

Here are some of the designs for future cities and buildings, demonstrating intelligent use of surrounding environment and elements. The first exaple would be an eco-city inside a one kilometer crater in Siberia:


Another interesting idea ais this Green Float, a sky city offshore.


Or this floating ecolpolis, known as Lilypad.

Or this Atlantis-like floating city.

Here are some more ideas for floating structures and cities of the future.

There are also projects that explore the potential of biomimetics in underwater city designs, including underwater Ocean City with Water-scrapers among other futuristic designs here.

What is your favorite city setting in fiction?
What structures would you like to see implemented in reality?
Where would you want to live?

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.

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