Digital Hopeoutside the circle

Planet City

2020 By Liam Young
an image in a game world, of an imaginary city with huge tower blocks and
futuristic landscapes
Liam Young, video Still from Planet City, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Director and architect Liam Young explores a radical solution to climate change in Planet City, a 3D VR simulation. Set in the year 2050, Young’s video proposes a world where Earth’s 10 billion residents could be housed in a single city, occupying just 0.02% of the Earth’s surface. Made in collaboration with theorists and environmental scientists, Planet City speculates that relocating humans to these towering megastructures would allow for the remainder of the Earth’s surface to be ‘re-wilded’ by plants and animals and thus, restored. This novel metropolis is not a simple utopia or dystopia. In this futurescape, home to thousands of languages and a kaleidoscope of international cultures, every day is a different holiday, and the city swirls with confetti.

Young’s simulated city is powered by vast resources of already-existing clean energy, which would require international diplomacy on a previously unseen scale. The Mojave Desert’s solar farm; China’s wind energy network, Gansu; and Western Australia’s algae farm would all be put to work to collectively power the lives of the city’s 10 billion residents. Implying revolutionary adaptations to the problem of climate change, Planet City is simultaneously a futuristic proposal and a political provocation.

Trailer for Planet City, 2021 by Liam Young.