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From Hell to Babel: Creating Value in the Ecocene

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel Armstrong



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


We are in the belly of an environmental Hell, yet we should not aspire to forge ourselves a utopian Eden to find a sense of ongoingness in these challenging times but unleash a biospherical Babel from which hybrid practices, paradoxes, and as yet unknown modes of being in the world may be discovered. While we do not yet have the language or apparatuses that can midwife these convergences, bittersweet encounters and monsters, we can begin to make a transition from an Enlightenment-centered view of the world—based on the utopian vision of New Atlantis, a society shaped by science that gave rise to the modern city, towards an incompletely characterized “Ecocene”—a time of flux, uncertainty, diversity and instability, by shaping the values on which our decisions are founded through iteratively explored, experimental practices that are evaluated through “being-in-the-world” and the sensibilities of “living”.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Armstrong RA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal Of Biourbanism

Year: 2017

Volume: V

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 187-199

Online publication date: 15/11/2017

Acceptance date: 24/05/2017

Date deposited: 29/07/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2240-2535

Publisher: International Society of Biourbanism