As the Economist foresees a third industrial revolution in manufacturing, it is increasingly plain that the nature of cities is changing globally along the lines of our increasing engagement with work and play online. The trend of movement out to the suburbs has, thankfully, been reversed, meaning a greater amount of active minds in more dense populations. The many branches of urban development (in this book, particular focus is given to sustainability, interconnectivity, community, and commerce) are steeled by a newfound optimism, with small, experimental projects given room to breathe and flourish (or fail and teach us lessons) more and more by civic authorities.
Le Cool’s Smart Guide To Utopia takes examples from around the world (though, observe how irritatingly good Berlin is at integrating things like this), offering a survey of prophecies on how cities might look in 10, 20, 50 years. The book itself, excellently researched, upbeat, and with trademark gorgeous design, steers away from coffee table territory by being genuinely thought-provoking; a sort of hardback Monocle for the less affluent liberal. Its neutral standpoint (barring a pretty nobby and inexplicable introduction from a chap in London who spends his two pages complaining about how rubbish and useful the countryside is) and nugget-sized presentation allow chance for reflection on how these ideas might be applied in our own urban space, should you ever feel like getting off your arse and setting up a back-yard farming network with your neighbours using only your iPhone.
Available from our favourite magazine rack, Motto.