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How Do Our Cities Prepare For The Post-Apocalypse?


April 6, 2021 • 1:00 pm PDT

It’s too late to prevent the apocalypse. Because it’s already here. A virus spreads globally, creating a pandemic, as yet uncontrolled. Climate change accelerates, and hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and floods grow deadlier. Nuclear weapons and disruptive technologies proliferate, and economic dislocation and record mass migrations destabilize cities. Is it reasonable to expect urban centers, which are particularly threatened by many of these global phenomena, to do much more than mitigate the damage? And if world-altering disasters—from climate change to mass social breakdown—are inevitable, what can we do now to give our densest and most vulnerable communities a better chance of recovering from these apocalypses, and perhaps even thriving again in the centuries to follow?

University of Toronto professor and urbanist Richard Florida, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Samaneh Moafi, Senior Researcher at Forensic Architecture, visit Zócalo to discuss how cities around the world might prepare for the post-apocalypse.

Image Credit: A dark orange sky above San Francisco, at 11:18 am on Sept. 9, 2020, was caused by heavy smoke from wildfires nearby. Photo by Eric Risberg/AP Photo.