Every urbanite loves to fuss about fine dining. The upside of a major climate crisis is the prospect it offers to entirely liberate cities from their sordid heritage in the planet's soil. A space colony is just a Dubai-style super-tall desert skyscraper – plus some zero-gravity bone depletion. A lunar colony is just a London mogul's subterranean basement, without the crusties or the labour strikes.
The urbanites in the mid-century city know that they are not the culmination of the city. No one's idea of utopia, they're not even "modern". Everybody under 30 years of age is instinctively convinced that they are the cultural radicals, the cool and daring pioneers, the youthful froth of a tsunami of some radically different way of being – and indeed, they are. Not "better" mind you – just different.
There is fear in this mid-century city. Life is frail. A vengeful super-hurricane might cross the simmering Gulf Stream and fall like an avenging angel on the coasts of Europe – but people can get used to that. Megastorms aren't that much worse than Los Angeles on a fault line, Naples on a volcano.
The scary part is what people find within themselves, when their city is gravely harmed. People can flee with relative ease, but cities are tender and sessile beings. When the survivors return to their beloved rubble, they find themselves forced to create another city – one that makes genuine technical sense under their circumstances.
Only engineers and architects will ever rub their hand at this dreadful prospect. These modernists are in secret collusion with the feral urban crows and hungry pigeons picking over the blast zone. For years, while a sentimental mankind clung to a museum economy, they have rehearsed another city, some angular, rational monster with an urban fabric that's a whole lot more nano-, robo-, and geno; buildings they can shape, and that will henceforth shape the rest of us.
To tell the truth, we never liked that city. But it just keeps happening.
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