It’s Glasgow 2050, sea-levels have risen submerging Glasgow Airport and rainfall is at a record high. With water being one of the last abundant resources, bringing both devastation and new opportunities, the city has reinvented itself as a Hydro-City. 

In the age of the anthropocene, the geological time period where human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment, humans have become disconnected from the systems of nature our survival depends on. Decision making often happens within the confines of the artificial world where business, economics, war, crime, discrimination, religion and politics soak up our attention and we neglect the natural ecosystems like pollination and the water cycle.

COVID-19 has changed peoples relationship with nature and their local green spaces.

‘Hydro-City Stories: Glasgow’ is a project which is exploring the potential of using transmedia stories for public engagement on environmental issues in the city. Glasgow currently faces the threat of sea-level rise and increased flooding over the next 50 years. This project seeks to prompt public engagement with imagined futures for a Glasgow that has adapted to these risks, making the issue tangible and relatable. Now, more than ever, we need new ways of facilitating progressive discussions unencumbered by the constraints and preconceptions of the present. 

The current method of public forum is not as inclusive or inspirational as it could be. If we strive for innovation, inclusivity and sustainability, then creativity and imagination need to be involved in the decision making process as we move forward post COVID-19, and rethink our relationship with nature and the design of our local environment. We must find a way to embrace complexity and consider not just the multiple human perspectives but the ecosystems which surround us too. In response to this opportunity, ‘Hydro-City Stories: Glasgow’ proposes an imaginative storytelling and Futures-driven approach to engagement.

Climate change in Scotland still feels intangible but we are beginning to see glimpses of the future. This image of a flooded underpass outside Buchanan Bus Station could become a lot more common. In an imagined future, Glasgow turned Hydro-City, people have adapted to local climate change by valuing local food production and nature based solutions to flooding.

In a future Glasgow a resident of Cowcaddens grows food on their balcony. The balcony is only a tiny part of a distributed network of local food production that makes use of biosensors to monitor the state of the city’s produce. Even in a future adapting to food insecurity, sprouts are still divisive vegetables.

Citizen science has become an important part of caring for the local environment. In this image a resident of Garnethill is helping to monitor the health of their local SUDS* pond in a public bio-hub. After a trend of people submitting Buckfast as a pond sample a data cleaning AI was installed in the sample reader.

 *Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems

Moving forward with this project I would like to explore the potential for marrying design ethnography and design fiction. 
Found images from a future Hydro-City 

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