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Alan Marshal: Modern urban life predicted by Mary Shelly in 1818

Later City News: Alan Marshal believes that the famous literary work Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (1818), seems to forecast the potential future of urban life in the Modern Age; an Age replete with ongoing environmental crises.



"THE CITIES OF FRANKENSTEIN: GRAPHIC SCENARIOS OF LOOMING URBAN HORROR" is the topic of a paper published in "The liberal arts J Journal" in May 2020.


In this paper Alan Marshal using a theory of critique and forecasting as established by the Literary Method of Urban Design, some of the core thematic lessons of Frankenstein are used as pathways to predict the character of European cities as they have developed and evolved under the stresses of ecological disaster over the near future (up to about twenty or thirty years hence).


These core Frankenstein themes are as follows: 1) technological hubris, 2) alienation, 3) monstrosity, and 4) abandonment. In this paper, these themes are each overlaid with some of the many socio-environmental problems now challenging a set of fourteen sample cities (each drawn from the original Frankenstein novel) utilizing both scenario art and interpretive eco-ethical thought.


Within a few decades, with all this extra greenhouse gas pumped into the atmosphere, an abrupt global climate change could soon overwhelm the Earth19. The upshot might be a five degree global temperature spike which, in turn, may raise sea levels by some five meters. Cities will be decimated. Agriculture will collapse.


You can find the full paper by clicking here.


Many species will become extinct. Would humanity be one of them? Most climate experts opine that this worst-case scenario of ‘abrupt climate change’ will actually be stretched out over the next two hundred years rather than over the next two decades. But, like Dr. Frankenstein, perhaps their imagination and foresight are failing them.

Archangelsk in Shelley