This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In the evolving campaign to combat climate change, big and bold solutions are increasingly easy to find, from the conceptual “water smart city” and ecologist Allan Savory’s vision for greening the world’s deserts to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to turn part of Governors Island into a “living laboratory” for climate research. Oyster reef restoration is occurring at nearly every critical junction along the eastern seaboard, from Florida to Maine. These are worthy efforts, and yet, when considered collectively, the onus for solving our climate crisis is being left largely to municipal governments and private actors, making most solutions piecemeal, at best. The success of one approach has little to no correlation with that of another. But what happens when all related solutions can be applied within a single, controlled ecosystem when environmentalism and urbanism are not at odds, but working in concert? Enter the experimental city.