Rebecca Journey

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9413

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Journey, Rebecca K., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow: Copenhagen's Green Path,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco

Preliminary abstract: Green design in Denmark today extends the moral promise of Danish Modern–to solve midcentury social problems through good design–to a post-sustainable world. Within the Danish city planning and design world, this ethical mandate assumes the particular epistemic form of the prototype: a portable, provisional template from which a model of planetary stewardship may be locally perfected. This project examines the claims, affordances, and moral valences of the concept of prototype in a context in which climate change is framed as a problem of urban design. Through an ethnographic study of green infrastructure design and experience in the self-styled ‘eco-metropolis’ of Copenhagen, this research investigates ongoing municipal efforts to build the world’s first carbon-neutral capital, and by extension, to draft a prototype of an ethics for a post-fossil future. To that end, the proposed study tracks a range of green infrastructure design, development, and retrofit projects prescribed by the Climate Plan–Copenhagen Municipality’s long-range, comprehensive urban planning initiative to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2025–from the ethnographic perspective of the bike path. The proposed third phase of research will examine how the speculative space of the green city mockup is peopled and embodied through ten months of ethnographic fieldwork with a range of Copenhagen residents. I ask: How does an urban built environment in ‘beta form’ update the terms and conditions of the social contract of the city? How will citizens realize or reconfigure planners’ aspirations? By tracking the modes by which the architectural and ambient worlds of the eco-metropolis shape a citizenry equipped to realize its promise, this project will trace the moral blueprint of a post-carbon democracy.