Carl Abbott, Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them
Author, historian, and urban specialist Carl Abbott joins us to read from his newest book, Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them. After five decades teaching urban studies and urban planning, Abbott brings together urban studies and literary studies to examine fictional cities in works by authors as different as E.M. Forester, Isaac Asimov, Kim Stanley Robinson, and China Mieville, and how these fictional cities might help us to envision an urban future that is viable and resilient. In Imagining Urban Futures, Abbott examines how shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels, reduced access to resources, and a host of other issues will radically impact urban environments and what we can learn from futuristic, fictional cities to help address those issues.
Abbott is professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. He has written several books, including Portland in Three Centuries: The Place and the People. He has also published articles or books that have dealt with New York, Washington, Norfolk, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Galena (Illinois), San Antonio, Denver, Seattle, Richland (Washington), and Los Alamos (New Mexico). He earned his BA in history from Swarthmore College, his MA in history from the University of Chicago, and his PhD in history and geography from the U. of Chicago.
He is a specialist on the history of American cities and city planning, on the history of the American West and Sunbelt, and on the later twentieth century United States more generally. Most recently his research and writing has taken him toward the analysis of literary sources.