Cambridge, MA


An Apocatopian Primer

An Apocatopian Primer is an ongoing list of climate reading, hosted on Places Journal. Many of the titles are produced within the design disciplines. Others are works of fiction and non-fiction from around the globe that might inform acts of design. This list challenges the idea that designers are somehow apolitical or work within a disciplinary silo that isolates them from broader societal issues. The title of the list, An Apocatopian Primer, is borrowed from China Miéville’s essay, “The Limits of Utopia.” Miéville warns that utopias can be part of, and organized within, unjust societies and systems. In order to dismantle these systems, we first need to understand them. This understanding includes basic climate science, law, economics, and how the design disciplines are complicit, an idea that Jesse M. Keenan elaborates on eloquently in his chapter on a “Climate Core” for landscape architecture in Rosalea Monacella and Bridget Keane’s excellent edited volume, Designing Landscape Architectural Education: Studio Ecologies for Uncertain Futures. An Apocatopian Primer is an incomplete and growing reading list for designers interested in expanding their knowledge of the climate crisis, and also ecological thinking and speculative design for a more just future.