Death To Future Metro Disaster Porn!

The future of the world is unmistakably urban (UN estimates put 70% of the world's population living in urban areas by 2050), so why do we still expect the worst about cities? Click through for fictional destructions galore.

Last year, humanity crossed the threshold and became more urban than rural, a fact that ultimately may turn out to be better for the planet in the long run (Studies show that the carbon footprints of citizens of New York, London and Barcelona are a half to a third the size of their national averages). Despite this, though, we're still being given movies that promise disasterporn if we don't change the direction in which we're moving. Are we just preconditioned to expect cities to betray us?

After all, if we're not imagining cities growing to envelop everything around them and becoming overcrowded and the perfect place to become lost, then we're imagining cities that devolve/evolve into something else, dystopian prisons, warzones or overrun by mysterious monsters of unknown origin. If we survive the inevitable ape uprising, of course.

Perhaps it's simply that worst case scenarios make for the best stories, that we always need some kind of problem for any story to work and that institutional (and societal) collapse is a common enough - and large enough - fear to base a story meant to appeal to a large number of people around (See also: Giant Robots coming to Earth and punching each other in front of you. But not human-size robots taking over the planet and making Christian Bale shout a lot, apparently. Who knew?). But with Wikipedia listing 44 movies that destroy New York (surely the most-destroyed city in modern fiction) alone, we're sure that a case for repetition breeding contempt could be made.

The fact is, there're more positives to cities and urban living than most stories will tell you; mass-market storytelling, for some reason, seems locked into a mindset popularized more than half a century ago, with the city full of shadows, secrets and a million stories of which this is only one. As optimism about the real life urban future grows - and mainstream media starts thinking about new Tomorrowlands - it'd be nice to hope for a change in the over-reliance on urban life meaning potential disaster. If the twin avatars of Obama and Star Trek really do herald in a new era of optimistic science fiction, it'd be nice to see that reflected in confidence in the value of the cities of tomorrow, whether its the social, enviromental or just plain practical way. Let's have less of this:

Death To Future Metro Disaster Porn!

And more of this:

Death To Future Metro Disaster Porn!

Top image by Marco Bucci.