Lush rooftop gardens and multi-story farms growing fruits and vegetables; hydrogen-powered boats sailing down crystal-clear rivers and canals; “strange, sail-shaped constructions that suck CO2 out of the air” – it’s all part of Climate Hope City, a place that lives only in the world of Minecraft. Commissioned for The Guardian by editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and senior staff, the zero-carbon Minecraft city seeks to show that it’s possible to build a sustainable future using existing technologies.

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“We carry on flogging a load of dead horses, in exactly the same way, with exactly the same whip,” wrote columnist and environmentalist George Monbiot. “We have to constantly be reinventing our storytelling capacity.” The project was overseen by Adam Clarke, an expert Minecraft modeler. Working with James Delaney and his BlockworksMC team, as well as experienced map-maker and designer Dragonoz, the team took real-life urban climate technologies and spent a week using them in a Minecraft environment. The landscape features driverless cars, vertical gardens and farms, kinetic pavements that turn footsteps into electricity and green roofs.

Clarke said the project was inspired by another project he recently worked on in Minecraft called “Tomorrowland.” While that project is very futuristic, the climate change project also has those elements, but incorporates what is going in architecture and design right now. They added older buildings so the city had realistic elements as well as a spiral staircase so players could explore the different levels quickly, but it also added a great design element, Clarke said.

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Before spending over 100 hours on the project, Clarke and his team sketched a rough layout based on “emerging technologies and architectural models.” They decided to form the city around natural looking curves and spirals rather than the grid-layout of most cities. Zaha Hadid’s architecture was a particular inspiration and the new biodome concept for Amazon’s new Seattle headquarters was another.

The resulting map is a beautiful expression of both old and new aesthetics as well as new and prototype technologies incorporated with plain old green space and farming. The map is available to anyone with Minecraft loaded on their computer–in any version–and is available at the Climate Hope City Minecraft Page. You can explore the city, read the signposts and listen to audio recordings.

“Despite climate change being the biggest story of our age, journalism has largely failed to get to grips with it,” says the Guardian’s assistant national news editor, James Randerson. “In our mission to tell this story differently and reach new audiences, we have enlisted the help of artists, poets, comedians and composers to name a few. Now we’re harnessing the creativity of some talented Minecraft designers to imagine a future low carbon city – and crucially one that is not far out of reach.”

The Guardian’s Keep it in the Ground campaign is ongoing.

Via The Guardian

Images via The Guardian