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INTERVIEW: We Talk to Futurist Melissa Sterry About Earth 2.0 and the Bionic City
Last week we reported on the groundbreaking new media platform Earth 2 Hub which aims to create a space for the world’s most creative artists, designers, scientists, and storytellers to explore and share their solutions to the numerous problems facing earth and its inhabitants. To shed more light on Earth 2.0 and the newly-unveiled hub, we talked to Melissa Sterry, who is one of the most well-known futurists on the planet. A design scientist and transformational change strategist for the built environment, utilities, manufacturing, design, publishing, media and communications industries, Melissa is also a PhD researcher at AVATAR – the Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research group, where she is developing The Bionic City – a sustainable smart city that transfers knowledge from earth’s ecosystems to create a mega-city blueprint that can withstand extreme meteorological and geological events such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, eruptions and earthquakes. Step on in for a fascinating glimpse of what the future of design and architecture might hold.
INHABITAT: So Melissa, Earth 2.0 has gone through many evolutions. How did it start and what was the initial goal?
Melissa Sterry: In 2009, having witnessed some of the environmental issues hitting his home nation, Brazil, first hand, film director Frank Da Silva conceived the idea of creating an upgrade to humanity’s current operating system ‘Earth 2.0′. Initially he conceived the idea as a film. As the months progressed other routes were explored, including the idea of a TV series. I came aboard, along with Irish sustainability pro Niall Dunne, in late 2010 and we bought a digital media angle to the project. Since then we’ve been exploring how a 360 approach, that engages web, mobile, film, apps, games and other media, can enable a conversation around building a sustainable future.
INHABITAT: So Earth 2 Hub is literally a hub for discussing different approaches to environmental issues?
Melissa Sterry:Yes. It’s approach is to bring together communities that historically don’t tend to meet and engage – to bring science fiction pros together with science fact pros – artists together with scientists, filmmakers together with business executies and so on. Earth 2.0 is curating a conversation that spans silos to enable a broader perspective on the challenges humanity faces.
INHABITAT: And this is all happening online, through the various media you described earlier, or do you plan to have in-person meetings as well?
Melissa Sterry: Most of Earth 2 Hub’s activities will converge online – because this allows us to engage with anyone, any place, any time. However, in-person events are taking place too and our homepage lists the upcoming events Earth 2.0 is either hosting or participating in. A few activities in the pipeline include Earth 2.0 champions sitting on discussion panels and giving presentations on sustainabiltiy issues, Earth 2.0’s creative team presenting our short films at film festivals and presenting some of the experimental digital media, such as apps, that we’ve been creating at expos, such as the upcoming Tech City exhibition for the London 2012 Olypmics.
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