Polar Cities — the Ultimate in Long-Term Real Estate Speculation?

polar cities

We’ve got two extremes when it comes to climate change predictions: we’ve got the most extreme climate science predictions based on worst-case scenarios, some of which have the world becoming completely unlivable, and we’ve got many of the world’s politicians thinking or acting like we’ve got all the time in the world to cut our emissions.

I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth in acting to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change today, we could be headed for a world where that is barely livable, where humans can mostly just live close to the poles. To highlight the urgency of the issue we’re facing, just as a thought experiment, it seems, Bloom contends that it would be wise of us who are not fooled by the fossil fuel lobby to start looking at real estate in such regions… today! Of course, this is a little ridiculous, but it does serve a purpose….

“Polar cities? Well, on one level, my project is just a wake up call, an alarm bell, shouting from the rooftops that we must do all we can now to avert climate disasters in the future,” Bloom writes. “On another level, purely architectural and philosophical, let me put it gently this way: Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where
climate refugees can live if — and only if — worst comes to worst.”

While this is all a bit of fantasy thinking, I do think that we are putting off action for too long to not run into massive droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.. which will lead to massive famine and death. And what I like about what Bloom is pushing (despite not being much of a fantasy fan) is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.

“Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”

Bloom is clearly having a bit of fun with this. And trying to wake people up using a mixture of extremism and humor. Regarding the quote above, while I don’t think we should be fiddling with geoengineering, I do think the important thing is that we act now to address this issue. And that should be our #1 focus when it comes to this topic.

But Bloom is clearly working on his Polar Cities project with vigor, and I think that’s still infinitely more useful than what the fossil fuel industry, numerous banks, and numerous politicians (ahem, the whole Republican leadership) are doing.

More from Bloom:

I’ve lived in Asia since 1991, and began working on the polar cities alarm bell project in 2006, James Lovelock is my teacher. He’s 93. I’m 63. You who are 43 and 23, please listen: we need your help. Check out my Polar City site here and remember that it is just a what-if project and not something I ever want to see happen. Imagine: I am the head of a global project that I hope never becomes reality. I want to fail. I want you, dear reader, to succeed, to survive and flourish and persevere.”

The polar cities website may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators — really long term speculators!  Humor helps here. In fact, I’ve put together a map of where I think the best polar real estate lies.

Sometimes I like to think of myself as “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student” because while I am an optimist, and I think everything will work out fine, eventually, one way or the other, it was Dr Lovelock in Britain who first woke me up with his calls for deep thinking about our future on a warming Earth. Before that, I was, like most people, asleep at the wheel of my own SUV. Now I am fully awake, alert, concerned. I hope you are, too, and I hope you plan to do something about it.

Dr. Lovelock has seen the polar cities images that Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong has designed for the future. Lovelock told me in an email two years ago that these polar city ideas might even be useful later on.

Okay, look, I admit it: I am an affable, avuncular, slightly loopy eccentric, but certainly not a dangerous end of the world survivalist at all. Polar cities are just something to think about. Again, I repeat, a wake up call so that we never have to live in such God-forsaken places.

I know that there is a huge team of climate activists and engineering experts the world over, all working in our own ways to raise the alarm about global warming and climate change. I’ve had my say here. Would love to hear your comments as well.

Danny Bloom, a 1971 Tufts graduate who now lives in Taiwan, can be reached at [email protected], if you’re interested in chatting more about this.

Now, luckily, is not the time to think about migrating to the Arctic. However, now is the time to put in some real effort to preserve the world full of life’s basic necessities that we have today. Please, help to spread the word and do your part! And, if you want, have a little fun dreaming about polar cities.

Image Credit: Han Xin multimedia company in Taiwan (c) 2007-3007 | Artist: Deng Cheng-hong | Assistant: Hong Min-cheng

7 thoughts on “Polar Cities — the Ultimate in Long-Term Real Estate Speculation?”

  1. RE: Danny’s quote re [““Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”]

    Redbird said.. “There’s the crux , it aint about saving the planet its about saving humanities ass , ( Not even humanities ass just rich western humanities ass ) to carry on as before raping the natural resources , WHERE DO THE PENGUINS GO AFTER WE BUILD CITIES DOWN THERE ? Where do the polar bears go when the north is concreted over ?

    Nature Geoengineers the planet regularly with asteroids and comet hits , wipes the slate clean , and starts again , earth survived Chicxulub meteor hit the dinosaurs did not ! ”

    and I replied to him or her: ”Redbird, i was not that clear in that quote……i really MEAN saving the entire planet and all species on it, not just rich humanity’s ass. You were correct to point that out, above, and I agree with you 10000000 percent. Sorry for not being more clear. Thanks. — danny”

  2. POST SCRIPT: Jim Laughter in Oklahoma is now working on a climate change-related thriller titled ”POLAR CITY RED”,set in 2080 in a very different Alaska than we see today. It’s his book entirely, his novel, only his name
    on the covere, entirely his plot and characters and theme, but we’ve touched bases on these ideas too. Publication is set for 2012 in paperback. This is the first book anywhere in the world to explore in a fictional setting the possibility that survivors of climate chaos events in the future might have to find refuge in remote and isolated polar cities (more like desolate and tragic human settlements or villages than actual gleaming high-rise cities). Stay tuned. This book might just change your life, and it might even change US and UK climate policy. Alaskans have no idea what their descendants are getting themselves into but Jim Laughter has an idea, and his novel spills the beans in a fictional thriller of a book. Sci-fi? Closer to home than that! I am certain it’s going to be a gripping, page-turner of a good read, ideal for that long airplane flight from Dallas to New York, or from Anchorage to Tokyo, and who knows, Roland Emmerich might even option his book for a movie, too, as another kind alarm bell movie like Day After Tomorrow? Impossible is nada..

  3. Eric Shackle, a 93 year old blogger in OZ, read this and says: ”Another interesting story! Thanks for sending it to me, Danny.
    Have you set up a business to sell real estate at the North Pole?
    For the South Pole, I suggest your headquarters should be in Hobart, Tasmania.”

  4. Dec, 6, 2011

    Dear Danny,
    Many thanks for this email and we would be delighted to have you speak
    at the event regarding the durability etc of Polar Cities.
    Please let me know and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Kind regards,
    Raymond Holden BSc (Hons) PG Dip
    Sustainable Urban Development
    Department of Continuing

  5. Very good and timely post, as Durban (Bore-ban, I call it) goes on. And RE: ”And what I like about what Bloom is pushing ….. is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.”

    Yes! I AM looking at it that way myself, merely as a wake up call. I am not planning to build polar citties or even solicit funds for them to be built. This is purely a wake up call Internet project, since the MSM print media will not write about polar cities with a ten foot ice pole! Sigh.

    There are lots of wake up calls out there. This is just one of them. It’s just
    a WHAT IF scenario so we can be moitvated to work even harder NOW to stop c02 in its tracks befiore….before….well, you know what comes next….and its not going to be a pretty picture……SIGH. so get to work, all ye who have ideas on this. go go go.

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