Video Documentary of Ligorano/Reese “Dawn of the Anthropocene”, September 21, 2014

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An artistic intervention on the occasion of the Peoples’ Climate March and the Climate Summit  (New York City).

On September 21, 2014, artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese present Dawn of the Anthropocene a large-scale ice sculpture of the words “The Future.” The sculpture is 21 feet long, 5 feet high and weighs 2000 pounds. It will melt throughout the day taking anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to disappear.

They produced this video documentary featuring commentary by people on the street.

Dawn of the Anthropocene: Livestream melting ice sculpture Sept. 21

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An artistic intervention on the occasion of the Peoples’ Climate March and the Climate Summit  (New York City). This event has now ended. See below for the time lapse.

On September 21, 2014, artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese present Dawn of the Anthropocene a large-scale ice sculpture of the words “The Future.” The sculpture is 21 feet long, 5 feet high and weighs 2000 pounds. It will melt throughout the day taking anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to disappear.

The artists call these events “temporary monuments” filming and photographing them throughout the process of their disappearance. They stream the sculpture’s transformation live on the website meltedaway to expand the site specificity of it. The website becomes an expanded documentary incorporating internet, video interviews, photography and text allowing viewers off-site to experience the piece in a multiplicity of ways.

This use of media has been an integral part of Ligorano Reese’s temporary monuments from their inception drawing on the sculpture event’s performative character and taking inspiration from Josef Beuy’s concept of “social sculpture.” Dawn of the Anthropocene will be the first temporary monument to offer the video stream to other websites as an embedded feed. The artists are using an array of social media platforms to present the event live including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram, which is also available for embedding.

The artists will offer short-term writers’ residencies during the event for journalists, poets, and essayists, and an open mic will also be provided so that the writers and general public can share their views on the climate during the livestream each hour, on the hour.  All media is posted on the meltedaway website at the end of the process in order to form an accessible archive of this public action in the service of climate justice and safeguarding our ecosystems.

Text by Marshall Reese, Nora Ligorano and Todd Lester.

Todd Lester is an associate producer of the event for Cities for People, Art & Society Team.  Just last week Todd worked together with Musagetes and the Art & Society Team of Cities for People to pilot the Artist Round Table (A.R.T.) approach with Mark Prier.  Prier's artistic practice elicits dialogue on the environment, sustainability, the climate and ecological concerns broadly.

Time lapse video:

Enabling City: Enhancing Creative Community Resilience

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Many commonly think of resilience as strictly pertaining to science or emergency management. But in the era of openness and collaboration, resilience is also increasingly understood as having neighbours to count on a responsive governance framework to rely on, and spaces in which to come together during a time of need.

Whether a city is resilient or brittle is an indicator of a history of past policy - and decision-making. A thriving, resilient city is one where infrastructure, physical assets and amenities are deployed to meet the needs of all – especially vulnerable populations – and where opportunities are equally distributed in a way that does not degrade the environment.

Systems and social agents play an important role in this process. Systems include the natural environment, the physical infrastructure, the social institutions and local knowledge of a place. Agents are actors like individuals, households, private firms, and civil society organizations that shape it.

A truly comprehensive resilience strategy, then, is one that employs a collaborative approach that harnesses and supports the strengths of both.

Tweet this: A truly comprehensive #resilience strategy, is one that harnesses & supports both social agents and systems.

Most blueprints for resilience planning suggest that cities are uniquely positioned to respond to the interconnected challenges of our time. Municipalities are the level of government closest to residents, and can therefore act as mediator between local needs and national resources. The urban scale also presents inherent advantages in terms of density, connectivity and infrastructure efficiency that allow urban actors to innovate, achieve more networked governance, and centralize the use of resources. A call for “re-localization” of ecosystems and economies is therefore made in order to decrease regional dependence of imported resources and encourage a shift to more humanly manageable, place-based scales.

Locally, a fast-growing number community-driven efforts are leading this powerful transition. Examples include initiatives like Toronto’s Project Neutral and Transition Towns, the global movement that works with communities and municipalities to address the challenges of peak oil and climate change through re-localization strategies (see Volume 1.). They extend to the launch of Mosaic, a crowdfunding platform for investing in renewable energy sources; Seattle’s Food Forest, and Depave, a collaborative effort to remove unnecessary pavement from urban areas and increase the amount of land available for habitat restoration.

Combined, these initiatives represent what researchers Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison call ‘‘temporary public spaces”, social movements of collective creation that provide society with ideas, identities, and even ideals to collectively explore narratives of innovative adaptation.

If our identities are anchored and in part informed by the landscapes surrounding us, then it is true that a warming planet changes not only our ecosystems, but our collective stories. Many are the cultural rituals connected, for example, to the change of season; countless the predictions that are made on a daily basis in relation to the weather and other natural conditions. For communities to have a sense of control and ownership over this change, the commons become the avenue through which to pool resources and resourcefulness together, in which to build consensus and facilitate decision-making, and in which to embed participation and transparency into the everyday norms that will inform the future responses of cities.

Resilience is important in the context of advancing social innovation because it makes explicit what many know intuitively: that inequality in one neighbourhood affects the city as a whole; that poverty and concentrations of wealth make cities brittle. Community-led adaptation includes not only a process of self-management, then, but also the technical, civic, and creative support for citizens to engage with (and re-design) government processes directly.

Chiara Camponeschi is the founder of, a website that, like Cities For People, aims to creatively respond to today’s most pressing issues by harnessing community imagination as a tool of social transformation. Connect with her @Enablingcity via Twitter.

CityScapes: The Natural & Built Environment

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With more than 80 percent of Canadians living in cities, the need for resilient and livable cities has never been greater. Our economic, social and environmental success depends on the quality of life provided by cities.

And yet, our cities face unprecedented challenges- from aging infrastructure and increased traffic congestion to inefficient energy systems to urban sprawl. Our cities need to work better.

Innovation is a key driver of our prosperity, but our urban centres seem to struggle to find ways of encouraging and adopting innovation. Nowhere is this more evident than in our built and natural environments- our parks, public transit, energy and housing.

Smart planning, innovation, experimentation and investment will be a determining factor in the resiliency of our urban centres. We cannot build the next 100 years of infrastructure using the concepts and methods of the past 100 years.

CityScapes will be a platform for driving innovation that tackles our critical infrastructure issues and advances our economic, social and environmental prosperity. It will bring together the public, innovators and decision makers to accelerate the shift to more livable and resilient infrastructure in cities across Canada and beyond.

Transformative change can happen when Canadians are engaged with new ideas, in ways that are relevant to them.