Urban Extremophile


Principal Researchers: Adam Nocek and Lisa Ma

Associate Researchers: Charis Elliott, Gabby Isaac, Garrett Johnson, Ron Broglio 


In collaboration with speculative designer, Lisa Ma, the LCT is working on a long-term design project that engages with climate futures in vulnerable urban centers. the site for the first iteration of the project is Phoenix, Arizona, which is consistently ranked one of the most unsustainable cities in the world. Rather than investigating how we sustain this urban center, we’re interested the sustainability of human and nonhuman life under conditions of urban decay in the desert. To do so, we envision scenarios that would lead to phoenix’s degeneration under climate change and then experiment with the kinds of practices, values, and resources that would emerge in the midst of these forms of urban decay. These are very often modes of living and organizing that have little political and economic value today (e.g., pre-industrial cooling technologies, resource sharing among the homeless and indigenous populations, nomadism), and are even bio-politically excluded, but experience a new life under the trauma of urban collapse.

Moving forward, researches will conduct similar work in other domestic and foreign cities that are vulnerable to urban collapse due to climate change. We have already begun work in new orleans, and will be expanding the scope of the project to include major urban centers such as Miami, Zhanjiang, and Jakarta. The project uses design research to bring these under-valued practices and modes of life to the surface in an effort to stage the conditions for radically different forms of thought and action about what climate preparedness means to vulnerable urban centers. 


Site Research + Futures Workshop


Speculative Dinner at Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW): Design Connects (Lisa Ma in collaboration with LCT)