I am always interested in the future of how we will live. Being from Nebraska and having driven across the state an infinite amount of times, I am keenly aware of how our big cities of Omaha and Lincoln, along with smaller cities like Fremont, North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island and Hastings are slowly expanding. The cities are not expanding vertically but rather horizontally, taking more and more farmland away. Eventually there will be a crisis point where the amount of food produced cannot feed the population because we have converted large amounts of farmland into businesses, homes, streets, parks, etc.
I strongly believe the future of cities is already present, just cities have to adapt. New York, San Francisco, Boston, Paris, London, Chicago and many other established cities are expanding vertically rather than horizontally. There are a few problems with expanding upward, like overcoming fears of heights, bland design look of skyscrapers and other problems, most of which are highlighted in this good piece: Sky-rise Living: Palace or Prison.
In Within the Grasp of Ordinary, Philip and Tristan don’t even bat an eye or spare a thought at why humanity lives in large structures which strut high into the sky. There is no massive amounts of miles upon miles of urban sprawl, rather humanity has carved out relatively small amount of land to claim as it’s home and nature has reclaimed old plots once used for business, streets, etc.