Anthropolis - A Tale of Two Citiesby Daniel Fischer
Anthropolis - A Tale of Two Cities is a contemporary utopian novel in the spirit of Callenbach's Ecotopia and Bellamy's Looking Backward. It
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"You mean there ain't no cars here!" Jay Jones' initial reaction may well be shared by the reader. It will soon be forgotten in the adventure of exploring Anthropolis, a utopian community in the mountains of Colorado.
Anthropolis - A Tale of Two Cities is a contemporary utopian novel in the spirit of Callenbach's Ecotopia and Bellamy's Looking Backward. It embodies a broad social commentary on contemporary politics, economics, education, health, social policy, urban design, housing, environmental issues and personal values which challenges accepted conventions and assumptions.
Anthropolis' premise is that the world's ecological and social problems will not be resolved by some grandiose technological "fix". Rather, individuals and communities must rethink priorities, values and responsibilities: long-term solutions to environmental and social problems require significant changes in institutions and lifestyle. A more humane, people-sensitive world presupposes physical, political, social and economic systems committed to people rather than to abstract concepts. Anthropolis envisions a sustainable urban society offering a qualitatively better life for its residents and reverent accommodation with the natural environment.
The story takes place in Anthropolis, an auto-free city in the mountains of Colorado, during the 2020 World Peace Conference. Anthropolis was selected to host the conference on global social and environmental problems in recognition of its environmental leadership. Professors John Jones of Atlanta and Caleb Smith of Anthropolis collaborate on a presentation comparing the experiences of Atlanta and Anthropolis in adapting to the challenges of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Anthropolis' raison d’être is a more rational approach to human and ecological issues; Atlanta faces successive crises hampered by an infrastructure built during the era of cheap energy. The adventures of the Jones family and the Smiths are interwoven with the philosophical backdrop of the conference.
Hank Winkler, the conference moderator, offers a succinct description of the rationale behind Anthropolis' founding: "[We had] ... one simple goal: to create an urban environment that nurtured man and respected nature, that recognized man's place in an intricately interconnected world. We strove to create physical space that allowed the best qualities of human beings to flourish, a civilizing, humanizing environment. We call it a 'humane planning ethic'. We have deliberately attempted to put man at peace with his environment."
Other themes include supportive neighborhoods, a strong sense of community, empowered citizens and socially responsible consumerism. Anthropolis will appeal to individuals committed to achieving a better, fairer, more livable world. It's the author's unabashed hope that a week in Anthropolis will challenge the reader's perspective toward social, political and environmental issues.
- Daniel Fischer
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Meet the Author
Dan Fischer was raised to understand that success in this world is measured by the contribution one makes to society and ones fellow man. This first led him to attend a Catholic seminary - diocesan, then missionary; it took eight years (and falling asleep in many a church service) for him to realize that his interest was people, not religion. Vietnam provided a convenient alternative. When the U.S. Army Intelligence Corp stationed him in Germany, it changed his life. The dramatic difference between European and American cities and European respect for history struck a cord, and led to his first career in city management and urban planning. Love of mountains drew him to Colorado, with service in Manitou Springs, Federal Heights, Westminster and Broomfield. As a social philosopher, he developed what he terms a 'humane planning ethic' during his government service.
The Chevron Shale Oil Company offered him the opportunity to undertake preliminary design of a new town in western Colorado that 'de-emphasized the automobile' and recognized that 'people come first' in the urban environment - the embodiment of his 'humane planning ethic.' Chevron's city adjacent to De Beque was never built, as declining oil prices made development of shale oil infeasible. Consulting activities while stranded in Grand Junction after the five major shale oil firms terminated their projects eventually led to relocation to Macon, Georgia, where a two year consulting contract resulted in 25 years of service to Mercer University - a relationship which continues to this day.
Dan continues his commitment to livable and sustainable cities as a citizen activist in Macon and through academic activities at Mercer, where he teaches or has taught Urban Ecology, Environmental Ethics and Social Philosophy. Anthropolis - A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1992 by the Mercer University Press and now available in eBook versions, embodies his humane planning ethic and a search for sustainable cities. He is currently working on a novel entitled World of our Children: Erik's Saga, which will explore the impacts of global warming, climate change and peak oil. His thesis: the impacts will occur over time, and impact different places in dramatically different ways, depending in large part on how proactive cities and regions are in preparing for these challenges.
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