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Liam Young, TED


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 43 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

Planet City - A Sci-Fi Vision of an Astonishing Regenerative Future

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  • This video from TED is a talk from Liam Young, a director and architect who designed a science-fiction thought experiment for a sustainable future with one global city, named Planet City. 
  • It depicts a future for humanity that takes up 0.02% of Earth, restores the natural world, progresses culture, and eliminates human-created separations like political affiliation and national boundaries. 
Teaching Tips


  • The talk is accompanied by engaging visuals that help students better imagine Planet City.
  • Students will be challenged to rethink what is possible and what is sustainable for a growing population with limited resources.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know the terms provocation and thought experiment.
  • Students should understand this isn't a prediction or even an aspiration, but an artwork meant to provoke thought and discussion.


  • Students who need support following along can use the transcript and read-along feature.
  • Students in ELA classes can analyze the author's purpose for this talk.
  • Students in science or engineering classes can create designs for Planet City and explain the environmental benefits of their designs.
  • Students in Art classes can create visuals for their own Planet City.
  • Related resources include the futuristic climate-fiction book "The Ministry for the Future", the lesson plan Writing Cli-Fi, and the online art exhibition Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience.
Scientist Notes
This 10-minute TED talk describes the science fiction thought experiment called 'Planet City,' a vision for what a future city might look like in which 10 billion humans live together in a sustainable community. The thought experiment is intended to be provocative and initiate discussion on how a city like this can be built and what it would mean to prioritize sustainability. This resource is a fun vision for a potential future that could be used to spark discussion. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.1.6a Identify and interpret works of art or design that reveal how people live around the world and what they value
      • VA:Re7.1.Ia Hypothesize ways in which art influences perception and understanding of human experiences.
      • VA:Re7.1.IIa Recognize and describe personal aesthetic and empathetic responses to the natural world and constructed environments.
      • VA:Re7.2.IIa Evaluate the effectiveness of an image or images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences.
  • Related Resources


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