URBAN VISIONS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE FINANCE: Dispossessive Mechanisms of Futuring in the Making of Groy


Of late, the trope of the green, smart and climate-resilient city has dominated imaginations of urban futures across the globe. Less visible perhaps, but arguably of equal social impact, global climate finance (GCF) agendas have asserted themselves as the only imaginable pathway to do and undo such futures in effective ways. Based on a document analysis of recent GCF reports, this contribution unpicks the mechanisms of ‘futuring’ advanced in this process of agenda setting, and sketches its inherent imaginaries of a model future city. We borrow from John Berger’s city of Troy and call this city Groy. Groy is a metaphor for green growth; it is the World Bank’s fantasy project: a techno-capitalist vision of prosperity, the bank’s donor darling and its best practice case. In rendering this fantasy into a fictional city, we explore how future visions of urban GCF initiatives shape cities today to allow for a sustained critique of that future and, in consequence, a rethinking of present times. Our analysis builds on the work of futurists Ben Anderson and John Urry, and an emerging debate that seeks to postcolonialize climate finance, to demand thinking about definancialization beyond regulation as a sociopolitical process of opening up the future for other imaginations.