The project applied a combination of strategic foresight and speculative design methods to explore what makes a good city by creating alternative near-future worlds. And it all points to the initial question:
Why do people choose to live in the city?
A discussion-based creative session was conducted as a starting point to let people reflect the current conundrums and then imagine the future urban lives. By collecting people’s values, hopes and fears, the incentives for future living were generated.
A horizon scan study was developed to define the possible future scope, which revealed the key drivers (trends) and weak signals (emerging issues) that may have a significant impact on urban development in the future. These could help us know what futures do we see emerging right now and what might they grow into. The collected materials were analysed and synthesised into themes of future, which will be used later for making future cities.
The process of making the future worlds started by digesting and combing all the research and exploration insights. The relationships between governments, business and citizens were adopted as an entry point to construct the world. As a result, three future cities were created.
The idea was to purpose possible worldviews that logically convey new values derived from the incentives. Design, after all, is a practice that intrinsically lives in the future.
Future Hinting Workshop
To make these future cities more concrete, a workshop with creative practitioners was conducted to enrich these micro-futures with designs and concepts. To move from future cities to future lives, mobility (transportation service) was chosen as the design context. And the aim was to understand complexity, understand what agency is possible within the systems we are in, and speculate in an informed way about how things could be different by adopting a more nuanced and exploratory way to tackle the future.
What will future cities look like?
How will people live in them?