FCT in Action

Last Updated: June 25, 2013

FCT in Action

  1. Finding Futures:  Lisbon 2011 and Tempe 2011
  2. Phoenix 2012
  3. Partner Locations 2013

The urban landscape is both unimaginably complex and taken-for-granted to the point of invisibility. It teems with intensive technological infrastructures – electricity, water, transport – and is mediated by mundane technologies from walking shoes to sunscreen. Considering the future of the city requires at least two imaginative leaps: we must first learn to see the technological achievements that operate behind the scenes; and, second, we need to consider the kinds of futures that are emerging in the engagements between technologies, people and cities.

As scholar-practitioners, we are committed to thinking about the future of our cities, and the role that emerging technologies will play in them, in ways that are both radically participatory and able to speak to urban policy-making. We are interested in the ways that participatory urban planning can enable transformation [1] and, like a number of other researchers, we believe that deliberative fora need to move beyond an emphasis on the discursive to incorporate “idiosyncratic, sensorial and embodied forms” [2, 3].

The Finding Futures Project is the first stage of a longer-term programme of activities which will situate deliberation on the future of a set of US cities within the specificities of their geographies and which will highlight the role of affective, aesthetic, and embodied experiences in that deliberation. Finding Futures was therefore an experiment in how participatory engagement with a particular urban environment can be sensitive to its visual and spatial character. Its emphasis was on the development of a new gaze, attuned to the aesthetics of the future city, which might foster new forms of deliberation.