Collaborative Foresight Cycle:

Futures of Wise Cities

“What does a wise city look like in Southern Sweden in 2050?”

This year, the cities of Copenhagen and Malmö are exploring the architectures and infrastructures of our urban environments, prompted and inspired by Copenhagen’s designation as 2023’s World Capital of Architecture. In our next Collaborative Foresight cycle, we’ll gather a diverse group of experts and community members from across the region for four months to examine the future of smart cities. As sensor technologies and data streams increasingly become the brick and mortar for smart urban planning and efficient municipal service delivery, what happens when we think about our urban futures through the lens of wisdom?

Some prompts for this cycle might include: 

  • What will cities sound like? What will the neighborhoods feel (and smell!) like?  
  • How will we understand and use urban and environmental data from cities and their inhabitants (both human and non-human)? How will we do so ethically?
  • What materials will we use to build our cities? How will we manufacture them?
  • How will we understand and use the immaterial materials of cities, i.e. local traditions, citizen wisdom, and ecological intelligence, to build sustainable, inclusive spaces? 
  • Whose imagination, drawings, visions and will define our buildings, houses, storefronts, public and green spaces?

As with each Collaborative Foresight cycle, a broad section of the community comes together in seminars and workshops to scan the signals and trends of today, imagine a spectrum of tomorrows, and examine the ethical implications of what we’ve imagined. Then from the vantage point of our co-created futures, we’ll look backwards to unpack the relationships, skills, tools and strategies urban planners need now to create the flourishing cities of tomorrow.  

Who can Collaborate

The future is plural! We invite interested and creative minds of all levels of experience to join us for this Collaborative Foresight cycle. We’re particularly interested in putting folks from the creative community and the tech space in the same room with architects, civil engineers, building materials manufacturers, and urban planners. You could be a UX researcher, a data scientist, an interaction designer, an artist, a community organizer, an activist, a psychologist, or a communications professional (and more!. No one is an expert in what our futures hold, and the more perspectives the better.

How we Share

We share the insights and ideas from each Collaborative Foresight cycle in a final seminar and a final book. We’ll summarize the futures we’ve co-created in community, offer up reflections and insights from core contributors, and invite the community to continue to discourse in our next cycles at our annual gathering, The Conference.

How to Collaborate 

Community collaborator: Join our public workshops to contribute to compact explorations of city-scapes and urban experiences, as viewed through the lens of the future. As a community collaborator, you’ll gain new perspectives on the urgencies of the present and help scan for signals and trends. You can continue on your futures-thinking journey by coming to  expert seminars, following along online, and wrapping up this cycle at a final book launch event. Bookmark this page and stay tuned for event updates.

Core contributor: Dive deeply into this topic as a member of a core group of changemakers. Each cycle, we ask 15-20 members of our community to share their time and perspective in four workshops on the cycle topic, guided by our Collaborative Foresight facilitators. If you’ve got new or inspiring ideas, approaches, tools, or work in thinking about smart cities or urban planning and would like to be part of the dialogue on the future of wise cities, please get in touch! You’ll gain the confidence, skills and a supportive network to bring futures-thinking and strategic foresight into your own practice.

I want to join this foresight cycle!

Are you interested in joining or would like to learn more? Contact our Head of Research Hildreth England.

This Foresight Cycle is made possible by DigIT Hub. 
DigIT Hub Sweden help companies and the public sector in Southern Sweden digitalise. The initiative is co-funded by the European Union, Region Blekinge, Region Kronoberg, Region Skåne, and Vinnova.