Sense the City – Discovering the future with all your senses

Collage Urbane Zukunftsvisionen - adelphi

Today's big cities are gritty, loud and fast moving: streets dominate the cityscape, the grey of concrete is the dominant colour, and the noise of vehicles makes the pulse beat faster. Instead of lively architecture, new buildings are being built that look much alike. Instead of acceptance of an increasing variety of ways of life and circumstances, resentment towards anything "foreign" has become more evident. But does this have to be the case in the future?

If we want to make cities clean, healthy, just and humane — in short, sustainable — we have to think of cities in a completely new way. We need to think of them in bold urban visions, experimental images of the future, and as ongoing experimental spaces. We collected ideas and vision in our publication, developed them further and illustrated them with project examples.

The publication is a result of our project “Sense the City”. We went in search of people’s ideas about the future — and we did so on the level of the senses. We wanted to know how the city of the future should sound, smell, taste, look and feel. We not only wanted to create new spaces for thinking, but also new spaces for feeling.

The visions for the city of the future were developed in individual and group formats with around 400 citizens and experts from various disciplines, including architecture, psychology, philosophy, sociology, music and literature. Various sensory and future-oriented methods were used in vision talks and factories. Sensory stimuli and questions about emotions helped people to break out of conventional patterns of thought and to create a picture of the future that corresponds to their very own ideas and needs.

The project shows how much creativity, optimism, farsightedness and sensuality is in all of us, if we allow it to be. The wishes and dreams for the city of tomorrow call for imitation, further development, and scaling. You can find out how to do this in this publication and on this folding poster.

Publications of this project