Imagining the future of your city 101

Future is tough to imagine. Collective vision of the future is even tougher to capture. And yet, it is how we think about both our individual prospects for life and our city’s future that will strongly influence its development.

This year, in partnership with the city of Lublin, we are running a project called Lublin2050. This is our third implementation of a foresight model that has citizens and their expertise at its heart. To the more traditional forecasting elements like trend analysis and data modelling, we’ve added an extensive process of public consultations and social studies.

The benefits of this approach are twofold. First of all, this approach allows us to not only capture the spirit and collective vision of the city that is shared by its inhabitants from the very onset of the analysis. Second, it creates space for people to engage and build new alliances around the city they want.

This week, we have launched the process of public consultations but we did not go for a traditional event or a press conference. Instead, we spread around the city what we called the Tables of the Future. The idea is simple: on squares, markets, boardwalks, in libraries, schools, community centres we placed tables with big sheets of paper, markers and short surveys. The task was simple: finish the sentence “Lublin in 2050 will…”. People who passed by could engage in a silent discussion with others, sharing their visions of the city and commenting the visions of others.

For those, who weren’t able to join one of our tables in the city, we created mind-map that served as an online table. The tool turned out to be attractive for people in Lublin – somewhat, to our surprise (online tools haven’t really proven that effective in previous consultations ran by the city).

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 11.10.04

This upcoming week, we will be coding the information that we’ve gathered and making it available for our local experts. Surely, I’ll share some of the insight here!

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