Urban Futures Studio: Mixed Classroom

Collaboration between students and policymakers to explore sustainable futures.

The Urban Futures Studio is a transdisciplinary institute that collaborates with policymakers, activists, artists and students to enable alternative futures.  

Every year, the Urban Futures Studio organises a 'Mixed Classroom'. In this Mixed Classroom, students from different disciplines meet with national and local policymakers. Here, they learn from and with each other.

Wat did the collaboration entail?

The premise of this course is that the imagination of the future determines how to act in the present. The mixed classroom course offers a mix of (guest) lectures, interviews, case exercises and discussions. By using the mixed classroom, students learn to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in case studies about future cities. In addition, students are taught innovative forms for conducting research and presenting research.

Purpose of collaboration in education

The Mixed Classroom concept is based on a democratic conception that uses research and education to support public debate and political decision-making, especially when it comes to long-term challenges. The composition of the course (mixed classroom) has therefore been developed in close connection with its content (imagining the future) and form (off-campus teaching and the involvement of designers and artists). 

This course gives participants an understanding of the techniques developed for knowing and anticipating futures given the planetary crisis of the 21st century. Participation in this mixed classroom offers students the possibility of gaining hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers on scientifically innovative and societally urgent topics.

Grote gebouwen van onderen gefotografeerd

(Intended) result

During this course, participants gain a better understanding of the techniques available to deal with uncertain futures by imagining what cities might look like in the future and how future residents will experience them. 

During the course, participants study and reflect on existing and new practices such as scenarios, backcasting, design thinking and science fiction. Each course ends with an 'intervention' by students in a form appropriate to that year's theme.

Collaborating party on behalf of UU

Students of different disciplines

Collaborating external party

National and local policymakers 

Do you want to know more?

Would you like to know more about the Mixed Classroom and read examples? Look here for more information.

More information