23 March 2017

Post-Fossil City Contest finalists announced

In January, Maarten Hajer, director of the Urban Futures Studio, called on designers, artists, architects, and all other creatives to submit innovative design proposals to imagine a city that is no longer reliant on fossil fuels.

The jury has selected the ten best proposals out of 250. The ideas vary from cows as walking milk machines to a dystopian story about the last inhabitants of a city destroyed by climate change.


What’s Next?

In the coming months, the ten projects will go through a curational process led by Michiel van Iersel, René Boer, Peter Pelzer, and Wytske Versteeg. The makers receive €1,000 to further develop their ideas. The finalised works will be included in the Post- Fossil City Exhibition in Utrecht in June. The jury will select a winner, who will be awarded €10,000. Follow postfossil.city to stay up to date.


finalisten post-fossil city contest
All finalists of the Post-Fossil City Contest

Background Information

Fossil fuels have shaped the world as we know it. They have defined how we move around in our cars, how we produce and consume food, run our economies, generate electricity, and design our cities. But whether we want it or not, our addiction to coal, gas and oil is coming to an end. We are heading for a post-fossil future. This era will reshape our cities and everyday lives so radically that it is hard to imagine what it might feel, taste, smell, and look like.

Innovation is the result of responding to problems. Both the car and the bicycle were developed in response to dissatisfaction with transport by horses, and this new means of transport has shaped our environment. Planners and architects like Cornelis van Eesteren, Robert Moses and Le Corbusier designed cities for car traffic — machines for living, focused entirely on efficiency. Today, their ideas are seen as a failed utopia, but they have strongly influenced the urban landscape. How would we design — aspects of — a new, post-fossil city, adapted to the challenges of our time? Would this city be a utopia or a dystopia, and what problems may arise in the process of getting there?

‘In order to make the post-fossil future, we first have to imagine it.’

The Urban Futures Studio asks creative thinkers and makers to take the problems of our current cities as a starting point, in order to imagine the everyday texture of the post-fossil city.


• Winy Maas (MVRDV)
• Jurgen Bey (Studio Makkink & Bey)
• Anita van den Ende (Ministerie van Infrastructuur & Milieu)
• Willem Schinkel (Erasmus Universiteit, Center for Public Imagination)
• Lot van Hooijdonk (Gemeente Utrecht)
• Michiel van Iersel (Non-fiction)
• Maarten Hajer (Urban Futures Studio, Universiteit Utrecht)

About the Urban Futures Studio

The Urban Futures Studio is a newly formed cross-disciplinary institute led by Prof. Maarten Hajer. It aims to improve the interaction between academic insights and the challenges we face in coping with the future, particularly at the urban level. The Urban Futures Studio is embedded within the Faculty of Geosciences and collaborates closely with the research groups within this faculty. It wants to take the lead in in the study and development of new practices that relate to environmental, social, economic and political challenges within the urban field.