Imagining Urban Futures

The Urban Futures Studio first launched its agenda with the Imagining Urban Futures festival. A two-day encounter during which academics and practitioners from a range of fields and disciplines discussed the future of our urban environments. Central question: “Why is it so difficult to imagine new, positive urban futures?”

An interdisciplinary group discussed how we could overcome our crisis of imagination, based on the assumption that, if we want to arrive at non-linear transitions, such an imagination of a positive future is crucial. It will create radically different — read: more sustainable, liveable, equitable, innovative — urban environments.

To begin working towards answering these complex questions, Imagining Urban Futures involved a broad range of activities. Part of the program were keynote lectures by Richard Bronk and Nick Dunn, four workshop sessions, the presentation of the Post-Fossil City Contest finalists, an excursion to neighbourhood Overvecht, and the inaugural lecture of Maarten Hajer as Utrecht University’s first professor of Urban Futures. His inaugural also includes the agenda for the Urban Futures Studio as set at the time.



De Vrije Wolf, the former prison in Utrecht’s historic centre, served as a fitting backdrop for this festival of the imagination. It truly challenged us to break out of our disciplinary silos into new spaces of possibility. Studio KNOL was asked to provide an appropriate ‘stage set’ for the conference.

Below you will find images, videos, and summaries of each of the events. You can also download the full Imagining Urban Futures report and check out the complete photo gallery.


Concept and Programme Development: Urban Futures Studio
Design and Production of Spatial Interventions: Studio KNOL
Event Production and Coordination: Richard Pelgrim
Video Production: Rick Messemaker
Photography Conference: Raf Gorissen
Photography Overvecht: Sophie van der Kroon

With a special thanks to:

Ministerie van Infrastructuur & Milieu
Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties
De Vrije Wolf