Mixed Classroom: the Neighbourhood of the Future

The Netherlands has a strong tradition of planning for the long term. However, at the moment academics, professionals, and policymakers alike are struggling to imagine how we will live in the future. We are well aware of what we don’t want: fossil fuels, social segregation, unemployment, and so on. But what is it that we do want in the future? Wat will houses look like? Where do people buy their groceries? How do you go from A to B? Do you still talk to your neighbours? A topic more relevant than ever, as the Netherlands is in need of one million new homes before 2040. Over the course of two months, participating students and policymakers explored the neighbourhood of the future. The course combined experimentation with design, art and science to accelerate the much-needed transition. Each group was coupled with a neighbourhood in Utrecht, Rotterdam or the Hague, and desiged an object meant as a conversation starters. On January 23rd, students, policymakers and others travelled to Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague during 'A coach for conversation: a journey into the neighbourhood of the future'.


From November 2017 until January 2018 the Urban Futures Studio offered a ‘mixed classroom course’, an exciting new form of academic education for ambitious master students. In this course we study techniques available for imagining and designing cities in view of the planetary crisis of the 21th century. Students will do so together with policymakers, scientists and business representatives. The mixed classroom is both an elective Master course (5 ECTS/7.5 ECTS) for students and an interactive lecture series for policymakers.


Aim of the course
The aim of this course is to give participants a better understanding of the available techniques to deal with inherently uncertain futures by imagining what cities of the future may look like, and how they will be experienced by their future inhabitants.

Techniques of futuring
During the course students develop a conceptual and practical understanding of the available techniques for imagining the future. Such as: design thinking, scenario’s, creative writing, and the staging of public participation. 

Mixed Classroom Format
The course offers a mix of (guest) lectures, interviews, case exercises and discussions. Using the mixed classroom format, students learn to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge in case studies on future cities. Participation in this course offers you the possibility to gain hands-on experience in connecting ideas to action in collaboration with policymakers, on topics that are both scientifically innovative and societally urgent. In addition, you get taught innovative forms for doing research and presenting research.