The Post-Fossil City: A Call to Arts

"Scientists want to make things especially specific, while designers are always working to make things concrete. This bringing of worlds together is very difficult." David Hamers introduced the complexity of the dialogue.

The workshop explored the need for fresh and provocative ideas about the future of the city: What will it mean to live, work, and move around in these post-fossil cities? How will our cities become not only postfossil but also pro-urbanity, in the broadest sense of the word: places that sustain natural, social, economic, and creative life? The premise of this session was that we need artists and designers to help us imagine the post-fossil city. We need images that spark our imagination, lead to collective action and depict the trade-offs that different urban futures contain.

It order to instigate this discussion, four of the 10 finalists of the Post-Fossil City Contest, run by the Urban Futures Studio, were asked to present their ideas, and feedback was given in small groups with the aim to improve the entries and learn at the same time about the role of imagination in shaping the urban transformation.

The projects discussed were: the Symbolic City, Cow on Tour, The People of Petrotopia, Sun City’s City of Silence (for an elaboration on the projects see Discussions in the breakout sessions are all on tangible, concrete ideas for the projects, while also building into more rich and broad discussions about the role of the imagination. The richness of the future imagined in this workshop is a reflection of the diversity of perspectives, creativity and imagination of the entries of the Post-Fossil City Contest. This can only be summarized in the context exhibition itself - opening on June 14th in the Stadskantoor in Utrecht.


What is the imagined future? How can we overcome current challenges to reach this future?

A future is needed where there is a multiplicity of imagined possibilities. For this we need to include the arts and the creativity and imagination that comes with this transdisciplinarity.