Techniques of futuring: imagining the city of the future.

What: Mixed classroom on the future of the city in the post-fossil era

When: Semester 1, Block 2 – Wednesday afternoons and Fridays (+ design week between 2-5 January 2018)



Starting November 2017 the Urban Futures Studio offers a ‘mixed classroom course’, an exciting new form of academic education for ambitious master students. In this course you will study techniques available for imagining and designing cities in view of the planetary crisis of the 21th century. You 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.

To get a sense of what to expect in this unique educational format, have a look at the "Uninvited Futuring" exhibition made by students of the first Mixed Classroom, and read this interview (Dutch) with the course's instructors Dr. Jesse Hoffman (course coordinator) and Dr. Peter Pelzer.


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 for imagining the city of the future

In this course you will 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. During the course students and policymakers will work together toward an exhibition on the future of Dutch cities that will be held at the end of the course.


Mixed classroom format       

The course will offer a mix of (guest) lectures, interviews, case exercises and discussions. Using the mixed classroom format, you will 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 will learn to use innovative forms for doing research and presenting research.


Call for application

Registration starts on Monday 18th September on the Osiris website of the University.  

This course is an elective for highly motivated master students from Utrecht University. You are asked to send a motivation letter of 250 words before the 27th of September 23:59. You will be notified about your application within four days. In case you are not selected, you can register for an alternative master course up to October 1th. NB: Students from the Faculty of Geosciences are granted priority in the selection process.


Prepatory readings

Beckert, J. (2013). Imagined futures: fictional expectations in the economy. Theory and Society, 42(3), 219-240.

Jasanoff, Sheila, and Sang-Hyun Kim, eds. (2015) Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power. University of Chicago Press