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Imagining Urban Futures

Maarten Hajer
Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University

The phenomenon of climate change requires a rethinking of existing socio-geographical arrangements. Maarten Hajer argues that the transition to ‘post-fossil urbanization’ is hampered by the lack of positive imaginations of alternative possible urban futures and post-fossil city life.

Maarten Hajer, founded the Urban Futures Studio to investigate why it is so difficult to conceive of new possible urban worlds. Using concepts such as ‘imaginary’ and ‘technique of futuring’ he tries to help to recoup the capacity to imagine alternative possible urban worlds. In his lecture he will also show how the Studio tries to redefine the role of the university in this endeavour.

Maarten A. Hajer is distinguished professor of Urban Futures and Director of the Urban Futures Studio in Utrecht. He is also the Scientific Director of the university-wide strategic theme 'Sustainability' and the lead author of its new programme, 'Pathways to Sustainability'.

The Urban Futures Studio is devoted to the study of positive urban futures and of ways to get there. They investigate what they call ‘Techniques of Futuring’. They are a transdisciplinary institute and conduct empirical research on existing practices, but also help to initiate experiments. The Urban Futures Studio is convinced that new thinking starts in ‘crossovers’ between distinct disciplines, and in coalitions of new and old agents of change.