New Urban Purpose

New Urban Purpose explores the thoughts of tomorrow based on the needs of today, in order to broaden the scope and understanding of cities.

Urbanisation is one of the most important societal transformations in human history. Cities play an increasingly significant role in global change through a multiplicity of societal processes taking place within the next century. The anthropocentric lifestyle is predominantly urban, and the cities of the future will be larger, more complex, and interconnected, presenting a number of global challenges. 

These challenges of the 21st century will become urban challenges as well. While cities are still in large part designed to respond to local needs defined in the past, urban areas have always been a testing ground to prototype alternative scenarios and novel solutions:  from modes of industrialisation, technological innovation, to novel governance approaches. Today, cities represent an emerging global governing power, crucial to addressing some of the world's most pressing issues and solving our gravest concerns about the future. 

We live in a time where we are confronted with multiple, interconnected challenges within the spheres of ecological conditions, societal change, geographical boundaries, political leadership, and economic structures. This compels us to discover a New Urban Purpose by moving beyond our cities’ established narratives and create new stories of emerging conditions by exploring the multiple possible, unexpected, and imagined urban futures. Our cities are ambiguous living systems that are constantly being reshaped and reinvented. With the intention to widen the scope and understanding of cities, New Urban Purpose explores not only the needs of today but the needs of tomorrow. 

In our pursuit to establish a New Urban Purpose, we employ an explorative approach based on futures studies and systems thinking that enables us to facilitate dialogue, build mutual understanding, inspire new thoughts, challenge status quos, create scenarios, and equip people to think and act on urban futures. 

Through various formats, we aim to inspire organisations to rethink systems, reconsider future needs, reimagine narratives, revise urban development, and reframe governance to explore future neighbourhoods, cities, and regions. This exploration seeks new assemblages of the city´s systems within the following spheres: 

  • Strategic Urban Governance – planning for the long term 
  • Regenerative City – going beyond sustainability 
  • Urban Liveability – a driver for creating cities by all for all 
  • Urbanisation – shaping our future cities  

With New Urban Purpose, we aim to spark public and political debate, inspire conversation, and collaborative action by providing methods, analysis and supporting collaborations between a diverse set of actors to help organisations further their understanding and exploration of urban futures at the local, national, and global levels, as well as addressing the challenges of urbanisation. 

Would you like to know more about Urban Futures and the New Urban Purpose?