Methodology for demystifying the futures of cities with dwellers

Jouko Myllyoja, Nina Wessberg, Mikko Dufva, Anu Tuominen, Maria Åkerman

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther conference contributionScientific


    The significance of cities as living, working, leisure and transport environments continues to grow through increasing urbanization. The future strategies of cities should acknowledge the changing needs of various dwellers and respond to trends changing the operating environment. Accordingly, there is a need for deeper understanding on the future ways of living and emerging needs. External trends and other expert knowledge need to be interpreted in the context of everyday life of the dwellers. In this paper, we introduce a methodological approach to incorporate dwellers into the often expert driven knowledge production concerning the future of cities. The approach can be divided into two phases. In the first phase a systematic mapping of future trends related to development of urban areas is conducted. This includes identifying interesting urban plans and developments, experiments, pilots and ways to operate. The mapping process provides examples of how on-going and emerging trends such as aging, immigration, digitalization, sharing economies, urban food production, climate change and sustainability materialize in different cities. In the second phase the results from the mapping are used to feed participatory scenario building with dwellers. We describe the scenario building as a form of participatory urban governance operating at the interface between politics and everyday living. To create a dialogue between expert knowledge and dwellers' experiential knowledge, we utilise methods from arts and design. The aim is to make space for dwellers' knowledge expressed e.g. in terms of emotions, to challenge the implicit assumptions about futures and demystify the future. In addition to the methodology, we elaborate the opportunities and challenges for creating actionable and policy relevant knowledge. The study is a part of the Dwellers in Agile Cities strategic research project funded by the Academy of Finland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference - Tampere, Finland
    Duration: 6 Jun 20178 Jun 2017


    Conference13th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference
    Abbreviated titlehopefulNESS 2017


    • drama intervention
    • foresight
    • city design


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