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Dare to size the future – A plea for bold visions

From solving current problems to positive visions of the future

What we need are positive visions of the future. A look at history shows that positive visions of the future have always played an important role. They give people courage and orientation – especially in times of complex challenges. It is not for nothing that many visions and utopias have, in the past, emerged in times of great change (Lenzen 2017).

Positive visions give people courage and orientation.

 

We, too, face major upheavals; perhaps we are already in the middle of them. But instead of taking a moment to figure out in which direction we actually want to change, we stumble after many developments. Yet in order to master the challenges ahead, we need fundamental social, ecological, and economic change – a “completely new way of thinking about, planning and building cities” (Schreiber 2016).

How do we get back to bold visions for the future?

But how do we get there? After all, we find it difficult to think about the future, especially one that does not just resemble a continuation of the present but begins where tomorrow ends. Here we quickly reach our cognitive limits and fall into habitual patterns of thinking.

 

So the question arises: how and where are the courageous visions for the cities of the future to emerge? Thomas Macho, Professor of Cultural History at Humboldt University in Berlin, explains that it takes “(…) time, opportunities, the courage to experiment, to try things out, to be creative, to be playful, and also to make mistakes. (…) Errors can be corrected if one has experimented with them, but if one is afraid from the outset of doing something wrong, then the courage to be creative and imaginative quickly disappears” (Lenzen 2017: 44).