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Sense the City kick-off at Z2X18

Sense the City bei Z2X. Finale Berlin


The starting gun for the Sense the City project sounded in September 2018 at the Z2X Festival in Berlin. Every year, the ZEIT ONLINE-managed Festival brings together young visionaries with the goal of jointly developing ideas for the future that make the world a little bit better.


A good opportunity, we thought, to speak with young thought leaders about their visions for the city of the future. It quickly became clear that we aren’t the only ones who find the topic important, and there was a lot to discuss – all the seats in the vision workshop we offered were taken in a flash. We took the more than thirty participants, aged 20-29, on a vision journey to the city 2050+ and developed three different prototypes for desirable urban futures.


Full of fantasy, these models for the city of the future had a quality that simply blew us away. They showed once again: if you give people space to ponder and express their wishes for the future, they quickly produce something astonishing. In just an hour, the participants created urban futures diametrically opposed to the standard images from urban planning or science fiction. They dreamed of natural soil for walking barefoot, wood as the dominant building material, and a wide array of architectural styles. Of an atmosphere characterized by natural color and warm light – as if it were always sunset. Of a rhythm that is calm but not still, of a bit more chaos in the city, just no disorder. They dreamed of cities free from advertisement, with playgrounds standing ready for adults. Another intriguing element was how all the models tried to dissolve the dichotomy between city and countryside.


At the conclusion of the conference, Sense the City was selected by the Z2X Jury as one of the ten most promising ideas out of the more than 100 on offer. For that, a great big thank you – we couldn’t have imagined a better start.


“The future belongs to these ideas” – a nice article by ZEIT ONLINE editor Marlon Schröder about Sense the City at Z2X can be found HERE.