The second installment of our Futures of Europe workshop is a wrap – with a wonderful, open minded, and fun session in Copenhagen, Denmark.
We spent the day with at the Litteraturhuset ved Vandkunsten, a beautiful, cozy place in the heart of the city where we were joined by locals, friends, and students to once again discuss the question “What Europe would we want to live in?”. After a short welcome and introduction, we kicked things off with sharing what Europe means to us. The results were big headlines such as:
Media, populism, and information
Cultural Diversity, from solidarity to Us vs. Them
Political Institutions, transparency, and trust
Economic integration and business opportunities
Free travel and movement
Forgetting and remembering a shared history
Security, conflicts, and terror
Environment and Climate Change
Collaborative projects and European undertakings, from Eurovision to the European Space Agency
How might we…?
We then picked some of them to explore further and – after more discussions – decided to frame three central questions to follow up with throughout the day:
How can Europe play a role in preserving the environment?
How could we use economic integration to increase solidarity in Europe?
How might we remember and learn from the terrible capacities of humankind?
And as challenging as they were, we eventually dared to propose hopeful, utopian, fantastic, and desirable projects and solutions that we imagine may be answers to those questions. Just like in our first workshop, we finished our workshop with crafting „Good news from the Future“ – with three fictional newspapers from different scenarios, that report on the then-implemented projects, and initiatives. We will share a more detailed look on these narratives soon and describe how they explored the questions of diversity, sustainability, and collective remembrance.
Copenhagen marked another great step on our path to explore desirables futures for Europe and beyond. We are still collecting, editing all the other ideas and perspectives that we get sent in written form by people from all over the world (more on that soon), before we head to Brussels once again in September, to present the results and potential follow-ups of this initiative to the good folks at FutureLab Europe, who made this project possible.
In our Cologne workshop we also developed a perspective on a potential futures, that was highly focused on the relations between us – generations, neighbors, families. It doubled down on sical realities and education with two corse claims that were laid out in the form of two Headlines:
1. End of Retirement Homes
Envisioning a future of an „integrated multi-generational“ city, it spoke of the very last single compound building being torn down. Instead, the citizens of Cologne has decided to go for a holistic approach of families, where younger and older generations naturally live together. By helping in other out and working together on all things family, financials, house hold, and friendship, the citizens of this future Cologne revived the spirit of the village community – in light of a globalized and interconnected world. The new normal in the future is a shared understanding of community, where loneliness for the elderly is just as much overcome as detached search for identity and social frames is for the young generation. The city’s architecture allows for this by providing housings that cater to diverse requirements of its tenants – from private and personal spaces, to shared gardens and community rooftops!
2. End of stupidity
In the same vein but with a different focus goes the second headline of coming out of this future: The „End of Stupidity“ is a concerted effort by all EU-Cities, that implemented Life-Long-Learning Institutions for everyone. „By opening the University of La Lienvenida now every EU citizen hass access to regional Life-Long-Learning Institutions“. Putting curiosity and learning center, now only for the youth, but every phase of the human life, the EU in this future implemented free, always available education systems for all its citizens. Labor standards and social systems have been adopted to allow for this academic society to strive – and in fact in turned out, that economic returns of well-educated and reflective people well exceed those of past EU societies. The opening of the University La Bienvenida made regional education, even in the periphery, 100% complete.
This future scenario took the idea of free movement a proper step further. Coming from today’s observation, that free movement within the EU might be possible in theory, but few having the resources to actually move, they flipped the idea atop: The head line reads „Nuremberg is a coastal city now!“ – the idea behind it: what if moving apartments, cities, countries was 100% free? What if every citizen could choose where to live, regardless of economic constraints? If you could move everywhere you would like to like – not just for a short term holiday, but as long as you wish? The paper accordingly paints this picture, with Nuremberg as the first European city to move collectively to the sea, opening up the question of what makes for a city? It’s buildings and infrastructure – or its citizens?
As it turns out 100% free movement also has its impact on personal live – with an elderly couple that shares 60 relocations together, having not only traveled, but lived all over Europe. Again, we discussed what this would do to European identities? Imagine every European could live in all Europe, making the continent truly accessible for everyone.
Thirdly, EU funded movements made actually holidays almost obsolete. Since people could just live their lives wherever they pleased, the need for „escaping grim everyday life“ almost vanished – as clearly stated in a prominent graph. What if our live could be feeling like constantly being and living in the right place. Would the be a good or a bad thing? Would there even be abandoned regions (as the paper shows?) Would that mean another level of democracy – a literal voting with your feet? We wonder..!
Last week we had an exciting kick-off for Futures Of Europe in Cologne. Co-inciding with the national covention of Germany’s populist new-right, we voiced our own protest by discussing and envisioning positive and desirable futures for our cities, neighborhoods, and families.
We had a diverse and open-minded crowd with us, ranging from artists, a futurist, a psychotherapist, teachers, and more – and we jumped into the discussion of big and general questions, as well as tiny details and concrete examples. After about 5 hours we came up with four narratives, framed as “good news from the future”, that shed some light on the future of housing, (social-)mobility, sustainability and the social contract. We will write up those narratives and publish them here in the coming weeks.
Our first take on this matter was a refreshing and interesting experience, we learned a lot and are very looking forward to round two in Copenhagen, coming up June 24! We’d love to see you there and are of course happy to hear your thoughts! For some impressions on the first workshop, see below.
Keine Lust , Dich immer nur mit den Problemen von Donald und Frauke zu beschäftigen? Und auch keinen Nerv mehr für düstere Visionen vom Ende der Demokratie, der „europäischen Werte” und – noch schlimmer – des gesammelten Abendlands?
Wir auch nicht!
Uns interessiert viel mehr: wie wäre eigentlich alles ganz ok? Ganz konkret, hier bei uns und generell? Und an welcher Gesellschaft wollen wir alle mitbauen, statt dramatischen Trends und Voraussagen zu vermeiden?
In einem halbtägigen Workshop wollen wir daher fragen, in welcher Zukunft wir eigentlich leben wollen? Wie wünschen wir uns Familie, Freunde, Alltag, Stadt und Europa in Zukunft? Und welche Spinnereien, Träume und Utopien haben wir im Kopf, wenn wir an übermorgen denken?
Dazu laden wir Zukunftsforscher, Städteplaner, Designer und Nachbarn ein, mit uns gemeinsam Zukunftsbilder entwickeln, bei denen es sich zu fragen lohnt – wie kommen wir dahin? Und die Lust machen, gemeinsam dafür zu arbeiten.