Speaking Topics: Cindy Frewen on Cities of the Future and more


Design in the Age of Smart Machines

After a decade of woeful economic conditions, a future golden age is on the horizon. Integrated technologies will make buildings interact with us, even adapt and grow. They’ll be disposable, portable, recyclable, assembled, and temporary with virtual, augmented, and physical layers. How will architect’s roles change and what can we do to be ready and take advantage now? Furthermore, Generation Flux will live in a hybrid reality of ubiquitous computing. How can buildings learn to talk, adapt, and shape future experiences?

Design Futures

Design futures marries futures methods and design thinking in order to materialize speculative future worlds. Futurists are moving beyond traditional tools to create more vivid, lived in, world building scenarios. Rather than just narratives, these stories are told with images, videos, and sounds and in the future tactile and spatial experiences. You will in effect see possible design futures, and participate in shaping the design. In creating multi-sensory, multi-dimensional futures, you can explore more deeply the intentions and implications of future alternatives. Participants will learn the theory, see examples, and practice creating or assembling thumbnail images of futures artifacts to imagine future worlds. Participants will learn what design futures are, how they differ from traditional scenarios and design fictions, how to create design futures, the basics of design futures workshop facilitation, the characteristics of excellent design futures, and examples from videos and illustrations. Plus they will do speedy thumbnail sketches freehand or using prefab elements.


Cities In 100 Years and What It Means Today

Where can you see the future today? Stretching your time horizon to a century gives perspective and allows you to come back to see how those ideas might work today. Portland Oregon, New Songdo City, South Korea, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Vienna Austria each hold clues to the future of cities. Urban issues move slowly through innovation and development phases. Many places are already experimenting. Which are visionary and which are empty promises? We’ll create a framework for analyzing in terms of technology and social change, and rate a number of current and future plans in terms of their likely timelessness and durability, in other words, which works will speak to us tomorrow?

21st Century Cities After Peak Urban
For five years, more people have lived in cities than not and China and India keep growing rapidly while European cities and some American ones shrink. But by the second half of the century, that huge growth spurt will end and many cities will be overbuilt. Given that future in the lifetime of Millennials, what should we build now? When will cities become energy independent? What might the house, office building, or city hall of the future look like? How will we move around cities and between them, if at all? Will we produce food and energy or make buildings and cars at home? How will ubiquitous computing and big data change our daily lives? Will buildings know us and talk back? What will matter most in future cities?

The Power of Educational Campuses in a Digital Century
If the 20th century campus was a pastoral college town, the 21st is located in the urban core, a hybrid of real and digital worlds. The vertical campus engages communities, generates economic prosperity, and becomes a central element of thriving cities. The vertical campus is very different than it’s rural counterpart. The urban college’s campus is the city street. The urban fabric defines and connects the isolated highrises. 22nd century campuses will become incubators of innovation and learning by doing. Emerging futures can be found globally in design build, well being, and governance models that integrate education, work, and lifestyles. Highlights: Participants will learn about future higher education environments as energy producers and incubators of ideas and economics, how future cities will be shaped by integrated vertical education networks, cutting edge locations that are exploring future models, and visions that vault universities into valued urban places.


The Futures-Focused Design Firm

Rather than be building strictly on the past, a futures-focused firm is forward thinking, purposeful, clear about mission and vision, willing to take risks, and highly connected. While credibility is gained through track record, inspiration comes from visionary purpose and being connected to ideas greater than today’s tasks. We will look at some firms doing it well, and some examples of doing it wrong. Instead of a shell organization frozen by past successes, a futures-focused firm responds to clients and associates concerns and aspirations through robust processes towards shared goals and common aims.

The Future of Futures and Foresight

Based on a year-long study by the Association of Professional Futurists, the practice of foresight has reached a crossroads. Divergent paths include foresight as data intelligence, anticipatory futures, experiential design futures, and big picture meta-futures to name a few. Some futurists focus on issues-based advocacy, others on corporations and product innovation, still others on institutions and social change. Futures work has become increasingly social and values-based, with tools such as integral futures, generational turnings, World Values Survey, and causal layerd analysis that expose underlying systems and ideology. The debate forward focuses on whether foresight remains a loosely connected network or develops into a full-fledged profession grounded by academic discipline.

The Best Architects Are Futurists

Buildings are primarily designed in the past tense, using history to inform building design today for projects to be used for decades, even centuries. Does that maes sense? Instead, architects can draw on futures scenarios and imagine how their buildings will be relevant in those various alternatives. Rather than just considering the “business as usual” future, as an extention of the present, what if the future were radically different. I’ll discuss the idea of design futures, which marries futures methods with design thinking to materialize future speculative worlds. Participants will see how their ideas can be broadened and how to use a futures approach to inform their work and expand their qualifications.