‘How to imagine better alternative futures’ – an Urban Resilience Summerschool session

Open up for new learning and keep connecting with new people is also part of what we do at Out Of Office. As a studio who is working with futures and trends, we understand that trends do not really matter if we don’t fix the climate crisis. And you cannot do this alone, it is important to work with a range of people that aim to create a better future and wants to make an impact by solving sustainable challenges. So it was time for us to go Out Of Office and outside our comfort zone. 

That is why Kirsten van Dam decided to participate in the 2019 Urban Resilience Summer School in Copenhagen, an eight-day intensive capacity building training organised by BLOXHUB, The University of Southern Denmark and Aalborg University, in partnership with a multitude of international organisations.

With that, we also became part of the alumni of the International Urban Resilience Academy (IURA). During these intense days, the summer school brought together researchers, practitioners, and policymakers while working with different United Nations offices: UN Human Settlement Program, UN Centre for Climate Change, UN Office for Disaster Risks. Other partners involved WWF, UNESCO, The City Of Copenhagen and Ramboll. During this time, we got introduced to tools such as system analysis, stakeholder mapping, forecasting & simulation, visioning most desirable future, back casting and developing a final climate action strategy. Besides meeting amazing new friends and gaining a world of knowledge on adaptation, resilience, climate challenges, we were designing an urban resilience plan for the city of Copenhagen, looking ahead to 2050. 

This experience emphasised the necessity of future focused designers to be part of teams who work on urban resilience, to bring new perspectives whilst learning their lingo, the frameworks, the tools and methodologies and at the same time inspire and bring your knowledge and ways of doing things to ensure we can together imagine new alternative futures. 

So, I was thrilled to be invited to be one of the facilitators and speakers of the second (online) edition of the Urban Resilience Summer School in 2020. This time it was an online learning journey for 5 weeks, with around 25 Urban Resilience researchers, practitioners & policymakers, spanning 14 time zones. Out Of Office gave a session on futures, the tools and the mindsets and how it can open up our imagination for solutions to address urban resilience challenges. It was a great experience, and it will not be the last! Out Of Office is now part of a global urban resilience community of practice and together we want to experiment and learn to tackle urban resilience challenges. 

Out Of Office focus and interest will continue to be on trends, foresight, design and speculative futures, but preferably using it to tackle urban resilience challenges, circular economy and equity. Out Of Office believes they are and will be impactful and important in future design for next generations to come…