Post-Fossil City Contest

January 20, 2017 00:37

Imagine a city that is not addicted to fossil fuels. How would we live, work, move around in such a city? How would people interact with one another, and what new urban conflicts may arise in this post-fossil city?

Utrecht University’s Urban Futures Studio (UFS) presents the Post-Fossil City Contest, inviting artists, designers, architects, authors, photographers, film and theatre makers and all other creative thinkers and makers to envision the city in a post-fossil era.

The deadline for submitting a short proposal is 24 February, 2017. A jury will select the 10 best submissions, which will be presented on March 16, 2017. The makers of these proposals will receive €1,000 to further work out their plans. The finalized proposals will be exhibited during the Post-Fossil City exposition in Utrecht in June, 2017. From these 10, the jury will select a winner, who will be awarded €10,000.


Fossil fuels have shaped the world as we know it. They have defined how we move around in our cars, how we produce and consume food, run our economies, generate electricity, and design our cities. But whether we want it or not, our addiction to coal, gas and oil is coming to an end. We’re heading for a post-fossil future. An era that will reshape cities and everyday so radically that it’s hard to imagine what it feels, tastes, smells, and looks like.

Innovation is the result of responding to problems. Both the car and the bicycle were developed in response to dissatisfaction with transport by horses, and these new means of transport shaped our environment. Planners and architects like Cornelis van Eesteren, Robert Moses and Le Corbusier designed cities for car traffic — machines for living, focused entirely on efficiency. Today, their ideas are seen as a failed utopia, but they have strongly influenced the urban landscape. What if we design — aspects of — a new, post-fossil city, adapted to the challenge of our time? Would this city be a utopia or a dystopia, and which problems may arise in the process of getting there?

In order to make the future, we first have to imagine it. The Urban Futures Studio asks creative thinkers and makers to take the problems of our current cities as a starting point, in order to imagine the everyday texture of the post-fossil city. The Urban Futures Studio would love to hear from you!

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