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Urban Futures

Urban Futures
Urban Futures 2017-18

The CISSC Urban Futures working group is geared towards facilitating dialogue and exchanges on research, creative, and pedagogical engagements with cities that open toward the possibility of alternative ‘urban futures’. The aims of this working group are to create a space for bringing together faculty, artists and researchers, as well as graduate students whose research and practice are tethered to urban issues writ large, including: sustainability, arts and culture, architecture, urbanism and design, and themes such as resilience, reconciliation, migration and urban transformation, the right to the city, media ecology, queer urbanisms, environmental humanism, citying, futurity, and more. The literature on these topics is broad, but what is relatively new is a shift in thinking about urban futures across disciplines. The CISSC Urban Futures working group will undertake a rigorous exploration of possible urban futures through cross-disciplinary collaborative research strategies and embedded and embodied urban explorations.

Our core team shares the facilitation of this working group and its activities. Our aim is to create mutually supporting structures (of which the working group is one) that will create a complex scaffold for advanced investigations concerning the urban fabric—its flows, resistances, and resiliencies—and ideas of futurism, speculative design, and fabulist site specific practice. This research and practice scaffold takes a particular and effective form in the Institute for Urban Futures, which has been significantly formed and fed through the work of the Urban Futures working group since 2016 with the support of CISSC.

In 2017-18 we will focus on five key “affinities” within our primary themes:

  • How culture can serve as leverage for urban resiliency and sustainability
  • How art and technology can enable citizen engagement of environmental concerns in urban contexts
  • Non-human urbanisms
  • Activist approaches to envisioning and realizing potential urban futures
  • Amplifying and diversifying the university’s role in engaging communities around issues of urban urgency

The working group will rigorously explore how these issues can be critically engaged through collaborative research and creative practices and participatory activities.



Carmela Cucuzzella, Department of Design and Computation Arts
Jill Didur, Department of English
Rebecca Duclos, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts
Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs
Cynthia Hammond, Department of Art History
Shauna Janssen, Departments of Theatre/Geography, Planning and Environment
pk langshaw, Department of Design and Computation Arts


Institute for Urban Futures


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