Concordia University


Conrad Poirier, 1941. Collection numérique de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

The Institute for Urban Futures is a platform for facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange on the complex culture of cities. It creates a space for bringing together faculty, artists and researchers, as well as graduate students across the university and greater Montreal community, who seek to re-envision and actualize the potentiality of urban life – of possible urban futures - through the arts, culture, media, technology, business, architecture and design.

The Institute gathers and promotes research, pedagogical and creative practices opening towards the urban condition considered in its widest sense, on themes such as social justice and the right to the city, sustainability, resilience, reconciliation, migration and urban transformation, media ecology, queer urbanisms, environmental humanism, citying and futuricity.

Core critical questions guiding the Institute include:

  • What is the role of art and technology in reimagining and realizing sustainable, just and resilient urban futures?
  • How might issues of urban urgency be collectively defined along horizontal lines to emphasize consultation and facilitate inclusive outcomes?
  • How can our collective dialogue about the future of urban space make room for heterogeneous perspectives and knowledges about the city, especially those of children, citizens without domiciles, the urban poor, elders, and indigenous peoples?
  • What can be learned about urban speculations by looking at radical ideas about “the future” as they now exist in the past, such as Expo ’67?
  • How can art, design, and performance radically sensualise our encounters with the sonic, olfactory, and haptic dimensions of the city so that we might boldly engage them in our speculative designs for the future?
  • How can universities help citizens develop a heightened awareness of environmental change issues through art, design and community engagement?

The Institute is an initiative of a core group of faculty members, researchers and students in the Faculties of Fine Arts and Arts and Science, and is anchored within the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC) by the Urban Futures Working Group for the 2016-17 academic year. While gathering a community dispersed throughout the university and the city, the Institute itself is located in the cooperative workspace Temps libre in the heart of the Mile End neighbourhood.

For more information, and to join our mailing list, please contact Paul Holmquist, Project Manager, at

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