How does Science Fiction influence our cities?

How do you imagine the future of our cities? Flying cars like in 5th Element or maybe fully automatic car systems like in Minority Report? A lot of green spaces like on the Star Trek version of future Earth or maybe more like the dark, wet streets in Blade Runner? Currently, there is almost no topic discussed as intensely as the future of urban environments.

The headline of this blogpost is also the title of Igor’s talk at SXSW Interactive this year. But Igor isn’t just going to present by themselves – two fantastic co-panelists will be joining him: Adam Greenfield of Urbanscale fame (and one of our speakers at Cognitive Cities Conference) and Jo Guldi, a professor specializing in the history of infrastructure at U Chicago and Harvard.

So what are they going to be talking about exactly? This is the description that won the hearts & minds of the SXSW voting crowd:

How do you imagine the future of our cities? Flying cars like in 5th Element or maybe fully automatic car systems like in Minority Report? A lot of green spaces like on the Star Trek version of future Earth or maybe more like the dark, wet streets in Blade Runner? Will we live on a planet that resembles Star Wars’ Coruscant city-planet idea or will it be something stick to our mix of urban and rural environments? Is something like Cisco’s New Songdo in South Korea more fiction or reality? How would most people perceive IBM’s Smart Cities plans? Currently, there is almost no topic discussed as intensely as the future of urban environments. No wonder, since studies show the projection that by 2050 almost 75 percent of the then 9 billion people on this planet will live in megacities. We want to compare the current developments with the ones we know from fiction, because we’re highly influenced by those science fiction images that swirl in our heads.”

Urban futures haven’t just been on our minds since we decided to host Cognitive Cities Conference. In fact, over the last year or so we’ve given a number of talks and interviews about various aspects of the topic, including at re:publica, Sigint, Ignite Berlin and Convention Camp.

And that’s surely not the last we’ll be hearing and thinking about the future of cities. Now where are our jetpacks?