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Materializing the Future

Principal Investigator(s): Bill Brown and Shannon Lee Dawdy

How is the future being shaped by designers in the present? Modernism in architecture and urban design often took its boldest steps by attempting to shape society’s future. Having passed through a period of postmodern disenchantment, designers now seem ready again to take on the challenge of the future. In the face of climate change, a global crisis in democratic governance, and a chaotic acceleration of neoliberal capitalism, what sort of futures are visionary architects and designers trying to bring into being? What sort of utopian visions do they have? What informs their social imaginaries? What projects are being realized? What is on the horizon? How can we understand urban and landscape design as a social movement in this contemporary moment?

This collaborative project facilitates conversations about and with architects, designers, geographers, and those who interact with them. Under its banner, 3CT has sponsored a conference on speculative design, organized events in conjunction with the Chicago and Venice Architectural Biennials, and coordinated with several related campus initiatives, such as the Urban Art / Urban Form Sawyer Mellon seminar, the Designing Urbanism workshop and several events involving the Decolonizing Architecture group.