Accepted Paper:

Dreaming of Utopia, again  

Author:

Samantha Hyler (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers how a sustainable future city is envisioned, and how dreaming about the future is meaningful for the present. It’s no longer just vision planners who are constructing the future. How has the discourse on the future vision been taken on and integrated by other actors in the city?

Paper long abstract:

Vision plans are a form of storytelling about a future city not (yet) existing. It is a collective endeavor to dream about and bring that future into existence. The year 2035 marks a point in the not-so-distant future towards which planners of the city of Helsingborg, Sweden currently aspire to with their vision plan. The stakes are set high for the future of this city, as politicians adopted a vision plan called Helsingborg 2035 that pushes an agenda of a joint, global, creative, vibrant, and balanced city. Or in other words, it should be 'sustainable.' Indicative of a particular kind of utopian future, the vision characterizes the past as outdated, unmotivated, and nostalgic in contrast with the future as dynamic, innovative, and sustainable. I explore the ways in which a sustainable future is envisioned, and how dreaming about the future is meaningful for the present. I am particularly interested in the ways in which discursive practices construct, stabilize, frame, and maintain this vision. Discourses of the past and future city in part form the present identity of the city. The vision is a central motor for constructing the present and future of the city as, for example, sustainable, modern, and tolerant. Yet it is no longer just the vision planners who are constructing the future. Events are popping up across the city that engage with the future discourse. How has the discourse on the future vision been taken on and integrated by other actors in the city?

Panel Urba01
Urban development from below