Imagining the Future City

A rich blend of engaging narrative and rigorous analysis can provide decisionmakers with the various perspectives they need when making choices with long-range consequences for cities around the world.

An ashen sky gives way to streaks of magenta and lilac across the Phoenix cityscape in 2050. L’yan, one of millions of late-night Creators, walks slowly through the fields of grass growing in the elevated honeycomb transportation network on her way back from the late-night block party. L’yan has only a short trip to her pad in downtown Phoenix. She, along with 10,000,000 fellow Creators, has just beaten the challenge posted on the PATHWAY (Privileged Access-The Hacker WAY) challenge board. L’yan shivers, a cool breeze and the feeling of success washing over her. She had gained PATHWAY access during her ninth year in the online Academy of Critically Adaptive trans-Disciplinary Engineering, Mathematics, Informatics, & Arts (ACADEMIA). She dropped out after achieving Creator status. Who needs a doctorate if you have access to PATHWAY challenges? Research funds are no longer tied up in disciplinary colleges and universities. In Phoenix, as in many innovation centers around the world, social stratification is not any longer determined by race, gender, or family wealth; instead, it is based on each person’s skills in problem-solving and adaptive learning, their ability to construct and shape materials, and to write and decipher code. Phoenix embraces the ideals of individual freedom and creativity, and amended zoning in 2035 to allow pads (building sites) for Creators to build towers. Pads are the basis of innovation and are the foundation blocks for the complex network of interconnected corridors that hover above the aging city streets. Today, in 2050, the non-Creators, the squares, live in relics, detached houses, off-pad in the old (2010 era) suburbs at the periphery of the city center.

Science fiction uses personal narratives and vivid images to create immersive experiences for the audience. Scientific scenarios, on the other hand, most often rely on predictive models that capture the key variables of the system being projected into the future. These two forms of foresight—and the people who practice them—typically don’t engage with one another, but they should.

Scientific scenarios are typically illustrated by an array of lines on a graph representing a range of possible futures; for example, possible changes in greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric temperatures over the next several decades. Although such a spectrum of lines may reflect the results of sophisticated climate models, it is unlikely to communicate the information decisionmakers need for strategizing and planning for the future. Even the most sophisticated models are simplifications of the forces influencing future outcomes. They present abstract findings, disconnected from local cultural, economic, or environmental conditions. A limited number of continuous lines on a graph also communicate a sense of control and order, suggesting that today’s choices lead to predictable outcomes.

Science fiction stories, in contrast, can use rich and complex narratives to envision scenarios that are tangible and feel “real.” Yet science fiction also has its obvious limits as a foresight tool. To be effective, it must be driven by narrative, not by science or the concerns of policymakers. Scenarios constructed through collaborations that draw from the strengths of science and science fiction can help decisionmakers and citizens envision, reflect, and plan for the future. Such rich and embedded scenarios can reveal assumptions, insights, and questions about societal values. They can explore a society’s dependence on technology, its attitudes about the market, or its capacity to effect social change through policy choices. Scenarios can challenge linear cause-effect thinking or assumptions about rigid path dependencies. People are often ready for more complexity and have a greater appreciation of the intertwined forces shaping society after engaging with such scenarios. To illustrate this, we describe a recent project we directed aimed at helping decisionmakers think through the implications of emerging nanoscale science, technology, and innovation for cities.

Constructing scenarios

Sustainability science develops solution options for complex problems with social, economic, and environmental elements, reaching from local to global scales. Design thinking synthesizes information from disparate sources to arrive at design concepts that help solve such complex problems and advance human aspirations, from the scale of the body to the scale of the city. In this project we used both sustainability science and design thinking to map, model, and visualize alternative socio-technical futures that respond to the mounting sustainability challenges facing Phoenix, Arizona.

Currently, science policy in the United States and across the globe is justifying significant investments in nanotechnology by promising, for example, improved public health, water quality, food productivity, public safety, and transportation efficiency. In Phoenix, regional efforts are under way in each of these sectors. The nanotechnologies envisioned by researchers, investors, and entrepreneurs promise to reshape the buildings, infrastructures, and networks that affect the lives of the city’s residents. Furthermore, Phoenix, like many urban centers, is committed to diversifying the regional economy through investments in high-tech clusters and recruiting research-intensive companies. It is already home to companies such as Intel, Honeywell, Orbital Sciences, and Translational Genomics. These companies promise jobs, economic growth, and the benefits of novel technologies to make life easier, not only for Phoenix residents but for consumers everywhere.

We consulted with diverse stakeholders including “promoters” (such as entrepreneurs, funding agencies, staffers, and consultants), less enthusiastic “cautious optimists” (members of the media, city officials, and investors), and downright “skeptics” (staff at social justice organizations, regulatory agencies, and insurance companies). These urban stakeholders have rival objectives and values that highlight the interwoven and competing interests affecting the city’s social, technological, and environmental characteristics. Repeated interactions between the research team and stakeholders led to relationships that were maintained for the duration of the two-year study.

A mixed method to foresight

In collaboration with these diverse stakeholders, the scenarios explore the following questions: In Phoenix in 2050, who is doing what in nanotechnology innovation, why are they doing it, and with what outcomes (intended and unintended)? How conducive are different models of nanotechnology innovation to mitigating the sustainability challenges Phoenix faces in 2050? We used 2050 as the reference year because it is beyond the near-term planning horizon, yet still within the horizon of responsibility to today’s children.

In the initial stages of research, we collected elements for the scenarios directly from stakeholders through interviews, workshops, local media reports, and public events, and from documents published by academic, industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. That review process yielded a set of scenario elements (variables) in four relevant domains of models of innovation, societal drivers, nanotechnology applications, and sustainability challenges.

(1) Models of innovation represent distinctly different patterns of technological change: market-pull innovation is the conventional procedure of product development and commercialization; social entrepreneurship innovation aligns the interests of private entrepreneurs with the challenges facing society through diverse public-private partnerships; closed collaboration innovation is based on public-private partnerships restricted to a limited number of elite decisionmakers; and open-source innovation leverages the skills of individuals and collectives to generate intellectual property and yet not retain its rights exclusively.

(2) Societal drivers enable and constrain people’s actions in the innovation process: entrepreneurial attitudes; public (and private) funding; academic capacities; risk-mitigating regulations (public policy) and liability protection (private activity); and capacity for civic engagement.

(3) Nanotechnology applications result from the innovation process and range from “blue sky” (very early development) to “ubiquitously available.” The applications used in our study include multifunctional surface coatings; energy production, transmission, and storage systems; urban security applications; and nano-enhanced construction materials. All applications are profiled in an online database (

(4) Sustainability challenges—mitigated or aggravated through innovation processes—include economic instabilities due to boom-bust cycles of land development and consumer behavior; emerging problems with the reliability of electricity and water systems due to population shifts, aging infrastructure, and future drought conditions; overinvestment in energy- and emission-intense automobile transportation infrastructure; increasing rates of childhood obesity and other behavioral diseases; social fragmentation along socioeconomic and nationality status; and limited investments and poor performance in public education. The Phoenix region faces each of these challenges today. How (or if) they are addressed will affect the city’s future.

We vetted this set of scenario elements through interviews and a workshop that included a total of 50 experts in high-risk insurance, venture capital, media, urban economic development, regulations, patent law and technology transfer, nanoscale science and engineering, and sustainability challenges. We analyzed the consistency among all scenario elements, and generated 226,748,160 computer-based combinations of the scenario elements. Inconsistent scenarios were eliminated and a cluster analysis yielded a final set of four scenarios (based on the four innovation models). Technical descriptions summarized the key features of each scenario. Finally, a narrative was written for each scenario (such as the one for the open-source innovation scenario at the beginning of this article). Each narrative starts at sunrise to depict a day in the life of a person in Phoenix in 2050.

The narratives were used as the basis for a graduate course that we taught at Arizona State University’s Design School. Students were asked to develop urban designs from the scenario narratives. The challenge for the students was that the narratives were neither architectural design specifications nor articulations of typical design problems. One student joked, “We are working with material too small to see, in a future that doesn’t exist, at a physical scale bigger than any other design studio project.” (In contrast, the graduate design studio next door was designing a 10-story law school for an existing site in downtown Phoenix.)

Students first converted the scenario narratives into visual storyboards, from which they developed initial urban design proposals. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of experts, including engineers, real estate developers, social scientists, and community advocates. Students formulated suppositions, for example, in the social entrepreneurship innovation scenario, that boundaries between public and private property are blurred, or, in the open-source innovation scenario, that restrictive building codes are eased exclusively for Creators in exchange for the benefits offered to the city. The suppositions served as a point of departure for the final urban design proposals. Ideas poured forth throughout the process, as students generated thousands of sketches, drawings, and illustrative boards to test their urban design proposals.

Each student dedicated 60 or more hours per week to the project. In turn, the Design School offered abundant technical and social resources to enable their productivity. Students were given a budget to build their lab and create an environment suitable for the project. Every Friday they participated in group coaching led by a clinical psychologist, a faculty member at the Design School. A filmmaker worked with the students on illustrating the final urban design proposals in short videos.

By the end of the semester, the students had created four videos—one for each scenario—offering a guided tour of a nano-enhanced Phoenix in 2050. The videos were reviewed by a panel of experts, including land developers, technology specialists, architects, sustainability scholars, urban designers, and social scientists. Over the summer, a group of six students incorporated feedback from the end-of-semester review and condensed the four scenarios into two. They produced three-dimensional models and polished the final video, entitled PHX 2050 ( The 15-minute video exposes audiences to distinctly different futures of nanotechnology in the city—from drivers to impacts. It has been used in high-school classrooms in Phoenix; science policy workshops in Washington, DC; and seminars, including one hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council with professionals from the construction sector. The video sparked new conversations and stimulated people to consider, simultaneously, the social and physical elements of the city, the role of technology, and divergent future outcomes.

The nano-enhanced city of the future: Phoenix in 2050

In addition to the movie and the four “day-in-the-life” vignettes, the students prepared graphic images that visually capture the essence of the scenarios and general descriptions of the key underlying elements. Samples of each of these are provided here.

Market-driven innovation: Suppositions

“Market pull” is the dominant mode of innovation and problem-solving to meet user demands. Market mechanisms efficiently meet the demand for low-cost goods, such as personal electronics, provided by private corporations and entrepreneurs alike. Product competition affords comfort and convenience-based products that ensure the “good life.”

Citizens hope to become wealthy and famous entrepreneurs. Government funding agencies focus on small business research grants, as a means to privatize and market technologies created in university and federal labs. Venture capitalists host regional and national conferences and invite researchers, budding entrepreneurs, and program managers. These forums offer critical feedback to technology developers and funding agencies on how to get technologies closer to market before private investments are made.

Advances in nanotechnology support legacy energy and transportation infrastructure, which gain just enough efficiency to stave off the collapse of aging infrastructure. Battery efficiency allows cars to run exclusively on electric motors, yet the existing electrical power supply remains fossil dependent. Nano-enabled materials coat the glass facade and are embedded in the electrical operations in buildings.

Society is divided between the rich and the minimum wage earner, with the middle class having disappeared decades ago. Pressing urban sustainability challenges amplify stress between people, the economy, and the environment.


Market-driven innovation: Will the sun rise in Arizona?

Rays of sunlight break across Nancy’s bed. The window’s tinting melts away as the night’s sky transforms into a grayish-purple aurora in anticipation of morning. Nancy awakens. Another day to fight for solar energy has begun and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee greets her. She sips her coffee and reviews her notes for the upcoming 2050 Arizona Town Hall. She scoffs. These meetings have been going on for more than a half-century, since before 2010.

And where are they today? No different than 2010, maybe a notch hotter at night and water restrictions are being imposed, but the real lack of change is in the energy sector, the lifeblood of any city. The market price of solar has never quite caught up with the marginally decreasing price of nuclear, coal, and natural gas. There are a hundred reasons, a thousand little incremental changes in technology and policy that have advantaged legacy energy providers and continuously crippled the solar industry. Many point to the little-known Arizona Corporation Commission—the decision-making body that sets Renewable Energy Standards for state-regulated electrical utilities in Arizona, a state with 360 days of full sun every year. A political action group has supported candidates who have undermined the solar industry and quietly propped up the legacy energy sources relied on by the centralized utilities.


Closed collaboration: A world under control

Ja’Qra awakes to the morning rays gently easing their way through the blinds. The “Desert Sunrise” is programmed into the Home Intelligence System, which syncs every second with the Community Health Management system. Those systems are responsible for Ja’Qra’s health and security. The systems update the Maricopa Sheriff’s office every two seconds, ensuring almost real-time security updates. Since the Arizonians for Citizen Transparency Act came into effect in 2024, all children have been encoded with their social security numbers embedded within eighty-one discrete codons using synthetic G-A-C-T sequences. Ja’Qra validates her status as awake. Her routine is soothing. She depresses her hands in a semi-solid gel that fills the bathroom sink monitoring station. It massages her hands, lightly scrubs the skin, and applies a novel daily nail polish pattern and painlessly extracts 10 to 20 dead skin cells to verify Ja’Qra’s identity. A fully integrated personalized medicine program in Arizona requires full participation by all residents to populate the database of genetic diseases. Full citizen participation also provides the baseline health information from which illnesses can be identified as anomalies and treated in a preventative manner. Ja’Qra dutifully reviews the prescribed daily health reports and consumes the breakfast MEAL’ Medically Effective And Lovable.

Closed collaboration innovation: Suppositions

Mission-oriented government agencies, like the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, collaborate with private contractors to create novel technological solutions to social problems. By concentrating power in large administrative units, solutions are implemented with controlled technologies to address infrastructure, security, and public health challenges.

Citizens demand economic stability, security and universal health care. Clean water and air also garner unquestioned public support. A few privileged decisionmakers direct public funding for nanotechnology innovation. This ensures that highly educated experts in the field design technological solutions that align with each federal agency’s mission.

Future success is expected to mirror historic feats of science and engineering, exemplified by the atomic bomb and penicillin. Federal agencies react swiftly to identified threats and challenges. This has led to the containment of threats and has mitigated many stressors of urban life, the economy, and environment. Urban challenges are addressed with the orderly deployment of nanotechnology, such as ensuring universal health care by monitoring everyone’s health with real-time analytics and precise pharmacological treatments.

The city is reminiscent of Singapore—all clean and shiny with buildings and infrastructure protected by integrated security systems. Federal programs provide energy, water, state security, and health care. Public schools rely on memorization-style curriculum, yet are seldom capable of producing adaptive learners.

However, the narrow perspective of the homogenous decisionmakers leads to unforeseen outcomes, including the collapse of the creative class. Societal hierarchies persist as privileged families remove their children from public schools in favor of elite education institutions that enhance a child’s problem-solving skills and thus enhance their future employment opportunities.

Social entrepreneurship: How communities solve problems

Dark clouds give way to the morning’s rays. Jermaine awakes to the pungent aroma of creosote oils mixed with ozone—a smell of rain and the promise wild flowers in the Southwest. The open window lets in light, fresh air, and the sounds of friends and neighbors. Jermaine has worked late at the CORE (Collective Of Researchers and Entrepreneurs) facility yesterday. CORE helps the City of Phoenix to address the contaminated groundwater just north of the Sky Harbor Airport. The plume had been contained in the 1990s and just left there. The effects of drought in the Salt, Verde, and Colorado Rivers have prompted the city to revisit this long abandoned water reserve. Jermaine’s formal education and leadership characteristics have made him an obvious choice to lead this project. CORE is comprised of financiers, lawyers, citizens, scientists, engineers, city water planners, and a rotating set of college professors and local high school teachers. CORE takes on challenges and enters into problem-oriented competitions formally organized by federal, tribal, state, county, and city governments. Jermaine is not going to “make it big.” Then again, Jermaine didn’t study hydrogeology to get rich. Back in 2010 Jermaine heard nZVI (nanoscale Zero Valent Iron) could solve the problem, but testing stalled and nZVI was abandoned. Today, in 2050, he aims to renew decontamination efforts in Phoenix.


Social entrepreneurship innovation: Suppositions

Social entrepreneurship innovation attempts to bring civil society together to solve challenges. City, state, federal, and international governments work to identify problems that demand technical and social change. This practice of collectively addressing societal challenges is enabled by large-scale and continuous collaboration between different sectors of society.

Citizens and civic organizations partner with researchers to discover the root causes of persistent challenges. Strategic plans are drafted to ameliorate the symptoms, while targeting the underlying causes. The science policy agenda is attuned to directly addressing societal challenges via funding priorities and awards. Risk mitigation relies on clear roles, which are transparent to everyone. For example, cities incentivize construction firms to cut down on urban heat island effects.

Coordinated efforts in tight-knit urban neighborhoods allow pedestrians, carbon fiber bicycles, ultra-lightweight cars, trains, and buses to move along segmented streets shaded with native vegetation and overhanging building facades. Concerted efforts by citizens, city leaders, and corporate partners slowly address historical groundwater contamination, aging highways, and underinvestment in public education. The pursuit of healthy, vibrant, just, and diverse communities unites the city and its citizens.

Yet the challenge of long-term collaboration creates burnout among stakeholders. Retaining citizen buy-in and maintaining the city infrastructure are not trivial. Cultural expectations for immediacy and simplicity confront a thorough process of problem analysis, solution evaluation, and program implementation that takes decades.

Open-source innovation: Suppositions

The scenario narrative at the beginning of this article and its corresponding image depicts Phoenix in 2050 with open-source innovation as the organizing force for urban life. Individuals are incentivized through competitions that rely on problem-solving and creative-thinking skills. Public organizations and private companies both derive valuable new ideas by rewarding people with those skills.

Children and adults of all ages learn from a personalized, skills-based education system. This education model supports a competitive, creative population attuned to individual rewards. Government agencies post small daily challenges and larger collective problems on challenge boards. Individuals advance based on their ability to solve more and more “wicked” problems. Reports on the accomplishments of top-tier “Creators” bombard social media with opportunities to reap the rewards offered by public challenges. Corporate R&D relies on collective open forums that reward success and offers smaller incentives for lesser contributions such as product feedback.

There are almost no rules or restrictions on innovation. Individuals are responsible for the objects they make and release into the world. The city is awash in nanotechnological applications, built atom-by-atom with 3D printers to specified tolerances at a moment’s notice. 3D Printers are widely available, allowing people to construct most of the products they desire at home, including bicycles, cars, small airplanes, weapons, and solar panels. Individuals just need the time, materials, and understanding to make what they want.

The electrical energy grid, once thought vulnerable to solar power’s variable loading rates, no longer relies on centralized distribution of electricity. Hyperlocalized solar and geothermal energy sources are ubiquitous across the city. The aging grid slowly rusts in the desert air. Yet the city continues to experience stress. Balancing water use and natural recharge rates is still an unrealized goal.

Open-source innovation is not without societal inequities, as preoccupation with individual achievement and meritocracy enforces social hierarchies. The urban footprint expands, covering the desert with single-story residences and perpetuating the reliance on personal automobiles and highways.

Shaping innovation Scenarios need to be treated as a bundle, not in isolation: the power of scenarios is in what can be learned by comparing them. The scenarios presented here differ significantly in the role of public participation, public funding, risk mitigation, and the distribution of goods and services for the development of cities worldwide.

Public participation shapes innovation. The role the public plays in technological innovation varies across the scenarios and affects the development of the city. In the market-pull scenario, citizens are viewed as consumers of innovative technologies; public participation is limited to the later stages of innovation. Social entrepreneurship innovation offers the public opportunities to engage at key points throughout the innovation process, from problem identification to testing and ultimately implementation of solutions. Closed collaboration innovation retains power within an elite decisionmaking body, typically a government-industry partnership. The public is subjected to its decisions. Open-source innovation provides skilled people (Creators) with opportunities to reshape the city; while people without the requisite skills or desire are bystanders. The scenarios show how the public is engaged in, or subjected to, innovation, and explores the implication for urban development.

Responsiveness to societal demands by public funding agencies informs outputs. Government funding is often analyzed in terms of return on investment and knowledge creation. Levels of public investments in science, technology, and innovation are supposed to correspond to the extent of resulting public benefit. Our scenarios highlight stark differences in the relationship between investments and how outputs from those investments serve the public interest. In the market pull scenario, there is little direct connection to the public interest; success is exclusively measured by market returns, with limited regard for externalities or negative consequences. Social entrepreneurship innovation demands that government funding be highly attuned to solving problems to serve the public interest. Closed collaboration innovation prioritizes large-scale national investments to satisfy the public interest in areas such as national defense, reliable and constant electricity, and affordable health care. Such a one-size-fits-all approach does not readily adapt to challenges unique to specific geographies, so subpopulations are often overlooked. Open-source innovation attempts to address legacy issues by incentivizing talented individuals with innovation awards offered by government agencies. These are four very different ways in which the public interest is served by public investments in science, technology, and innovation.

Anticipation and risk mitigation enables innovation. Vehicles can safely travel at higher speed if mechanisms are in place to stop them before collisions occur. Investors (public and private) in technological innovation should explore this metaphor. Proper brakes calibrated by advances in technology assessment and with the power to halt dangerous advances could revolutionize the speed at which problems are solved. The scenarios each address risk in different ways. Market-pull innovation addresses risks reactively. Negative effects on people and the environment are identified after the problems are observed and deemed unacceptable. This is like driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror. Social entrepreneurship innovation attempts to delineate clear and transparent roles for risk mitigation. Potential solutions are tested iteratively as a means to anticipate foreseeable risks and assess outcomes before full-scale implementation. This approach is slow and methodical. Closed collaboration innovation takes known hazards (such as terrorism or climate change) as the starting point and attempts to mitigate the risks through innovation, but seems to lack the adaptability to address future outcomes. Open-source innovation presupposes that the Creators are responsible for their own actions. This assumption links risk mitigation to the individual, and thus to each Creator’s capacity to foresee the outcomes of the technology she or he creates. These risk mitigation and adaption approaches are not the same as the four models of innovation, but the connections were strongly consistent throughout the scenario development process. Innovation policy needs to address risk mitigation not as slowing down progress, but as a means to allow faster development if proper brakes are in place to halt dangerous developments.

Distribution: Pathways to realize innovation benefits. The benefits of innovation vary from personal consumer products (well suited to market pull with high levels of competition) to universal goods such as water that are delivered through large-scale infrastructure (well suited to closed collaboration). Social entrepreneurship innovation delivers nanotechnologies to address societal challenges that lend themselves to a technological solution. Closed collaboration innovation is primarily organized to integrate nanotechnology into large systems, especially if the technology increases system control and efficiency. Thus, public infrastructures, such as traffic sensors, electricity monitoring and distribution networks, and large public health data systems would be amenable to a closed collaboration approach. Open-source innovation provides benefits personalized by the needs of the creator. Programmable machines that print 3D structures and functional objects could make nanotechnology ubiquitous for the creator class. The public interest is well served by a diversity of delivery mechanisms for different products and services. An overreliance on a single mechanism such as open-source innovation will prove ineffective in delivering goods and services to society.

Integrated foresight Albert Einstein’s oft-quoted aphorism, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” calls out the need for alternative innovation models. Each scenario depicts a range of outcomes that reflect a connection between the mode of innovation and society’s ability to address its urban sustainability challenges. The market-pull scenario explores the implications of focusing singularly on economic development. This seems to perpetuate negative externalities, including the continued segregation of socioeconomic classes and dependence on carbon-intensive transportation and energy systems. Social entrepreneurship innovation takes sustainability challenges as its starting point and solves problems collaboratively, albeit slowly. It relies on social and behavioral changes as well as technological solutions. Closed collaboration innovation addresses urban sustainability challenges through the centralized management of infrastructure. Open-source innovation addresses certain urban sustainability challenges through the collective efforts of skilled individuals, while other challenges remain unaddressed or worsen. As a set, the four scenarios allow decisionmakers to appreciate the benefits and challenges associated with each innovation approach—and the need for diverse strategies to apply emerging technologies to the design of our cities.

Our integrated approach to foresight, with its strong connections to places and people, suggests changes in science, technology, and innovation policy. Can the scenarios trigger any of those changes? We have presented them in a variety of settings from high school and university classrooms to academic conferences. The film has been used in deliberation among professionals and policymakers. To date, however, there is no evidence that the scenarios are leading to constructive strategy-building exercises that shape science, technology, and innovation policies toward a sustainable future for Phoenix. Nevertheless, our efforts have led to reflections among stakeholders and afforded them the opportunity to consider value-laden questions such as: What future does our society want to create? This project was not commissioned directly by policy or business stakeholders. Therefore, the primary outcomes may well rest in the newly developed capacities of the design students, stakeholder partners, and faculty to consider the complex yet often invisible interconnections between our technological future and the choices that we make at every level of society. Our hope is that such insights will influence the way the project participants pursue their professional efforts and careers, and with this contribute to innovation processes that yield sustainable outcomes for cities around the world.

Recommended readings

R. W. Foley and A. Wiek, “Patterns of Nanotechnology Innovation and Governance within a Metropolitan Area,” Technology in Society 35, no. 4 (2014): 233-247.

A. Wiek and R. W. Foley, “The Shiny City and Its Dark Secrets: Nanotechnology and Urban Development,” Curb Magazine 4, no. 3 (2013): 26–27.

A. Wiek, R. W. Foley, and D. H. Guston, “Nanotechnology for Sustainability: What Does Nanotechnology Offer to Address Complex Sustainability Problems?” Journal of Nanoparticle Research 14 (2012): 1093.

A. Wiek, D. H. Guston, S. van der Leeuw, C. Selin, and P. Shapira, “Nanotechnology in the City: Sustainability Challenges and Anticipatory Governance,” Journal of Urban Technology 20, no. 2 (2013): 45–62.

Rider W. Foley ([email protected]) is an assistant professor in the Engineering and Society Department at School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia and affiliated with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University. Darren Petrucci is a professor at the School of Design at Arizona State University. Arnim Wiek is an associate professor at the School of Sustainability and affiliated with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society, Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University.

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Cite this Article

Foley, Rider W., Darren Petrucci, and Arnim Wiek. “Imagining the Future City.” Issues in Science and Technology 31, no. 1 (Fall 2014).

Vol. XXXI, No. 1, Fall 2014