A day in Helsinki, 2050

A day in Helsinki, 2050

A co-creation workshop to speculate about the future of Helsinki, as it could be like in 2050.

City of Helsinki published its city master plan for 2050 last year. This got me wondering about how our everyday lives could be like in 2050. Technology is becoming ubiquitous and Helsinki is facing challenges such as climate change, economic recession, etc. Amidst this, what could the Helsinki that we aspire for be like in the future? To understand this, Timo Hämäläinen, Aina Borrego Marti and I decided to organise a participatory workshop as part of the City of Helsinki's Kaupunkisuunnittelumessut 2015, where citizens of Helsinki could co-create the future of Helsinki.

Arrangement of the co-creation workshop in Laituri

The workshop was organised on 18th April, 2015. Once the participants arrived, we played a small game to organise participants in different teams. We asked questions around were they lived and worked and how they travelled to create equivalent teams.

Each team was given a toolkit to develop their scenarios. The toolkit comprised of technology cards, which were created to help participants know about the existing technologies as well how these could be used in 2050. We also created context cards that mentioned some mega-trends and challenges Helsinki might face in 2050. The intent of both the cards was to help participants bridge what is 'now' and what 'could be' in the next 35 years.

Participants were given 3 questions to help them ideate about alternative futures for Helsinki.

Photographs of the teams ideating about a future Helsinki using technology cards and a context card

After ideating around the 3 questions, we tried a short psychogeography exercise with the teams. The aim of the exercise was to draw trajectories through the thoughts/ ideas that appealed most to the participants individually, to build futuristic scenarios of Helsinki.

Each member of the team drew one path through their ideas to find that at some ideas, their thoughts coincided. These points were used a key points to build the final team scenarios.

The teams gave a brief presentation about the scenarios they had built.

The theme that remained common through all the scenarios was peoples need to interact physically, have friends and the sense and need for a community. The first team created a scenario around the larger context of climate change and resource depletion.

We will be analysing these scenarios further to build futuristic services and experiences that residents in Helsinki are looking for within the larger context of society and culture. So stay tuned for updates!

Keywords: Futurescaping, futures, participatory design, co-creation, workshop, scenarios, speculative design, psycho-geography, co-design