What is Future Cities?

The Future Cities Project has been critically exploring issues around the city and society for more than 15 years. From the so-called Urban Renaissance, through the Big Society, Brexit, and Covid19, we have written several books, hundreds of articles, and organized innumerable local, national and international events that have tried to unpick the arguments. We pride ourselves on having a wide range of interests and are always ready to say the unsayable. Of late it has become fashionable to chastise a wide range of things that we, in the Future Cities Project still consider worthwhile. We appreciate automobiles, airports, carbon, choice and consumption. We are not phased by density, demographics, development, energy use or experimentation. We relish growth, infrastructure, modernism, population, productivity, risk and speed; and we celebrate transportation, modernization, and urbanization. The project of The Future Cities Project is, to a certain extent, to return to first principles and critique the rise of determinism, instrumentalism, dogmatism and didacticism in urban and city discourse. In so doing, we want to challenge the malign influence of sustainability, the precautionary principle and risk-aversion within the broader social and political environment in which we all operate.

Who is Future Cities?


Austin Williams  is the director of Future Cities Project, senior lecturer at Kingston School of Art and Honorary Research Fellow in architecture at XJTLU university in Suzhou, China. He has been an architect, film producer and journalist and is China correspondent for The Architectural Review. He is the founder of mantownhuman and author of China’s Urban Revolution (Bloomsbury 2017) and New Chinese Architects (Thames & Hudson, forthcoming). He is the author, Enemies of Progress, The Lure of the City, and The Future of Community.



Alastair Donald  is associate director at the Academy of Ideas. His background is urban design and urban policy and has convened the Future Cities Salon as well as having been the British Council’s project director of the British Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale. He is the co-founder of mantownhuman and co-director of the Future Cities Project’s international architecture and design summer school, “Critical Subjects”. He co-authored Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture and co-edited of The Lure of the City and The Future of Community.



Readers’ Group and Walks ‘n’ Talks convenor:
ElisabettaElisabetta Gasparoni is a linguist with expertise in Italian literature and language, art and urban theory. She has taught in Milan, Hamburg, San Francisco and London. She is a contributor to The Future of Community. Elisabetta is the convener of the Future Cities Project Readers Group.



Readers’ Group chair:
Martin Earnshaw is a founding member of the Future Cities Project, and chairs the Future Cities Projects Readers Group. He is reviews editor for the Future Cities Project website. He is co-editor of The Future of Community and devised and authored the 2005 Attitudes to the City: Bingeing on Anti-social Behaviour report examining perceptions of crime and anti-social behaviour.



If you want to find out more, or join in the project, please contact the Future Cities team.