Planning can, on occasion, feel Sisyphean. Emerging technologies, shifting economies, and changing governments can all enact dramatic and unpredictable change in short order. So what’s the use of planning for the future, let alone planning for a future nearly half a century away?
This question is to be the heart of “Planning 2052”, a one day conference to be held in London as part of the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale programming. The curatorial team, who are focusing the upcoming Triennale on the concept of “Degrowth”, will be leading a set of intensive and cross-disciplinary workshops aimed at shaping stable methods for future planning. Success, the team suggests, according to the team, lies in stepping outside the predictably unpredictable cycles and looking at planning from a more essential perspective.
“While our focus is the future,” explains the team, “the urban planning and economic breakthroughs taking place in the UK and beyond today are inspiring anchors that hint at routes through the challenges ahead.”
Such routes are not entirely new ground. The Rome Club’s publication “The Limits to Growth” introduced pioneering ideas about degrowth back in 1972, providing not just a studied critique of but a constructive solution. But their efforts were largely mocked; derided by critics as either needlessly pessimistic or naively unfeasible.
Many of the predictions made in the “The Limits to Growth” have since come true; many of the solutions proposed are now widely accepted theories. Planning 2052 offers a second chance at a debate for our future, a debate now imbued with a provable sense of urgency.
“We know the status quo is faltering,” say the organizers. “Together we can envisage the role of urban planning in the future.”
Planning 2052 will be held in London on 25 January 2019. The conference is funded by the British Academy as part of the public engagement project Urban Voices (urbanvoices.uk). The conference is organized in collaboration with the Oslo Architecture Triennale, The Architecture Foundation and Royal Holloway, University of London.
More information on the conference and other events related to the Triennale can be found on the Oslo Architecture Triennale website.