Future Cities Scotland – a storytelling project by Nile
A 9-part, long-form digital story telling project, exploring design and foresight thinking through the stories of Scottish cities.
Co-authored by Lauren Razavi
Read our long-form writing project, exploring design and foresight through the lens of urban futures in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Stirling and Perth.
It’s a time of immense global change. On just about every level. That was true before coronavirus rocked the world, and it’s even more true in the aftermath. It’s hard for anyone to make sense of it all. To understand their place in all this chaos.
Yet our mission at Nile is to do just that. For people like us—designers, strategists, technologists, futurists, storytellers—anticipating and navigating tomorrow’s world is just part of the day-to-day.
On the best weeks, we play our part in shaping it too.
As new challenges emerge, so do new opportunities. Our role is to pay attention to how power, possibilities and consequences interact across industries and domains. To understand what decisions mean for the future of human experience and connection.
Nobody was prepared for the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t see it coming. In fact, five years ago, Microsoft founder Bill Gates stood on a TED stage and predicted the events of this spring in astonishing detail. There’s a difference between being aware and being prepared. Despite the warning signs, we failed to act.
With such failures come important lessons. New insights to inform how we approach things. Signals of possible futures. We live in a tightly coupled, complex and interdependent global system. A volatile world where simple decisions have far-reaching consequences. How can we thrive in the middle of so much uncertainty?
The designer’s toolkit is a good place to start.
Our experience of COVID-19 can become a catalyst to build and nurture more resilience on every level. In our relationships. In our organisations. In our cities. In our governments. In our personal health.
To achieve that resilience, we need to recognise the pace of change and create a shared roadmap that stakeholders across politics, industry, academia and wider society can all get behind.
Over the next eight weeks, we’ll share a new longform story with you every Tuesday. From space travel to the future of work to zero waste living, the series explores the major power shifts happening this decade through the lens of Scotland’s seven cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling.
Speaking to local changemakers and leading global thinkers, we consider what’s ahead for these cities. We examine the barriers, the potential and, often, the impressive progress already made.
It’s an important moment for everyone to think about the future. The next step from there is to begin shaping it—that starts with identifying the right tools and learning how to use them.
We’re incredibly grateful to our friends at the Institute for the Future in California for providing the futures framework we used to create this series. We’d also like to say a big thank you to the inimitable Derek Wyatt, who shared wisdom, viewpoints and perspectives that were crucial to helping us shape the project in its early stages.
Future Cities Scotland will show you how design tools like foresight can be harnessed to help us better prepare for an uncertain future, while also painting a vibrant and ambitious picture of our home country and its prospects.
Feel free to share the stories far and wide. We see each piece as the start of a conversation, so we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Have five more minutes to spare?
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