In search of the 'Wild Contemporary': exploring the potential of the techno utopian urban imaginary to contemporary mobility challenges

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearchpeer-review

496 Downloads (Pure)


Contemporary global challenges to the distribution and organization of mobilities require new ways of envisioning and imagining to bring forward the discussion about new policies. This paper explores the imaginary visioning by using earlier utopian thoughts and visions as ‘prisms' for the contemporary mobility debate in order to get closer to new imaginaries of technologies, complex systems and cultural change. The paper set out to identify key thoughts of utopian and critical urbanism (Harvey, Lefebvre, Friedman, Sandercock) and bridges those to contemporary critical scenario thinking (Dennis & Urry). However, in order to stimulate the imagination and visioning we want to engage with the earlier examples of what may be termed ‘techno utopian urbanism' of Archigram, Buckminster Fuller, and Cedric Price as well as the critical utopian practices of the ‘situationist' movement (and reaching further back to touch upon the legacy of Marinetti/Futurism and Le Corbusier). These ideas and visions, which at their time was considered extreme and far-fetched, are used as ‘prisms' for setting up the imaginary visioning of contemporary and future challenges to mobility within and between cities. The paper opens this up by presenting a few contemporary urban projects from the architectural company BIG. Representing the ‘wild contemporary' projects coming out of BIG are interesting examples of ‘utopian pragmatism' resisting seeing for example ‘sustainability' as loss of opportunities or lack of enjoyment. The paper thus aims to stimulate the envisioning of new cultures of mobilities, identities and engagements with the socio-technical systems of contemporary urbanism by searching backwards to the 1960's utopian urbanism and linking these to an example of the ‘wild contemporary'.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2010
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAssociation of American Geographers - Washington D.C., United States
Duration: 14 Apr 201018 Apr 2010


ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers
CountryUnited States
CityWashington D.C.


  • techno utopian urban imaginary

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'In search of the 'Wild Contemporary': exploring the potential of the techno utopian urban imaginary to contemporary mobility challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this