Imagining a better future: Why fun works

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen, Ole B. Jensen

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Abstract

This paper is the outcome of work done on utopias of mobility, discussing different utopian visions from architects, planners, activists and mobility researchers. The work has raised a number of questions on why utopias are important in activating and building different futures. Though it is crucial to address the increasing social and environmental problems of contemporary urban societies with a certain element of ‘realism’ (whatever that may mean), the position taken in this paper is rather that we must find new ways of imagining ‘that which is not’. Within mobilities research only recently work on imagining better futures have been practiced. Dennis and Urry sets out in 2009 by constructing three scenarios of possible, probable, and preferable futures. These three scenarios are in each their own way illustrative of a somewhat depressing future. However, in his most recent book Urry argues that a post-carbon and post-car scenario answer to the climate change needs not only to be workable (i.e. ‘realist’), but also appealing. He argues: ’It [the post car scenario] has to be a system that is fashionable and faddish, that wins then hearts and minds, that is better and more fun’ (Urry 2011: 132). ‘Fun’ is the key word here that we wish to elaborate on. By using different examples from architecture, arts, and activism we wish to elaborate on how ‘fun’ may provide the opportunity for people to activate the hope, the good heartedness, the generosity, the need for communities and hopeful futures also present in people’s lives (Sayer 2005). In this way we wish to engage with the creative imaginary of playful utopian thinking. Moreover we wish to open up for a debate on this as a path into including affective and emotional dimensions that often are excluded by rational and strategic debates over future scenarios and possible developments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date28 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2012
EventAAG Annual Meeting 2012 - New York, United States
Duration: 24 Feb 201228 Feb 2012
http://www.aag.org/cs/events/event_detail?eventId=49

Conference

ConferenceAAG Annual Meeting 2012
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
Period24/02/201228/02/2012
OtherAssociation of American Geographers
Internet address

Cite this

Freudendal-Pedersen, M., & Jensen, O. B. (2012). Imagining a better future: Why fun works. Abstract from AAG Annual Meeting 2012, New York, United States.