2030: Artifacts from the Future of America’s Cities

Imagine you are an archaeologist and have stumbled across some strange artifacts, except these artifacts are not from an ancient culture but from a future yet to come. Like any archaeologist, you want to understand the cultural and historical context in which these objects were made, the messages contained within, and the meaning of it all.

“Artifacts from the Future” is a methodology pioneered by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to spur people to think and feel more deeply about possible futures. Your role in this exhibit is to examine these fragments of possible worlds to come, and to use the insights gleaned from them as a mirror held up to your own assumptions and visions for the future.

In March 2018, as part of the Austin Civic 1/0 Mayors Summit held during the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, 18 mayors from U.S. cities participated in a series of '' civic imagination'' workshops to teach them concepts and methods in strategic foresight. Led by IFTF's Governance Futures Lab, Civic 1/0, and CMU's Situation Lab, the mayors worked through a series of hands-on exercises to uncover their hopes, fears, dreams, and legacies they wished to leave for their cities.

Inspired by the insights generated in conversation with the mayors, futurists and artists collaborated to create original posters that might appear in each city in the year 2030. The posters presented here - a birthday invitation, a festival announcement, a roadside attraction, a wayflnding kiosk, a map out of homelessness, and a political advertisement, among others - are the first of these artifacts to appear in the present.

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