Our time is tainted by a sense of a series of global crises piling up on the ruins they ignite. It seems wherever you look, the period of normal is ending. While we tend to perceive these crises as parallel developments, they cannot be meaningfully understood separately; instead, we should think of them as one. Seeing them as one changes our approach from predicting what is next and from solving problems as they come to that of imagination. This is why the future is untitled. We, however, can name it by refusing to go back to normal, imagining the unimagined, and experimenting together.

The early 2020s are characterized by an abundance of interpretations of a transformation: the transformations we talk about include such phenomena as’ the crisis of capitalism ’,’ post-capitalism ’, and’ surveillance capitalism ’as well as’ digital transformation’, ’ exponential technologies’, and ’ the 4th industrial revolution ’ along with ’the decline of democracy’, ’the crisis of liberalism’, ’ post-truth politics ’,’ meritocratic autocracy ’,’ self-organization ’,’ inner transformations’, and ’awakening to holistic consciousness’.

Parallel to these phenomena, we are witnessing a ’climate crisis’, an ’ecosystems collapse’, ’ the sixth wave of mass extinction ’, and the emergence of ’ anthropocene ’ that require us to move towards ’decarbonisation’, ’ecological rebuilding’ , a ’ post-fossil era ’, or even ’ deep adaptation ’ and ’posthumanism’ .

These well-known theories, visions, or ideologies each explain the dynamics, logic, risks, and opportunities within one parallel transformation: after capitalism (and post-capitalism) comes a data-driven planning economy (or even a fully automated luxury communism) ; after liberalism comes a meritocratic autocracy, and so forth. But these perspectives are fundamentally flawed ways of looking at the future.

The theories on transformations get their meanings from the structures of this passing era, as if everything around the issue undergoing transformation would remain largely intact. We are often prisoners of what we aim to leave behind. Therefore, theories lose their ability to predict the future of society as their fundamental premises on society, behavior, economics, and institutions change.

Instead, if we start looking at all these transformations as one, we are faced with a phenomenon of a different magnitude altogether.

As a result, two things follow: 

  1. Many old categories are disappearing and new ones are emerging. This development has taken place before: we tend to use concepts such as ’a nation’, ’a worker’, ’science’, and ’money’ as if these categories had always existed. In reality, they were all once conceptual innovations, the results of previous historical transformations. It is safe to assume that what we are experiencing right now changes the fundamentals of how we see ourselves as human beings. In some sense, the material, social, economic, and technological transformations are piling up to an ontological transformation.
  2. We lack the images, names, and ways to think about a world that has been thoroughly transformed. Instead of depicting the mechanics of each transformation, we should focus on imagination and on the unimaginable . Transformation hints at something that already exists taking a new form. However, that is not the case in ontological transformations where many entirely new things emerge.

UNTITLED refers to our inability to name and explain what the world and humanity are beyond this one great transformation. We don’t have a clear image of the world that we wish to reach nor of now of the essential steps needed to get there. Thus, we must first abandon many prevailing assumptions that limit the possibilities of what we can be as humans, what kind of institutions we can form, what types of practices to adopt, and how we can interact.

To value the depth of change we are in, we need to stop pretending that we have the answers and know the future. Instead of answers, we need a place, a space, and a process for unfolding what is not here yet. There are numerous, wonderful examples of imagination on Futures that we wish to happen, and a lot of people are imagining such futures. Now, we have to bring them together.

UNTITLED is a space for different imaginations: a place for people who have seen a glimpse of a transformation – that is, who have understood that there is no return to normal – to come together and to build on each other’s imaginations. It is also a place to expand their view on the Untitled future together with the help of experiments.

Art and the avant-garde play a key role in all societal transformations. At Untitled, art’s role is not to raise awareness of the crisis we are in, nor to provide solutions or to criticize, but to enable us to imagine and empower us to experiment. In short, art’s role is to help us see the difference between what is, and what can be.

UNTITLED is a ten-year-long process of unfolding the new world – an experiment in creating an alternative narrative of the metamorphosis we are in. It is driven by an eagerness to go deeper than to the change at hand; to start exploring new ways of living, producing, and caring; and to do it at a scale unforeseen to our generation. We believe that a genuinely new story can emerge through an unlikely alliance coming together to imagine new concepts, to make them tangible, and to learn from them through real world experiments.

UNTITLED proposes a very specific process. In our view:

  • We need to refuse the normal. The world we inhabit is far from desirable. There is no steady and safe normal to go back to but a very unsustainable way of life instead. Any attempt to go back will fail as we’ll fall again soon. Besides, none of the individual solutions currently on the table (in politics, in technology, in business, in personal development) work as a magic bullet; hence, we have to refuse seeking a way forward in the framework of these incumbent discourses.
  • We need to imagine the unimaginable in two senses: we have to imagine things that have not been imagined yet, and we will have to reimagine things that we thought cannot be reimagined. Yet, imagination has to be taken seriously and it has to start from the physical limits that constrain our future – now importantly the planetary boundaries and the existential threats caused by overstepping them. Having limits does not mean that there would be less room for imagination: in reality, limits and boundaries are viable tools for creativity.
  • Yet, we wouldn’t just fantasize and fall for a utopia. Humans are notoriously bad at seeing things in the long-term, and even worse at shaping their actions accordingly. Therefore, instead of betting on the future and competing in guessing what the future is like, we need to try the unimagined, to expand our imagination with experiments that produce new information about the world, and thus liberate us from the need to pretend to know and to be right about what will work and what will not. Experiments create artefacts, learnings, and shared experiences that lay the foundations to a meaningful dialogue and a collaboration for the future.

The first Untitled festival, held on September 17th-18th, brought together over 400 people from 30 countries to collectively reimagine the society and set the agenda for the most important experiments. This was done with the help of conversations, co-creation, art, embodied and social exercises, and the celebration of the possibility of the next era. This eclectic selection of practices highlights the fact that there is no supreme method for imagining Untitled Futures: facts, reasoning, and clever arguments have a limited scope: they cannot help us in reaching for things that lack concepts and previous examples.

Untitled festival also increased the gravity of a number of real-life experiments. We find both the diversity of the experimentalists as well the experiments are promising. Here are a few examples:

  • An activist investor aiming to explore the “flip” of the entire property industry, through the creation of the world’s most sustainable buildings
  • A think tank and do tank is going to reimagine the democratic process by breaking out of the traditional governmental pattern of “decide, do, defend”.
  • The housing (first) company is experimenting with redefining housing as a part of basic income and sustainable living in a city.
  • A research and development community is launching four experiments on the public sector transformation through distributed technology.
  • A group of activists is developing the “Transcultural Republic of Nodes” to reimagine the nation-state.
  • A social enterprise is setting out to deliver a 12-month experiment to pilot a completely reimagined accelerator program allowing entrepreneurs to change capitalism from within.
  • A climate innovation community is set to experiment with a model for nurturing urban nature as public infrastructure.

Usually, at similar events, there are the questions: “What next? What should we do? What happens when you go home? ”

For Untitled, the festival was the starting point for the next ten years.

In this way, Untitled is like a collision in a particle accelerator: the unlikely event in which immense amounts of energy are released and new worlds can unfold.

We are that collision.

The power of this congregation has released increased gravity. This gravity is pulling new coalitions and building unlikely alliances around the real-life experiments launched at the inaugural Untitled festival, accelerating these first glimpses through the ten-year process of Untitled.

What does an ecologically sustainable future look like? How is the carbon neutral Finland in the year 2035? Architects Declare Finland launches its operations by challenging Finnish Architects to share their visualizations in a collective image bank.

The images at the bottom of this article aim to inspire the entire construction industry towards change. Ecological Sustainability is often seen as a series of tightening limitations. The idea behind the idea bank is to visualize that living and building ecologically sustainable will actually increase our quality of life. We need a positive vision that we can together aim towards.

The international Architects Declare petition, founded in May 2019, demands a paradigm shift in our behavior. The entire construction industry is called to action, in order to meet the needs of our society without violating the earth’s ecological boundaries. The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most severe long-term issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a significant part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions whilst also having a substantial impact on our natural habitats.

More than thirty Architects submitted their visions during August, out of which a selection is published below . Defining what ecological sustainability is not easy nor straightforward. Individual offices are presenting their visions in order to start discussion. Architects Declare Finland take the first stand but challenge the whole construction sector to do the same. Let’s create a shared vision for a sustainable future and decide the steps needed to reach that goal.

Link to Architects Declare Finland declaration (in Finnish):   http://en.architectsdeclare.com/

Link to Architects Declare Finland on Facebook (in Finnish) : https://www.facebook.com/architectsdeclarefinland

Link to the global hub Construction Declares: https://www.constructiondeclares.com/

Twitter hashtags: #architectsdeclare #architectsdeclarefinland

Here’s a selection of the visions with maximum variety in themes and scales for creating a better built environment:

Kirkkojärvi storwater park by LOCI Landscape Architects: Kirkkojärvi stormwater park is designed to enable the flooding of the former lake and current river. The river has it’s space to expand. Pedestrian and leisure areas are located above the flooding. Resiliency is much more cost-effective than repairing damage caused by the growing amount of extreme weather conditions. By good design flooding can be seen as an opportunity instead of a Nuisance.

Route urban route by Sitowise:  Densify urban structure an free traffic areas for the use of pedestrians . In a competition proposal the old autobridge will be turned into a green pedestrian bridge instead of being taken down. New vegetation of the area decreases the impact of traffic, cleans air, reduces stormwater floods and supports urban biodiversity.

Carbon neutrality 2035 by L-Architects: We need an Evolution not a Revolution in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. For example our vision and roadmap for Hakunila, developed for the city of Vantaa, depicts a built environment that looks similar to current Neighborhoods but the innovation is, so to say, under the hood. We aim for long-term and flexible structural solutions, such as wood products and wooden frame solutions, that facilitate the recycling of buildings and reduce their carbon footprint. Service economy and circular economy are cornerstones of this new way of living, working, consuming, recycling and enjoying the community.

Ecological urban village by Tomi Jaskari and Tuomas Klaus: Future sub-urban Neighborhoods can be dense, but at the same time human in their scale. The proposal for the Vartiosaari planning competition is an urban plan for a new eco-efficient, human scaled and dense area along the new Tramway line. The compact footprint of the village saves the nature around and enables ecological and efficient solutions in the infrastructure of the area.

Concept for a post-agrarian city by M10: Circular economy solutions are combined together with housing, small-scale farming, opportunities for telecommuting, grocery shops, leisure activities as well as public spaces. The combination encourages for social and entrepreneurial activity. Homes are self-sustainable producing the consumed vegetables. Construction materials are recycled in the upscale station. Nearby restaurant provides local food and together with a shared sauna build into the historical landscape. New community and spaces create a strong identity for the area.

Wood pyramid by Ark Brut: The wooden pyramid consists of smaller fractal Pyramids ensuring a stable distribution of load to the structures Underneath. Fractal structure enables bringing light, fresh air and greenery to the core parts of the pyramid. The walls consist of Massive wooden CLT-elements. The structure enables a tramline run trough and houses a school as well as shared outdoor Terraces. There are 6000 modules, which vary in sizes from 30 to 60 square meters, and of which roughly half are suitable for living environments with natural light and views. Other modules host community-, service- and working spaces.

Solar Foods by Planetary Architecture: A design for a Solar Foods off grid factory concept that uses solar energy to Capture CO2 from thin air and cook it with Bacteria to create Solein – eatable protein. The facility is composed of a solar energy production field, CO2-capturing installations and the production facility. The round volume of the building is optimized spatially for both heating and cooling needs. The facades create a continuous solar reflector to keep the extra heat out in hotter climates. The roof windows allow indirect natural light in to minimize the need for artificial lighting.

Vision 2010 by Kaleidoscope: Buildings live in a symbiotic interaction with humans. The Evolution of AI and the development of materials and nanorobotics also represent positive possibilities for the humankind. Future buildings can provide a new type of protection: through sensor technology, they warn about pollution levels or let you know where your friends are hanging out. Buildings can define the boundaries between inside and outside: a facade can a raincoat, and buildings can regulate their energy consumption. Traffic no longer defines urban space as before: your entrance can be located on the 5 th floor. Nature strikes back and reclaims the Streets. Illustration by Vegard Aarset

Sustainable block house by Avarrus Architects: Built environment is created for future generations to come. Construction materials used in buildings today should still be in use after 100 years. This is enabled via Massive walls, natural materials and natural ventilation. The example for the building is set by 100-year old brick houses in the city as in the district of Töölö in Helsinki, which are considerably low in their energy use.

Wooden Metsä-Pavilion at the Tokyo Olympics by Helin & Co Architects: The emotional effects of wood on the human mind are different from other building materials. When reasonably processed, wood is an Authentic, live, local product of nature, which requires little energy. It is renewable, binds carbon dioxide and stores heat. Wood is easy to shape and repair. The wooden Metsä (forest in Finnish) Pavilion is to be built on the site of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo. The building will continue to be used in the future. When the Pavilion is no longer needed, it can be disassembled, packed in containers and transported to the next destination.

Developing the use of rammed earth by Collaboratorio: In Finland, Collaboratorio is a pioneer in developing earth as a building material and we focus on the design of healthy buildings. Potentially being 100% recycled and 100% recyclable and having extremely low CO2 emissions in the production process, we believe that rammed earth structures either alone or combined for example with timber structures could drastically reduce the level of CO2 emissions of the building industry and improve building’s interior air health.

Massive logs by Bruno Erat: Definitions of sustainable built environment: a house produces it’s own energy and protects itself against elements of nature as rains, winds, overheating. A house creates biologically active space around itself as much as what has been lost by building the house. Gray energy contained by the house should be proportional to the Lifecycle of the building – one example to be given is the Lifecycle-house made out of Massive wood structures. A house should be flexible: easy to adjust to changing functions or the Lifecycle of the inhabitants. A house should not fight against nature .

This was a session at Untitled Festival 2020.

Climate change and advances in renewable energy technologies have set the foundation for significant transitions to the economy and to accompanying work force skill requirements. As an energy state, Alaska is well-poised for this transition.

Energy security is a matter of justice, equity and resilience. In Alaska, we can build human capacity and energy infrastructure to reduce energy costs and create an inclusive workforce in renewable technologies. We will start in low-income Neighborhoods in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the United States’ most ethnically diverse cities with more than 100 languages ​​spoken in the city’s streets and schools.

Our actions will be simultaneously big and small – designed to take on the urgent needs of now while laying a foundation to build a future economy and opportunities that help transition into a more resilient, sustainable and just workforce. The ten-year vision includes building an innovation space to train local people for local jobs and ensure a Talent pipeline for home-grown clean industries. Our immediate vision Pilots workforce training programs for newcomers that combine vocational skills with language and cultural training to ease integration for immigrants and Refugees resettling in Alaska.

This will be an interactive session using The League of Intrapreneurs Case Clinic Methodology. This method is designed to tap the wisdom of the group to help this team of Alaska-based Dreamers and do-ers to identify tangible actions that help them to realize their vision for a just, equitable and sustainable Alaska. Energy entrepreneurs, newcomers, workforce development specialists are invited to this, however, you don’t need to be a subject matter expert to join – just come with a capacity to listen deeply, to ask challenging questions and to share generously your ideas and resources. Thank you!

Why: To build a fair, just and sustainable city

The Anchorage Coalition for Change, Alaska are a ragtag group of do-ers who come together to share a dream of equity and opportunity in a city located on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. We draw ingenuity and resilience from these lands and from the people who have thrived and survived here for Millenia. We seek a better future that honors the values ​​of welcoming, inclusion, resilience and sustainability and see energy as the heart of that opportunity.

As the world is in Transformation just including people to current projects and institutions is not enough. The right way would be to build a more just world together. We want to invite people to explore what comes after diversity and inclusion, how to centralize the marginalized and take on big issues such as just and fair distribution of value in the urban setting: in urban planning, in housing, in services, in public spaces and in work. When a new building is built, who benefits? Is the value distributed evenly and is there feedback to quality and Sustainability, 

How about the people who live in the neighborhood? The people who walk by? Do the buildings provide something good for the cities and communities? For whom do they provide something? The rich? The well off?

YLVA focuses on real estate and financial investments along with the hotel and restaurant sector. It is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and its profits are used to promote student activities. [ Source: ylva.fi ]

Website: https://ylva.fi/

Twitter: @YlvaHelsinki

Images: YLVA (c)

Sustainability standards and green building initiatives are holding us back. Green building initiatives and Sustainability standards are masking the problem of over-consumption and as such, only Accelerating the Destruction of our livelihood. We need buildings that are not just sustainable or even net-zero, but ones that actually balance out the massive construction boom of this decade. We would like to explore the idea of ​​moving to regenerative real estate and urban development. One where each building would contribute more than it takes on all aspects of its existence. 

YLVA focuses on real estate and financial investments along with the hotel and restaurant sector. It is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and its profits are used to promote student activities. [ Source: ylva.fi ].

This session will be done in partnership with Living Future Europe. Living Future Europe (LFE) is a non-profit association with the mission to make the world work for 100% of Humanity. LFE will play an active role in championing  The Living Building Challenge in Europe, which is the world’s most rigorous standards for green buildings.

Website: https://ylva.fi/

Twitter: @YlvaHelsinki

Images: YLVA (c)

What would a circular city look like if we started with people rather than materials? What would a Circular city look like if we designed for circular behavior? This is a shopping street where buying used children’s clothes is as easy, fun, and enjoyable as buying new clothes. It is a housing area where it is as easy to discard your waste as it is to connect with a neighbor to exchange small kitchen appliances. It is ground floor units where you can contribute to production (food, content, ideas) as you can consume (coffee, electronics, clothing). It is a community where healthy, sustainable, Delicious food is as affordable and plentiful as unhealthy, unsustainable Delicious food.

The city is the place in which these individual choices will be made. How might we design for the environments in which sustainable behavior is the default choice? How could we create better Collaboration between both the public and private companies and citizens to collect share the burdens of this Massive transition? How do we design for new structures, forms of Collaboration, urban systems Results from the session will be a starting point for a roadmap that will be open and publicly available online. How could the idea be experimented with? What else should change in order for what we imagined to become true?

Designers, entrepreneurs, corporations, city officials and economists interested in re-defining urban commerce would find this session interesting. We are interested in this approach because the circular economy holds endless potential, but current discourse, innovation, and focus appeals to technocrats and not to the Everyday consumers who will be key to realizing the potential. hy are you interested in the idea personally? Why do you think it has transformative capacity?


The session will be Hosted by Gehl CIO Jeff Risom and Director Liselott Stenfeldt, both are part of Gehl Innovation which focuses on establishing new partnerships and to use innovative tools and methods in order to reimagine concrete future scenarios for our Cities. Gehl is a human-centered urban consulting company based in Copenhagen, New York and San Francisco. Our focus is to create better Cities for people and to create beneficial relationships between People’s quality of life and their built environment.

Twitter handles: @citiesforpeople , @jeff_risom ,@liselott 

Website:  www.gehlpeople.com

Photos: Gehl (c)

Bloomberg building – the most sustainable building in the world (98.5% BREEAM score).

The built environment should be reimagined. Decisions on designing, building, owning and operating buildings influence our lives and future massively. The model of property development is currently incapable of delivering truly sustainable buildings, in other words buildings that have a positive, even regenerative impact on our lives, communities and nature. We need to reimagine the basic institutions that govern buildings: the property rules and regulations, value creation, capturing and distribution mechanism, agency as well as material and natural cycles. 

YLVA wants to explore how aiming to build a series of the world’s most sustainable buildings, could change the entire property industry. There is a number of ”the world’s most sustainable buildings”, but they remain anomalies. Ylva wants to experiment with a new model, “ learning for regenerative urban fabric”  (LRUF), which is a new way of vision-driven, Collaborative and open source development of the built environment, that has the capacity to become the standard, worldwide . To support the LRUF model development Ylva is a) creating systematic frameworks to accumulate and share knowledge b) establishing a community of partners c) spreading and legitimizing radically sustainable building practices and d) developing a series of buildings.

Bosco Verticale -a green building in Milan

Each experiments in the series of the world’s most sustainable building is designed to push the industry’s limits further , at least in new ways for Collaboration and knowledge sharing, new ways of investing as well as planning and building the construction outputs. It also gives for the property industry agency and responsibility to change itself. We need partners to develop and experiment with new building solutions, development sites and funding to continue the series and p eer-organizations for radically open knowledge sharing.

YLVA focuses on real estate and financial investments along with the hotel and restaurant sector. It is owned by the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and its profits are used to promote student activities. [ Source: ylva.fi ]

Website: https://ylva.fi/

Twitter: @YlvaHelsinki

Images: YLVA (c)

Our idea is to create large lifestyle housing for people that want to go to zero-carbon and live with nature with gardening as well as produce food with modern aquaponic methods. This would increase the speed of sustainable lifestyle change due to peer-learning and innovation and less need for leisure travel. This idea has transformative capacity as it can bring together people and thus speed up innovation to jump to sustainable lifestyles. And we believe this can be done at a mass affordable scale with a carbon-neutral wooden construction.

The idea can be experimented with choosing a few existing housing companies primarily people who have a desire to live ecologically and with nature and using that as the Testbed for things to have in new developments. This session should be interesting for anyone in architecture, construction, food production, property, city or urban planning, as well as people who want to live in the zero-carbon future.  

The Y-Foundation is a Developer and Global Forerunner of the Housing First principle. The Y-Foundation offers affordable rental housing in Finland. 

Twitter handles:  @JKaakinen  @lassyj  @kimmoronka

Website:  https://ysaatio.fi/en/y-foundation

Images:  The Y-Foundation (c)

There are a lot of possibilities creating new work in home environments from traditional maintenance to modern services, from gardening to food production, from community-based work to work as a capital and as a concrete tool in construction.   Integrating work and home has transformative capacity as it does not force the weakest among us to the Labor market, where they perform badly or not at all. This could be experimented with already in Y-Foundations or any other housing company’s properties, with sharing tasks from the house to creating value trough community projects and the housing company actively seeking work from the markets.

The Y-Foundation is a Developer and Global Forerunner of the Housing First principle. The Y-Foundation offers affordable rental housing in Finland. The Y-Foundation is the leader in eradicating homelesness with its Housing First approach. Now its setting a new standard where those in need will get a home and work combined. At the core of the idea is capital that the inhabitants create whilst working.

Twitter handles: @JKaakinen @lassyj @kimmoronka

Website: https://ysaatio.fi/en/y-foundation

Images: The Y-Foundation (c)

More than 30 Architects have submitted their visions for an image bank of visions for a sustainable future. Join this conversation to share what you think of the presented visions and how the ideas could be developed.

Everyone interested in the future of the built environment should be involved in experimenting with this idea. The research and technology exist for us to begin that Transformation now, but what has been lacking is a vision to inspire for a better future.

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time . Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats. For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaking the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behavior. The research and technology exist for us to begin that Transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognizing this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.

Architects Declare is an international declaration for the construction industry. In Finland, more than 130 architecture offices have signed the declaration. Architects Declare Future Visions visualizes a better future.

Read more: fi.architectsdeclare.com 

Twitter Hashtag: #architectsdeclarefinland

Image: ArchInfo (c)