Posted on:  February 1, 2024

Whiteboard scribbles of complex urban systems
The first set of multidisciplinary dialogue sessions between Melbourne School of Design and Sony Computer Science Lab researchers took place during early 2023, exploring three open areas concerning cities, technologies, infrastructures, and culture. You can find recordings of all three discussions below: They helped set the scene for multiple ongoing discussions and events over the following year. We'll soon post up some summaries of those further discussions, as well as more in-depth record of a week-long working session here at the University of Melbourne, in which we hosted colleagues from Sony CSL Rome and Sony CSL Kyoto. More soon!


Posted on:  October 9, 2023

Held on March 10, 2023 (Fri) In this third session we discussed various issues related to ecosystems and food production, such as participatory design of food policy, the possibility of urban food production, stimulating and visualising biodiversity and culture through 3D-printed natural environments and augmented reality, as well as the regenerative possibilities of sustainable forms of agriculture using old and new technologies and techniques. Hosted by Dan Hill and Yuichiro Takeuchi.


Posted on:  October 9, 2023

Held on March 9, 2023 (Thu) In this second session, we discussed the emergence of new urban technologies such as shared renewable energy microgrids and autonomous transportation, diverse mobility technologies, and advanced data-enabled planning and operations, as well as the power dynamics and political relationships inherent to shared future infrastructures and urban technologies, and the possibility of incorporating participative practices and citizen-led activism into decision-making, design, and operation of urban spaces and infrastructures. Hosted by Dan Hill and Yuichiro Takeuchi.


Posted on:  October 9, 2023

In this inaugural Future Urbanism session, we introduced the series, and the emerging collaboration, before asking our guests to present their research to help frame a group discussion. After Dan Hill and Yuichiro Takeuchi shared some framing prompts for the work, the discussion covered topics such as: the cultures of everyday life (and death); understanding and mapping the diversity and complexity of urban interactions; data visualisations and urban simulations; the life-cycles of humans, nature, and objects in the city, and the role of social and cultural infrastructures, from museums and galleries through to streets, in terms of what we choose to commemorate, preserve or discard, in terms of shared cultural memory. You can watch a recording of the discussion above,...


This website is a record of conversations between researchers at the University of Melbourne, coordinated by Melbourne School of Design, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc., centered on the topic of '21st century urbanism'. The conversations are held on a sporadic basis; once new sessions are held this website will be updated accordingly. We intend to cover a wide range of topics, including transportation and mobility, climate change and biodiversity, renewable energy, agriculture and food systems, democracy and inclusion, economic inequality, artificial intelligence, social and cultural production etc.

A common thread underlying the discussions is that existing efforts to build so-called 'smart cities' have largely failed to deliver on their promises, by focusing on novel infrastructure and engineering at the expense of human qualities, natural systems, interdisciplinary cooperation, or simply the everyday complexity of existing cities. We have curated a series of discussions between speakers from our two organisations, and through these discussions, we aspire to imagine and help realise diverse possible futures for cities, where technology is treated not as an end in itself but instead supports and shapes broader ideas of culture, nature, community, politics, and economy within complex, interconnected urban systems.

These discussions are a part of an ongoing collaboration between our two organisations investigating the future of urbanism. A brief manifesto helping to frame the discussions and collaborations can be found from the link below. The manifesto is a working document, and will repeatedly be revisited and revised as we move forward with the collaboration.

An Iterative Manifesto on Future Urbanism

All discussions will be in English, and video recordings will be made available through this website. Whilst these dialogues are a way of us working towards research collaborations, we are motivated to openly share them in public, offering up the work-in-progress discussions in the spirt of 'legible practice', and hoping that you might also find them engaging and usefully provocative in some way.


Dan Hill
Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne
Yuichiro Takeuchi
Sony CSL - Kyoto / Wikitopia Institute