City Research Online

Speculative design for envisioning more-than-human futures in desirable counter-cities

Edwards, F. ORCID: 0000-0003-0389-193X & Pettersen, I. N. (2023). Speculative design for envisioning more-than-human futures in desirable counter-cities. Cities, 142, article number 104553. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2023.104553


The city has long been regarded as the domain of humans. Residing above the physical constraints of nature, such detached and dualistic anthropocentric perceptions tend to universalize, marginalize and de-politicize the value and possible co-benefits of human/nonhuman nature connections. Recognising a need to re-conceptualise the city as a multispecies space, we analyse outcomes from an interdisciplinary Master's subject that sought to encounter, restore, protect and co-exist with more-than-human species. Students were encouraged to step beyond their disciplinary boundaries to develop innovative strategies that could reconfigure human/nonhuman relationships within the city of Trondheim, Norway. Through their work, visions of alternative, possible futures emerged. Such alternative visions can be powerful: speculation can challenge and transform the linear, dualistic understandings of the city, and shape and redirect innovation practices. This article explores students' visions of multispecies cities to consider their contribution to just and sustainable transitions literature, analysing them with respect to design for sustainability transitions, teaching transdisciplinarity and the concept of the counter city.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: More-than-human, Design, Just and sustainable cities, Multispecies cities, Urban futures, Transitions
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Edwards_Speculative design.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (5MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login