17-20 November 2015

Cities are the future, as the majority of the population move to live and work in them. The Festival of the Future City – one of the Arts Council England supported Exceptional projects – will be the largest debate ever about the city and the future, bringing together academics, city planners, artists, writers, filmmakers, games makers, architects, politicians, journalists and commentators, poets, community leaders, businesses, scientists, think tanks and others to debate the future city with the public.

The aims of Festival of the Future City are: to inspire wide thinking and debate about the future of cities; to look at examples of good practice in cities that will help promote a better and more resilient, sustainable and prosperous future for all; to examine and debate good examples of city futures from the past and what they can tell us now; to provide models for future city development; and to promote debate and discussion about the future city by the widest range of people and organisations.

It will bring together and provide a platform for existing programmes of work – such as InnovateUK, Foresight, Future Cities Catapult and Centre for Cities, amongst others.

The Festival Programme/

Download the brochure from the sidebar or browse events at the bottom of the page.

There are sessions on healthy cities, age-friendly cities, smart cities, cities for all, new thinking about cities, world cities, nature-rich cities, resilience, inequality and social mobility, city thinkers of the past and what they can offer now, future work, utopian cities, the future of the High Street, immigration and cities, arts and playable cities, housing, and more.

Speakers include: Gary Younge on US cities; Rana Dasgupta on Delhi; Elif Shafak on Istanbul; Michael Marmot discussing health inequalities; Jerry Kaplan on the future of life and work; Owen Hatherley and Stuart Jeffries on the Left and future cities; Richard Sennett putting the case for a new Charter of Athens, a guide for urban development in the 21st century; John Harris and Rowan Moore on the future of British cities; Marvin Rees, Gavin Kelly and Lynsey Hanley on social mobility; Bettany Hughes and Edith Hall on cities and ideas in the ancient world; Iain Sinclair and Matthew Beaumont on cities and walking; Douglas Murphy, Darran Anderson and Melissa Sterry on utopian cities; Charles Landry on ambitious cities; Mike Rawlinson on legible cities; Guy Standing on the emerging Precariat class and its impact on urban areas; and Jonathan Meades on the future of places and cities. Zoe Williams chairs a panel discussion on housing and future cities; and Evgeny Morozov is among the panellists discussing smart cities. Will Self talks about JG Ballard and future cities, and we screen four films he’s chosen on a future city theme.

We’ll see new launches by InnovateUK on their city demonstrators work; a special preview of the film High Rise based on Ballard’s novel; new poems and essays by leading writers and commentators; city walks; and the first Bristol Day looking at the future of the city.

Join the debate on Twitter @festivalofideas #futurecity15

The programme is subject to change. For the latest updates please check this page and sign up to our mailing list.


Booking is now open for events. The web entries provide details of event locations. Some events can only be booked online. Check web entries for each event for details.

Festival Partners/

The Festival is presented in partnership with

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Academic partner:


It is supported by

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