By Peter Pelzer
Last week I presented the Post-Fossil City Contest at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Pecha Kucha Amsterdam and the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. These were all very inspiring crowds with a great many ideas. Several questions were also raised by interested designers and artists. A selection of the questions (and answers).
"The deadline is already in three weeks, how will I ever have the time to develop a proposal?"
The time span is indeed quite short and the deadline hard. However, keep in mind that we do not expect fully developed proposals in this phase, but ideas and project descriptions. Submissions can include work you’ve already carried out and wish to refine, or work that you’re planning to do. For the submission we require a short text and, possibly, pictures, video, audio etc.
“Can a student project developed as part of a class be submitted?”
“How radical can my idea be?”
Very. We are explicitly looking for ideas that think beyond the fixed assumptions of our current system. Your idea does not necessarily have to be ‘feasible’, it does have to spark the imagination.
“Why do you use the word ‘post’, I really don’t like that word.”
We use the word post-fossil to indicate that we’re past discussions of climate change, or the relevance of a transition to renewable energy. We will make this transition, in one way or another. The question is, how? Here, the title of the contest presents our problem in a nutshell. Current imaginations of the future city - post-fossil, decarbonized and climate neutral — are negative, focusing on what it is not. What we lack are positive imaginations: what will it actually look, feel, smell like? And how can we employ the transition to renewable energy to make our cities not merely decarbonized, but more beautiful, inclusive, and better than we know them?
Hope this helps. If you have remaining questions, check our Frequently Asked Questions or do not hesitate to contact us.