Community engagement for sustainable urban futures : editorial preface
This special issue of Futures is concerned with community engagement strategies that help to inform medium and long-term futures studies in order to foster sustainable urban environments. Recent special issues of Futures, such as Human Extinction (41:10) and Utopian Thought (41:4), reflect the increasing significance of sustainability issues, which is why we present another crucial component of sustainability, community engagement. Responding to futurists’ long term concerns about climate change outlined in Futures 41(9) , Stevenson concluded that we can no longer support infinite growth, and that our goal should be to reshape the economy to let us live within our means.
In the face of the continued and accelerated crisis in environmental, economic and social sustainability, a number of trends informed our call for papers on the possible role of community engagement in contributing to enhanced urban sustainability:
• Changes in the public sphere in terms of participation, online deliberation systems, polity of urban futures;
• The possible use of user-generated content for urban planning (paralleling the rise of user generated content elsewhere);
• The related role of social networking, collective and civic intelligence, and crowd- sourcing in urban futures;
• The rise of technologies such as wireless Internet and mobile applications, and the impact of neogeography, simulations and 3D virtual environments that reproduce and analyse complex social phenomena and city systems in urban futures, design and planning.
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