What will the world look like in the future? What changes can we expect for the next coming decades? The world is seeing a series of unprecedented advances —from the decoding of the human genome to advances in the 3D printing of human tissue— that are affecting all aspects of human life.

Futures research aims at exploring the potential alternative futures –the possible, the probable, and the preferable.

Futures studies aim to systematically explore and elucidate possible and desirable visions of the future. As a result of these forward-looking insights, long and short-term policies and strategies can be produced which can in turn enable decision-makers to create a desired future.

Future of NYC in 2050

A vision of New York in 2050. Courtesy of Mitchell Joachim.

Futures studies do not pretend to predict the “the future.” Instead, they explore the visions about the future in order to reduce uncertainties and prepare for what might unfold. Futures research allows us to navigate the past, the present and the future and inform us about the options and choices we can make.