The “Global X-Centers Network” annual meeting 2019, Vienna

The Global X Network meeting in Vienna on 28 October brought together a group of researchers from the USA, Japan, Brazil, and Europe, all of whom had a great knowledge of Futures and Foresight. The theme this year was Urban Futures.

The key messages from ´Mapping the Urban Future´ and on ´Ramification of Green Urban Futures´ (research done by X Network members) meant I could literally feel the need for enormous transformational processes to make cities more liveable ecosystems. To my surprise, they suggested that cities should be made smaller in future – whilst megacities continue to grow they will become less governable up if decisions are not decentralised to smaller neighbourhoods. It will be interesting to see if decision makers, business and citizens understand the urgency of implementing new approaches and will act today to co-create new cities for tomorrow.

Later discussions turned around the work being done by other X-Network researchers on how big global topics like climate change, new technologies, digitalization and resilience, and the platform economy with its pros and cons will influence the future of our societies. For instance, this could lead to new X-Events, such as unexpected Energy Blackouts (a possible side effect of the energy transition?).

In any case, the Global X Network remains a place to learn, to contribute, and to invent new research projects for the future. It is part of a rising awareness on Futures and Strategic Foresight in politics, business and civil society.

One final thing. My personal surprise in Vienna came when checking in at the Hotel Wandl, which I chose ´par hasard’.  It turns out they already had my name and address perfectly prepared. Only, the data and address were in Paris, saved from a trip I made (and had forgotten about) 15 years ago. This shows how data can follow you around – and sometimes mean people are wrong about you…