Foresight in cities: on the possibility of a “strategic urban intelligence”

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Purpose: This paper aims to review the challenges of urban foresight via an analytical method: apply this to the city demonstrations on the UK Foresight Future of Cities: and explore the implications for ways forward. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology is based on the principles of co-evolutionary complex systems, a newly developed toolkit of “synergistic mapping and design”, and its application in a “synergy foresight” method. Findings: The UK Foresight Future of Cities is work in progress, but some early lessons are emerging – the need for transparency in foresight method – and the wider context of strategic policy intelligence. Practical implications: The paper has practical recommendations, and a set of propositions, (under active discussion in 2015), which are based on the analysis. Originality/value: The paper aims to demonstrate an application of “synergy foresight” with wide benefits for cities and the communities within them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-490
Number of pages22
Issue number5
Early online date12 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Forward planning
  • Organizational learning
  • Scenario methods
  • Strategic policy intelligence
  • Transition management
  • Urban policy


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