The Glasgow Climate Summit kicked off a week ago. There are important choices in how to deal with climate change. And when it comes to climate, we see a lot of doomsday scenarios. Hoffman studies how we can create more imagination, engagement and creativity in tackling global warming.
“We’re trying to move something out of the science, of the theme of ‘imagining the future’.” How do you do that exactly? “Usually we start with something already known from science, for example sea level rise. From there we try to visualize many futures. And accordingly we show the options.”
Hoffman is part of Urban Futures Studio, an institute where scholars from different fields come together to reflect on science and policy. They do this, among other things, through the so-called soft spaces To create places where you can talk about controversial topics in a safe way out of the spotlight.
A city without fossil fuels
For example, Urban Futures Studio previously organized a competition in which artists and philosophers were also allowed to think about a city where fossil fuels no longer play a role. That was a way to gather new ideas, but it also turned out to lead to other conversations.
This thinking can be valuable. Because asking people about their first association with climate change, Hoffman said, “and you’re likely to get negative associations, like sea level rise or climate catastrophes.” He emphasizes that you can also have a positive conversation, for example about electric cars where you can store energy at the same time.