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Michael Metelits is WorldChanging

Attainable Utopias

Beset by the usual suspects haunting organizations explicitly run as “a collective network of generous experts”, Attainable Utopias {AU} (older website here; updated site still to launch) is nevertheless on track to improve the lives of lots of people in Southeast London.

Founded in 2003 by John Wood, Reader in Design Futures at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Andrew Carmichael of the Creative Lewisham Agency, and Dr. Cris de Groot of the Nowhere Foundation, Attainable Utopias was intended to "change the culture of dystopic thinking about the built environment, planning, and the future." John Wood talks about "reclaiming" the notion of utopia as a positive vision, or rather as the freedom to vision and dream, rather than a single totalizing picture.

The group held four workshops in late 2003 with the support (financial and in kind) of Mike Davies of the Richard Rogers Partnership. Roughly 100 people attended and were excited about working together in a decentralized, networked way on a then-unspecified range of projects.

AU is putting together a large OpenSpace workshop on October 29 2004 on the future of Creekside in Lewisham, an industrial area which has seen better days, but is becoming home to a raft of creative and digital businesses. “What is a Creative Place?: Creekside 2050” aims to bring together architects, designers, local residents, businesspeople and activists to work in an egalitarian, loosely-structured way to build a vision of the future of the area.

AU hope the workshop will develop an alternative vision of the area, useful to planners but not drawn up by consultants. Look for the website to launch then and look for details.

Michael Metelits is a consultant working in London in the disparate areas of scenario planning, somatics, and local government.

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