The Fantasy Method of Urban Design

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Alan Marshall


The Fantasy Method of Urban Design is an experimental cross-disciplinary method that aims to predict the future social and technological forces impacting upon our cities, and to design such cities in line with these predictions. Utilizing fantasy is one way to expand the minds of design students beyond technical parameters or isolated spatial settings, and to expose them to a world of enlarged environmental narrative, social possibility, and political complexity. In this article, the Fantasy Method is described through three case studies inspired by three influential texts: Utopia, by Thomas More (1516); Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (1818); and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (1978). These case studies make use of these chosen works of fantasy not just as background ideas, but as ways to inspire narratives of change in the design of future cities. They show that to study the fantastic under the purview of future cities is not an escape into fantasy, but an active response to the many technological and industrial fantasies, both extravagant and excessive, that are so prevalent in our contemporary urban lives.

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How to Cite
Marshall, A. (2018). The Fantasy Method of Urban Design. Diseña, (12), 312–323.
Author Biography

Alan Marshall, Mahidol University

Alan Marshall Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Mahidol University in Thailand. He holds a Ph.D. in Science, Technology, and Society, awarded by the University of Wollongong. He leads the Ecomimicry Project, an experiment in creating a methodology to emulate nature in the production of ecofriendly and socially responsible designs of new technologies and new technological systems.