THE FUTURE SCENARIOS OF CITIES: An Analysis of their Institutional Construction


In recent decades, a dominant narrative has emerged in which cities are considered the most decisive places for the future of contemporary societies. In fact, institutional production of such futures grants cities a central function in the becoming of the world. The objective of this essay is to analyze and characterize the institutional construction of future scenarios for cities based on three dimensions, or pillars, of a proposal for an institutional analysis. These dimensions are regulatory, normative and cognitive. The construction of future scenarios can be useful for cities, but it is important to recognize that they are institutional constructions that respond to the interests of individuals or groups and thus reflect visions of the present that reveal the concerns and strategic dimensions of certain actors. In this essay I analyze and characterize a corpus of 101 future scenarios for 81 cities in different countries. The results demonstrate that the future scenarios for cities are institutionalized through the development of regulatory functions, value systems and cognitive and cultural frameworks for organizations and individuals.