The following case study about the shift from Modernist, to Postmodernist, and even to the prefiguring of a Post-postmodernist (or integral) mode of urban civic planning, describes a new kind of role for not just the architect but the alderman, attorney and engineer. This new role of the professional is of a different order– multivalent, translational and facilitative in service of new kinds of processes unfolding in time and space. Design ideation and prototypes are examples of design tools that invite elected officials, specialists, and citizens into a dynamic co-envisioning of possible city futures and counterproposals in a real-time co-creative cross-functional workflow.
Somewhere “between sociology and cool-hunting” (Morace 22) experimental research methodologies draw from semiology, anthropology and ethnography, and combine data mining with observational research. Future Concept Lab functions as a hub for demographic, psychographic, geographic and technologic data, as well as a scanner for weak signals, gestural cues, and latent needs disclosed by social science field methods thus transcending yet including big data forecasting formulas. Unlike other marketing, branding and positioning firms, Future Concept Lab is a multi- modal ‘collaboratory’ with the flexibility to think and do in time and space.