Wild Cities
Wild Cities

For the last few months I’ve been working as creative director on a new urban rewilding project. I’m not going to write about that project here (it’s still in development) but instead I’ll discuss some of the research I’ve come across and how I’ve started organising my thinking.

Participatory urban (re)wilding combines three distinct phenomena that have their own complexities and characteristics. Participation and cities, I know a thing or two about; rewilding less so. I’m interested in how to combine the three — in my view, doing so is one of the fundamental tactics we have for surviving the 21st century. But that gets pretty complicated. And messy, in a delightfully difficult way. …


Below are notes from my introduction to the FutureFest18 session ‘Are smart cities broken? Reimagining urban technologies’ on July 16, 2018, a debate and discussion with Francesca Bria, Alison Powell, John Tolva. The session was recorded, so if video is released I will add it later.

Broken Smart Cities

  • Are smart cities broken? Yes! But the real question is how we do better, by our cities, by our technologies and by our communities?
  • We won’t try to define smart cities — the concept is too amorphous, too insubstantial, and founded largely on marketing crap from technology companies with short names.
  • There have been…


Notes on participatory design from the introduction to my talk at re-publica 2017

I’m going to talk today about designing participatory systems. I’ll talk about some of my work over the last 15 years, some of the things I noticed along the way, and some of the things I’d like to work more on in future. In particular I’ll talk about a design strategy I’m calling mutually assured construction.

But first a reminder: in the 1970s and 80s the idea of ‘mutually assured destruction’ was pretty central to cold war conflict management. It was a doctrine that essentially said that…

Usman Haque

Founding partner/creative director @Umbrellium • @Thingful • working on engaging cities • haque.co.uk

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