A huge body of work was developed – by nine creative leaders and their teams – and presented at the Congress in Design2050 Studios, which were interactive and encouraged active participation from Congress visitors. The aim of this discourse is to spur designers to become agents of change for a better world.

The content generated in the studios becomes part of Singapore’s knowledge resource for design learning and research and will be hosted at Singapore’s National Design Centre.

Highlights of the studio work included architectural and urban concepts by Singapore-based WOHA Studio directors Richard Hassell and Wong Mun Summ, who showed us how life in Singapore may be in 2050, in a city that defies rising sea levels with it’s dyke-like construction, internal lagoon and community-style apartment living.

David Nelson and Stefan Behling, from Foster and Partners in the UK, proposed a Sustainable City concept that expresses a concern with not only the physical context of a project but a sensitivity to culture and climate.

The zero-carbon masterplan for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi demonstrated the role of buildings in forty years from now and how technological breakthroughs are likely to change the way we live. The creation of sustainable and humane habitats will determine the long-term success of humans on earth.

Ravi Naidoo from Design Indaba invited five designers to create a unique vision for 2050, which sees farming as the key to civilisation and sees it repositioned as a higher pursuit. Called Protofarm 2050, 5.5 designers, Dunne&Raby, Revital Cohen and Frank Tjepkama each created a vision for 2050.

Chris Luebkeman from ARUP in the UK invited participants to look back from the year 2050 to find issues, technologies and design innovations and identify the most important drivers of change – to allow Life @ 1 Planet to be achieved.

The overriding feeling from all groups was one of optimism about our future, the preservation of the planet, sustainability and that design can help to bring a better quality of life to all living things now and in the future. 

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