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What Will Your Neighborhood Look Like in 200 Years?

Future Cartographic is a project to document what neighborhoods will look like 200 years in the future. I'm doing this through one-on-one conversations and walking "expeditions" with people from diverse backgrounds in neighborhoods of all kinds. The aim of the project is to build civic engagement around the long-lasting effects of neighborhood transformations and ultimately to demand more equitable, human, inspiring, playful, and sustainable change

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The Future Cartographic Society process 

The process of documenting the distant future is rooted first in sharing strong personal experiences of place from our past, and second in exploring together to fully share and experience anew the present state of the neighborhoods we call home. As we do this, a mashup of personal past and neighborhood present takes shape in the distant future. By documenting these futures in narratives, maps, and illustrations we begin to see certain truths. Truths not just about what the future will look like, but also the truth that we have the ability to achieve great things in our own time and to begin creating these inspiring futures.  

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I began developing this project in 2014 as a Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies. The conversations to be documented over the coming year are just the start. As the project unfolds, I plan to present discoveries about the future in a "sci-fi performance lecture," in an "Atlas of Future Neighborhoods" book and mobile app (pictured above), and ultimately to grow a movement demanding a more inspiring, fun, human, and equitable built environment.

What will your neighborhood look like in 200 years? Will it be more beautiful, more inspiring, more human than it is today? As Founder and Chief of Expeditions of the Future Cartographic Society, I'm mapping what future neighborhoods will look like in order to inspire civic involvement today.

Working with residents from all walks of life in big cities, suburbs and rural towns across the U.S., I learn about an individuals past relationship to place, walk and share an experience of the present state of their neighborhood, and then work to develop maps, stories, and illustrations that represent incredible, inspiring, whimsical, and humanizing distant futures for the places we now call home. 

Why is this important?   Our neighborhoods are constantly changing, but we don't often think of the long term impact of the choices we're making now. Is your neighborhood awesome? What choices were made 100 or 300 years ago to make it that way? Can we build empathy with the unknown residents of our neighborhood in the future? By looking far beyond our immediate concerns in the present to a more hopeful distant future, I believe we can boost civic engagement and community ownership over the forces of change that often feel like they are beyond our control. 

Who am I? My name is Erik Moe. I have been working in the arts/culture and social justice sectors all my life. My experience ranges from rolling up my sleeves to clean up neglected spaces for use as art centers to leading a 20-person national team of digital organizers at one of the biggest economic justice nonprofits in the U.S. Today, I advise do-gooders on social impact and digital strategy (when I'm not conducting expeditions to the future).

Would you like to invite me to present findings of these expeditions in your community, or conduct an expedition where you live? Future Cartographic Society can take the form of a short talk or as a science-fiction-as-fact performance/lecture facilitating constructive dialogue on beauty in the built environment, and related issues such as displacement and change in historically oppressed or disadvantaged communities. 

Completed Expeditions: 

Oakland & San Francisco: Jan 17-24, 2015
Big Sur, CA: Jan 25-27, 2015
Minneapolis: Apr 7-13, 2015
Pittsburgh: Apr 17-19, 2015
Philadelphia: May 21-30, 2015
North Carolina: July 10-12, 2015
Boston: July 30-Aug 1, 2015
Narragansett, RI: Aug 2-5, 2015
Shenandoah National Park: Aug 6-9, 2015
Chicago: Sep 15-16, 2015

Interested? Ready to help out?

In early 2015, I completed a crowdfunding campaign that raised about $2,000 in financial support towards the travel research costs of conducting these expeditions. I've also received many offers of lodging, airline miles, and other support. Thank you to all who gave, and please keep the support coming! 

ADDITIONAL WAYS TO HELP:

I'm currently looking to further develop the Future Cartographic Society's book-length Atlas of Future Neighborhoods. To do so, I'm looking to schedule visits to new neighborhoods across North America. If you'd be willing to cover costs associated with hosting a residency and walking "expeditions" in your neighborhood, please be in touch!  

Another way to help is to hire me. I subsidize my creative projects with freelance work as a writer, editor, and communications advisor. If you need help using online communications to make your organization more impactful, let's talk! 

—Erik Moe, Founder and Chief of Expeditions