The purpose of Future Cities; Livable Futures (FCLF) is to open a trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural dialogue about the future. The Future Cities; Livable Futures Initiative proposes to explore the future of urban life and address innovative solutions to sustainably develop urban areas. The concept was developed by Adrian Parr and Michael Zaretsky in 2013 and began with a kick-off event: Future Cities; Livable Futures Symposium in Cincinnati in 2013. This spurred several events and initiatives across Cincinnati including Louder Than A Bomb Cincy and MetroLAB Public Interest Design/Build Program.

2023 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Transpecies Design Symposium

The call for transpecies design proposes that humans, as co-denizens of a shared planet, must shift from an anthropocentric mindset in exchange for a worldview in service of the earth’s magnificent biodiversity. Some of our neighbors are known and familiar, such as plants, birds, and bees. Others, like microbes and subterranean organisms, remain abstract and easily overlooked. Through design we have an opportunity and responsibility to improve not only the quality of human lives, but also those of our symbiotic neighbors, both big and small. Through design, we can acknowledge the damage our predecessors have inflicted upon the earth by restoring and revitalizing damaged environments, leaning on and learning from nature’s own incredible designs. The transpecies design symposium will explore various approaches on how to realize and put to work transpecies design principles. 

Forum3: Water and Human Settlements

2021 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Water and Human Settlements

The conference has been postponed. More info coming soon. – Over half the world now lives in cities and by 2050 the urban population is estimated to reach 6.25 billion with nearly 95% of urban growth expected to take place in the developing world. As urban growth increases the demand for freshwater, it also negatively impacts freshwater, sanitation, and stormwater systems. In addition, the effects of climate change, as droughts and floods, will intensify the water challenge for settlements and communities . Under these circumstances achieving equitable, sustainable, and efficient urban water systems and services demands innovative, inclusive, intersectoral, and international collaboration. Designing and planning for urban climate resilience and sufficient water supplies depends upon culturally appropriate socio-technical solutions that are alert to political obstacles, attentive of social biases, and responsive to economic inequities.

2019 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Towards a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems

The 2019 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Towards a Sustainable Model for Urban-Watershed Systems conference and workshop provided a platform to introduce cross-disciplinary dialogues around sustainable urban-watershed management and explore best practices to explain and better understand the different factors that interact to form an urban-watershed system.

2013 Future Cities Livable Futures

2013 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Symposium

The 2013 Future Cities; Livable Futures: Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio explored the future of urban life, and how to sustainably and equitably develop urban areas. With the majority of the world’s population now living in cities, new challenges have arisen in development and sustainability. The symposium examined the issues surrounding development in urban locations. Cincinnati is a mid-sized city and experts predict that cities of 300,000 to one million people are the cities of the future. Cincinnati faces challenges and opportunities in common with other cities across the country and the globe and serves as a city with a rich history to learn from.

Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) Cincinnati

Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) Cincinnati was set up by Adrian Parr as a way to support local youth engagement while she was the Director of the Taft Center for the Humanities. LTAB is a spoken word event held at over 20 schools around the Cincinnati area.

MetroLAB Public Interest Design/Build Program

MetroLAB (2011-2018) was a Public Interest Design / Build program within the University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) in the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) that engages students and faculty from SAID, DAAP and across UC with local and regional communities and partners that would not otherwise have access to design. Architecture faculty ran projects in partnership with non-profit groups in Cincinnati. Projects included Five Points Alley in Walnut Hills and Pleasant Street Parklet.


Adrian Parr

Adrian Parr

Dean, College of Design
Senior Fellow, Design Futures Council
University of Oregon
Michael Zaretsky

Michael Zaretsky

Head, Department of Architecture
Associate Professor
School of Architecture and Environment
College of Design
University of Oregon