Empowering upcoming city developers with futures literacy

Saija Toivonen, Anahita Rashidfarokhi*, Riikka Kyrö

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)


New types of human capacities will be needed to achieve sustainable futures within our planet's limited boundaries. The capability of futures thinking, i.e., futures literacy is among the required proficiencies. This research explores how engaging in futures studies methods develops the futures literacy of upcoming city developers. Four student test groups, with altogether 373 participants, took part in futures studies lectures and workshop activities in two countries. This study considers the ability to participate as the first step towards empowerment. Following participation, the three levels of futures literacy (Awareness - Discovery – Choice), should be reached. Finally, futures literacy brings with it the possibility to participate, closing this loop of empowerment. The study finds that the employed futures activities delivered these levels and loop of empowerment within the test groups students. This paper provides a practical framework of concepts with which the futures methods can be used as a systematic, participatory approach to explore futures and drivers of change, with a link to action. The findings are equally useful for higher education teachers, attempting to engage students in action and practising city developers aiming for a higher level of empowerment in their communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102734
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Empowerment
  • Engagement
  • Futures literacy
  • Participation
  • Societal challenges


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