This event is now sold out. All applicants will be informed by 5pm, Thursday 28th May if their application was successful.


Learn design and prototyping techniques for ‘big picture’ thinking.

This lab is run in partnership with New Economy Manchester.

Are you passionate about cities and systems? Curious about the potential of open data? The City Infrastructure Lab will show you how open data can be used to develop new models of civic innovation. The knowledge, methods and guidance received can be applied in your own practice to tackle ‘big picture’ systemic challenges.

The City Infrastructure Lab will be led by experts in foresight, urbanism and civic innovation from FutureEverything, Future Cities Catapult and the Digital Catapult. During the event, you will work with your peers to identify opportunities for action and generate ideas in response, mentors will be on hand to help you develop concepts into useable products and services. The outcomes will inform the development of the Greater Manchester Open Data Infrastructure Map.

Coming on board as a mentor is writer, researcher and futurist Paul Graham Raven, whose unique insight into the future of infrastructure will act as stimulus for debate and discussion with participants. As a researcher in infrastructure futures at the University of Sheffield, Paul’s work interrogates the possibilities of applying critical design practice and futures thinking to the infrastructural domain. He has previously spoken at FutureEverything 2014 on the role of utopia in imagining futures, and has written for publications such as WIRED and New Scientist.

No prior experience of working with data is required.

About the Map
New Economy and Salford City Council have developed the Greater Manchester Open Data Infrastructure Map. Data originates from both public and private sector stakeholders – as a repository for open infrastructure data, the map and background data can be used to develop new digital services, and as an insight gathering tool for built environment professionals.

The map will be released in May, ahead of the event, but pre-release access can be arranged for participants by emailing

Is this for me?
We welcome everyone interested in using new prototyping methods and foresight to drive forwards civic innovation. This is not a technical hackathon, competition or coding challenge, and no special tools, training or expertise are required. We welcome individuals and teams, and encourage an interdisciplinary approach.

This workshop is ideal for:

  • Planning Professionals
  • Service Designers
  • Environmental Designers
  • Information Designers
  • Architects
  • Sociologists
  • Data Scientists
  • Social and Civic Innovators
  • Masters/PhD students and academics in the above disciplines

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Smith at FutureEverything:

To Apply
We welcome applications from existing and new teams, as well as individuals. Places are free, but strictly limited. Catering will be provided. To apply to take part in this lab, fill in the form below.

Thu 4th June: 13.30 – 18.00
Fri 5th June: 09.30 – 17.30

Intellectual Property Rights
All IP and copyright will remain with the creators of the work, but we ask that you include the following credit in all promotion, publicity, documentation, internal communications and exhibition of media following the event:

This work was created as part of City Infrastructure Lab – A collaboration between FutureEverything and New Economy.



Thursday 4th June
1.30 pm – Registration
2.00 pm – Presentations: Keynote speaker (details TBA); an introduction to speculative design for cities
2.40 pm – Introducing ‘Undesirable Futures’
3.00 pm – Backcasting exercise (led by workshop mentors)
4.30 pm – Problem framing exercise
5.30 pm – Close
6.00 pm – Informal social event (details TBA)

Friday 5th June*
09.30 am – Presentations: GM Infrastructure Map (open data); an introduction to prototyping techniques
10.00 am – Prototyping future city infrastructure (led by workshop mentors)
4.30 pm – Quickfire presentations
5.00 pm – Expert feedback
5.30 pm – Close

* Lunch provided