Case Study: Envisioning the sustainable city

porenaPLACE: Stockholm, Sweden

SITUATION:  The think tank  AVBP took on the challenge of working with the narrative of the sustainable city. Instead of seeing how we live as  being a burden on the Earth, and  dire prospects of having to give up our comforts, AVBP explored how tell the story of how we  can create great places to live sustainably.

FRAMING QUESTION: how can we create a narrative that gives us  a positive, feasible view of a sustainable future in a city?

SOLUTION: AVBP held about 20   envisioning sessions using the technique of imagestreaming, all sessions were meticulously recorded and followed up with verification


  • Each imagestreaming session starts with a specific design challenge, formulated as succinctly as possible
  • Solutions were brought out in rapid succession and recorded on a dictaphone
  • Dictaphone scripts were converted to texts, descriptions
  • Drawings, sketches, process diagrams etc were produced based on the insights from the session
  • A full series of in-depth verification processes were carried out, including internet search, model building, simulations
  • Results were published as they were produced on a blog
  • The blog was collated and re-written as a book


AVBP believes it is possible to create a  city of one million :

  • A walking city, everything connected via trains.
  • Goods are transported underground on small automatic railways
  • A peripheral canal carries heavy goods
  • A highly efficient circular design.
  • Everything designed to be multi functional.
  • Food grows everywhere, free to eat.
  • People’s work consists of keeping the city running, everyone helps out.

Today, the book “inventing for the sustainable planet” is available from Amazon, the other material is presented as a series of newsletters on the blog A Very Beautiful Place.  The video The Sustainable City of Porena is available via YouTube. Verifications are fully referenced in each book section.


A science fiction “story from the future” talks about a visit to the sustainable city of Porena from the book

For those organisations wishing to learn the techniques of imagestreaming to help their own creative process, workshops are available from Stephen Hinton consulting.

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