Project Futures Garden aims at creating inspiring alternative future scenarios through the use of fictional future artifacts that invite to reflection and debate. The pilot project coordinated by Institutul de Prospectiva was carried out in 2024 and addressed two themes: “Dealing with future selves” and “Extending human perception to new scales“.

The EU Policy Lab offered an initial understanding of these two themes, which served as departure points for the project work:

“Dealing with future selves” – “There is an increasing understanding of the importance of intertemporal choices (the ones we make not for ourselves alone, but also for future citizens and society overall – especially regarding climate change and environmental degradation) and new, more related ways of trying to connect with our future citizens and future societies. Various initiatives are emerging, from government commissioners for future generations to “climate black boxes” as messages to “future us”. With so much at stake, citizens will want to deal more explicitly with their (individual and collective) trauma and take better care of their future selves, including consciously relating to them and even involving them in political decisions.”

“Extending human perception to new scales” – “Current policies are increasingly addressing issues and objects that are scales and distances beyond our direct human perception; like exploiting outer space resources, deep-sea mining and nanotechnologies. New technologies could potentially be providing ways of experiencing or “perceiving them” through remote sensors, visualisations or virtual reality to not only experience, but possibly also relate to and empathise with them. As citizen engagement in policymaking becomes increasingly important, policymakers will have to develop new ways to engage with citizens in relating to our universe with different scales and remote spaces.

In exploring these two themes, we started with a process of horizon scanning, which involved exploring inspiring concepts, theories, practices and technologies that may reshape our notion of futures selves and of extended human perception. The project team dived into literature from various fields, such as psychology, biology, epigenetics, biotechnology, neuroscience, cultural theory, spirituality, to surface interesting ideas that could inform the speculative work.

The outcomes of the horizon scanning process are available in the Foresight literature review brief, which you can read by clicking on the Download button on the left of the page

The logic of the entire project is depicted below, and described in more detail here.


Futures Garden initiated by the EU Policy Lab
Commissioned by the DG for Research & Innovation through the Foresight on Demand framework contract
Supported by the European Commission