We want a more beautiful world for more people
So many of us dedicate our lives to this pursuit. But if we’re all working toward better futures, why aren’t we there yet?
- Business continues to prioritize outdated modes of industrial innovation.
- Individual achievement is so celebrated throughout our culture that it promotes toxic and ultimately ineffectual lone-hero myths.
- Too many people trust technology to advance humanity instead of cultivating humanity to harness technology.
- Corporations shoehorn social good concerns into their missions rather than recognizing that their structures aren’t architected to produce widespread social good.
- Government, corporate and nonprofit entities lack the fluidity, risk tolerance and accountability that systems-level challenges demand.
- A cult of KPIs in philanthropy and impact investment obscures our understanding of systemic impact, and the almost ubiquitous notion of triple-bottom-line returns remains vague at best.
- The top 1% are consolidating wealth and not effectively using it to fuel compelling responses — even when they attempt to do so.
- Networks around the world too often masquerade affiliation as cooperation.
- Those on the front lines of social good are hemmed in by funding constraints, stymied by risk, stretched thin by competing demands and weighed down by unnecessary bureaucracy.
- Many who proclaim collaboration to be the new leadership move forward with strategies and structures that hinder rather than promote shared consequences and prosperity.
The power of the intangible
Stemming from the work of Sharon Chang, future architecture applies a new, disciplined approach to the design of better futures. It zeroes in on intangible forms — trust, sentiment, and power dynamics, among others — to provide pathways to more comprehensive and nuanced impact. By transcending a dominant culture that often ignores or dismisses the power of the intangible, future architecture creates the conditions necessary for humanity to thrive.
It is a vocation: anchored in hope, built on principle, fortified with ritual, learned by action, mastered through commitment and bound to deep collaboration.
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that brings together the architects of tomorrow to more effectively pursue shared visions of the future.
The work of the Guild is to establish its century-long role as a critical animator of enlightened cultural, social, economic, and political systems.
As a membership organization, the Guild provides future architects with education, connections, mentorship, and access to financial resources:
- 501(c)(3) Fiscal Sponsorship
- Shared Future Support
- Funding Opportunities
- Life-long Learning Programs
- Curation & Coordination Services
- Futurist Writers’ Room
- Digital Knowledge System
- Case Studies
- Directory of Practitioners
- Advisory Connections
- Online Trainings
Active prototypes of Shared Futures:
Regenerative ConsumerismTo produce affordable, high-quality products, entrepreneurs must reinvent the calculus of supply and demand, engaging in regenerative production that not only prevents the depletion of the planet but actively replenishes it. Coordination is key to experimentation in this sector. This proto-Shared Future has been in development for many years through the work of collaborators Usha Venkatachalam, Chid Liberty, and Sean Ansett.
InSite BaltimoreThis Shared Future has been active for many years as a collective of Black artists, activists, community organizers, philosophers and scholars working to create an intentional creative community in Baltimore centered on the preservation, cultivation and advancement of black culture. It aims to create collective and collaborative processes to radically reflect on the past, examine the present and imagine the future of this city. This collective will see Baltimore become a major global hub for innovation at the intersection of art, science and technology and a successful model of city-wide justice, prosperity and wellbeing.
Citizen ArtistsThis Shared Future emerged from the incredible work of Guild members Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman’s collaboration with artists and arts institutions across the USA on centering the voices of artists and creative communities to improve the conditions of our political systems; and the leadership of Allyson Green at NYU Tisch’s Art & Public Policy initiative. Collaborators of this Shared Future aim to share learning and improve the coordination of these kinds of efforts to ensure artist participation in the political process.
Community PropertiesImagine communities where a creative process forges shared prosperity from common values. What if wealth creation rejected extractive models and instead offered inclusive opportunities for all stakeholders to define, create and protect properties that enable the collective to thrive? With its initial focus on “forgotten cities,” this effort will begin in New London, Connecticut to explore how to forge collaborations between community insiders and outsiders to develop new economic models. This proto-Shared Future is being advanced by collaborators Sharon Chang, Andrew Wagner, Andrea Steele, and regional hospitality entrepreneurs.
Beyond PrisonWhat would we create today if we had the opportunity to rebuild our justice system from the ground up, absent of its ties to antiquated assumptions that any such system must favor punishment over restoration? Imagine a future where we fully unlock the potential contributions of incarcerated individuals, turning that potential into a driving force to heal society's sufferings. This proto-Shared Future began with two film projects: O.G. (2018 Tribeca Film Festival; 2019 HBO premiere) and It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It (2018 Tribeca Film Festival; 2019 HBO premiere), and has grown to include contributions from Claudia Peña, Martin Pettis, and Miguel Rivera.
Radical ImaginationThis Shared Future is developing through a constellation of leaders who intersect art, science, technology, and practices of self, catalyzing a critical and democratized imagination of our future. Collaborators - Kat Cizek, Jacob Ellenberg, Cara Mertes, Allyson Green, Kamal Sinclair, and Sharon Chang - are sharing their ideas through compelling traditional and emerging media, including: Future Imagination Fund/Collaboratory at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The Radical Imagination Project (an episodic documentary based on the Making a New Reality research and the future architecture practice).
Origin StoriesBecoming a future architect
Every future architect has a unique origin story. Here are a few from those who shaped the early development of future architecture.
The architect in me moved to deconstruction in order to identify patterns. I explored how I had tried to integrate instinct, self-awareness, common sense, humility, generosity, curiosity and audacity into a cohesive and consistent way to engage the world. What emerged was a practice for making the invisible visible, the intangible tangible and the impossible possible.
I bear a rich and deep legacy of ancestors (biological and kindred) who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of a just, kind, connected and inclusive world. They imagined me into existence, protected me with ferocity so that I could thrive and now call me to do the same for future generations.
Mark de Groh
I clearly remember pausing mid-sentence, taking a deep breath and allowing myself to be honest. “Me. I bring me to the table. All of me.” And with that, I felt an incredible moment of liberation. The discipline resonated so strongly with me that I began to call myself a future architect.
In this tradition, I learned to ask how and why as reflexively as breathing. And, as each answer led to more queries, I came to appreciate the value of questions as a force for deepening our understanding of the world and exploring the nature of our very humanity.
My parents prized the capacity for wayfinding and instilled it into me: When you feel in over your head, don’t panic. Get to work. And so with the determination of a teacher’s kid and the worker-bee grit of “the North” of England you do just that.
I decided to dedicate my life to this grand experiment known as Liberia, and on a larger level, post-colonial Africa. I knew that it was my calling to look forward. I wanted to help create beautiful futures with people facing difficult circumstances and build community around bending the universe’s moral arc closer to justice.