If ever there was a time to consider alternative ways of building a future, it is now. What we do this decade will shape the rest of the century. But what if, rather than fetishising innovation, what we really need is new ways of thinking, new frameworks, new narratives?

Future Observatory Journal is a biannual online journal on design, ecology and futures. Our aim is to create a space for rethinking the frameworks within which design operates. Published by Future Observatory, the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition, the journal aims to expand the often narrow scope in which design and ‘sustainability’ are discussed.

Pushing at the edges of the social and economic imaginary, we see alternative futures in today’s emergent design practices. They are not wildly speculative, but challenging and hopeful, suggestive of a future you might look forward to. Hence our strapline: Design, ecology and a future.

Each issue explores a theme through three lenses:

Forecast borrows the format of trend forecasting to offer a thematic overview of a key concept.

Practice substantiates that view with case studies, interviews and think pieces.

Strategy provides an analysis of the systemic implications of the theme.


  • Editor Justin McGuirk
  • Deputy Editor Cher Potter
  • Commissioning Editor George Kafka
  • Assistant Editor Lila Boschet
  • Researcher Jennifer Cunningham
  • Proofreader Aaron Juneau
  • Picture Editor Andrea Conde Pereira
  • Design and Art Direction Studio Airport
  • Code September Digital

Future Observatory

Based at the Design Museum in London, Future Observatory is the museum’s national research programme for the green transition. Delivered in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Future Observatory curates exhibitions, programmes events and funds and publishes new research, all with the aim of championing new design thinking on environmental issues. 


Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe. 


the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over seven million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray, Dieter Rams, Margaret Calvert and Yinka Ilori.


Editorial Board

The Editorial Board brings together a group of experts to respond to the themes and content of Future Observatory Journal. Their expertise ranges across various fields of design, anthropology, philosophy and publishing.

Arturo Escobar

Dr Arturo Escobar is an anthropologist specialising in ecosocial transitions and design for the pluriverse. He is a currently affiliated with the PhD Program in Design and Creation, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales and the PhD Programme in Environmental Sciences, Universidad del Valle, Cali.

Dan Hill

Dan Hill is a designer, urbanist and founding member of the Council on Urban Initiatives. He is Director of the School of Design at the University of Melbourne and Visiting Professor of Practice at UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Practice, London.

Kristina Hill

Dr Kristina Hill is an academic with interests in urban ecology and hydrology. She is Programme Director for the Institute of Urban & Regional Development at the University of California, Berkeley as well as Associate Professor for the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning.

Lydia Kallipoliti

Dr Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar at the intersection between architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Associate Professor at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, New York.

Ramia Mazé

Dr Ramia Mazé is a practice-based design researcher specialising in social and sustainable design, design activism and design for policy. She is Professor in Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is a philosopher and member of the Object-Oriented Ontology group of thinkers. They hold the Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University, Houston and have published numerous books and essays on ecology, literature, art and design.

DK Osseo-Asare

DK Osseo-Asare is a designer, researcher and cofounder of the Low Design Office and the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, Accra. He is Associate Professor of Architecture and Engineering Design for Penn State University, Pennsylvania, where he also runs the Humanitarian Materials Lab.

Sarah Teasley

Dr Sarah Teasley is a social historian with specialisms in design, technology and making in East Asia. She is Associate Dean for the School of Design at RMIT University, Melbourne and a Research Associate at the SOAS Japan Research Centre, London.

Thomas Weaver

Dr Thomas Weaver is an architectural writer, educator and editor. He is Senior Acquisitions Editor for Art and Architecture at MIT Press and teaches on the MA and PhD Architectural History programmes at the AA School, London.


The Future Observatory Journal editorial team is keen to hear from academics, researchers and designers who are interested in making their work accessible to a non-academic readership.

If you are interested in sharing your research or contributing to the journal, please email and include ‘Journal’ in your subject line. 

Every reasonable attempt has been made to identify owners of copyright. Errors and omissions notified to the publisher via will be corrected.