What If Columbus encourages users to contemplate, articulate, and share their visions for Columbus through a collage of prompts and images that have been selected to explore infrastructures of cities of the future. The resulting submissions are then collected and digitally shared with community leaders with the intention that the visions can offer decision makers inspiration and insight into new concepts for the city’s future. Just as the Republic Building across the street was designed as a metaphor for transparency within the fourth estate, What If Columbus explores free speech and the public sphere in our digital age.

Materials - Cast concrete, steel and aluminum armature, digital tablet and software interface

Installation Sponsor

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor

Fabrication Sponsor

Ignition Arts

The Extrapolation Factory is a design-based research studio for participatory futures studies founded by Chris Woebken and Elliott Montgomery. The studio develops experimental methods for collaboratively prototyping, experiencing, and impacting future scenarios while exploring new territories for democratized futures.

Many of their projects explore new territories for democratized futures, like the recent “Testing Hypotheticals” at the Queens Museum. Extrapolation Factory invited Queens residents to rapidly imagine, prototype, and analyze visions of possible futures for their own neighborhood. The project outcomes were displayed at Milan Design Week 2018 and awarded the Lexus Design Awards’ grand prix.

Our projects are experiments in co-created futures. Local communities are challenged to envision social tests that could radically reimagine our societies. Through the process of building future props and testing their impact through role play, participants have chances to deeply consider the details of their evolving future scenarios, and to discover unforeseen opportunities, twists and challenges.