Future Cartographic Society

What will your neighborhood look like in 200 years?

Buy Book 1: DC's U Street

Future Cartographic is a project to document what neighborhoods will look like 200 years in the future. I'm doing this through one-on-one conversations and walking "expeditions" with people from diverse backgrounds in neighborhoods of all kinds. The aim of the project is to build civic engagement around the long-lasting effects of neighborhood transformations and ultimately to demand more equitable, human, inspiring, playful, and sustainable change.

The process of documenting the distant future is rooted first in sharing strong personal experiences of place from our past, and second in exploring together to fully share and experience anew the present state of the neighborhoods we call home. As we do this, a mashup of personal past and neighborhood present takes shape in the distant future. By documenting these futures in narratives, maps, and illustrations we begin to see certain truths. Truths not just about what the future will look like, but also the truth thatwe have the ability to achieve great things in our own time and to begin creating these inspiring futures.

I began developing this project in 2014 as a Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies. The conversations to be documented over the coming year are just the start. As the project unfolds, I plan to present discoveries about the future in a "sci-fi performance lecture," in an "Atlas of Future Neighborhoods" book and mobile app (pictured above), and ultimately to grow a movement demanding a more inspiring, fun, human, and equitable built environment.

What will your neighborhood look like in 200 years? Will it be more beautiful, more inspiring, more human than it is today? As Founder and Chief of Expeditions of the Future Cartographic Society, I'm mapping what future neighborhoods will look like in order to inspire civic involvement today.

Working with residents from all walks of life in big cities, suburbs and rural towns across the U.S., I learn about an individuals past relationship to place, walk and share an experience of the present state of their neighborhood, and then work to develop maps, stories, and illustrations that represent incredible, inspiring, whimsical, and humanizing distant futures for the places we now call home.

Why is this important? Our neighborhoods are constantly changing, but we don't often think of the long term impact of the choices we're making now. Is your neighborhood awesome? What choices were made 100 or 300 years ago to make it that way? Can we build empathy with the unknown residents of our neighborhood in the future? By looking far beyond our immediate concerns in the present to a more hopeful distant future, I believe we can boost civic engagement and community ownership over the forces of change that often feel like they are beyond our control.

Who am I? My name is Erik Moe. I have been working in the arts/culture and social justice sectors all my life. My experience ranges from rolling up my sleeves to clean up neglected spaces for use as art centers to leading a 20-person national team of digital organizers at one of the biggest economic justice nonprofits in the U.S. Today, I advise do-gooders on social impact and digital strategy (when I'm not conducting expeditions to the future).

Would you like to invite me to present findings of these expeditions in your community, or conduct an expedition where you live? Future Cartographic Society can take the form of a short talk or as a science-fiction-as-fact performance/lecture facilitating constructive dialogue on beauty in the built environment, and related issues such as displacement and change in historically oppressed or disadvantaged communities.

Future Cartographic Society

MAP: The Great Orchard

Our earliest DC expeditions revealed a great fruit orchard stretching from the present day Washington Convention Center to the arboretum where New York Avenue currently divides the city.

MAP: U Street/ Black Broadway

Future Cartographic Society
23rd Century U Street as revealed to date through expeditions of Future Cartographic Society

Before resolving to focus primarily on an atlas of DC, Future Cartographic Society conducted experiments to refine our time travel methods in a variety of locations, including:

  • Oakland & San Francisco: Jan 17-24, 2015
  • Big Sur, CA: Jan 25-27, 2015
  • Minneapolis: Apr 7-13, 2015
  • Pittsburgh: Apr 17-19, 2015
  • Philadelphia: May 21-30, 2015
  • North Carolina: July 10-12, 2015
  • Boston: July 30-Aug 1, 2015
  • Narragansett, RI: Aug 2-5, 2015
  • Shenandoah National Park: Aug 6-9, 2015
  • Chicago: Sep 15-16, 2015

If you are interested in bringing a Future Cartographic Society expedition to your community, please contact Erik Moe at erik@erikmoe.com

Previous Expeditions:

Future Cartographic Society

Now available: Created for Future Cartographic Society’s field trips at the 2016 Creative Time Summit, this preview edition of a new chapbook documenting the Oral Histories, Oral Futures project is now available. These editions are printed on acid-free paper and saddle-stitched with a cover of textured 80lb paper.

Future Cartographic Society is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chief of Expeditions Erik Moe at erik@erikmoe.com