Welcome to this collaboratorium for the co-evolution of cities, economies, ecologies, technologies and societies…

Firstly – here’s to introduce a new  ‘Atlas of the Future’ , a next-generation ‘Pathway Language’, a user’s ‘Rough Guide to the 21st century’ ….

Deeper City

Deeper city cover

For synopses & samples see – THE BOOK  

(Some ask about the cover image – borrowed from the Mind-Games of Chapter 11, this shows a semi-fictional Deeper Mind Lab, experimenting at the frontiers with the world’s most powerful Large Think-onomic Synthesizer…)

For the Pandemic 3.0 there is visual ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, on turning crisis into opportunity – MIND-GAMES – with briefings on Pandemic 3.0

The basic ideas of SYNERGISTICS follow on,

with the insights of VISUAL THINKING.


the ‘official’ sister site – Synergistics@manchester has more on the collaboratorium…..

Conversations  and open debates, on ongoing program of collective learning and thinking

Co-productions  – an emerging portfolio of projects around the world, developing and testing the synergistic methods

RESOURCES on the 40 pathways – (in progress)

TOOLKITS and practical guides and playbooks

Also  – various materials….


Deeper City is not only the result of a decade of experimentation – it’s also a resource for work in progress. As the global deeper threat multipliers pile up, the opportunities multiply up, for synergistic thinking for the ‘pathways from smart to wise’. So here is a prospectus for an emerging global Collaboratorium – a ‘Laboratory for collaborative pathways’…


The Collaboratorium is an evolving program with multiple locations, stakeholders, scientific fields, case studies and experiments. It builds on the ideas of collective intelligence in Deeper City, and follows those insights on synergistic mapping and pathway design.

The Collaboratorium starts with a series of Mind-Labs.  These are open exploratory dialogues, which explore the scope of collective intelligence, and start the process of pathway mapping in each case, whether food or finance, pandemics or prosperity…  Each Mind-Lab follows the principles and methods of synergistic thinking in a flexible and creative way.  Each one has three main aims:

·         Explore the scope of collective intelligence in this issue or sector

·         Start the mapping of synergistic pathways which can lead towards it

·         Debate strategy, resources, and practical next steps

The Mind-Labs at present are online, but we aim to move back ‘on-site’ as soon as safe and practical.  There are some benefits online (lower carbon / easier participation), compared to onsite.  Generally we use the synergistic toolkit, for visual systems thinking, at www.manchester.ac.uk/synergistics.   This is now online in a prototype version: see the sample interactive collaboratorium-demo.

The next events are now taking shape as follows…

Conversations – summary program

Here is a summary of launch / Mind-lab events (as of October 2020):

see Conversations  for details and registrations.

  • Oct 20th: Lo-co-gov-3.0:  Many voted to ‘take back control’ – but what and where is this control? We need new models for local collaborative governance and ‘living labs’ (in combination with the Looper project).
  • Oct 23rd: Deeper Covi-city 3.0 in action: exploring the potential of social innovation & policy networks based on a ‘collective urban intelligence’ (hosted by Universidade Autonoma Baja California, Mexicali).
  • Oct 30th: Green New Deal 3.0: redirecting economic recovery with ‘collective carbon intelligence’ – how to get the science/tech, economics, politics, culture, psychology and urban systems all working together?
  • Nov 4th: Civic design 3.0: for the remaking / rethinking of cities, we need ‘planning but not as we know it’, on the principles of ‘collective urban intelligence’; (hosted by the World Planning Day in S Africa);
  • Nov 12th: Foresight 3.0 in action:  exploring the potential of ‘collective anticipatory intelligence’, with new ‘game-changer’ methods (hosted by Higher School of Economics, Moscow).
  • Nov 20-21st: Food 3.0:  less land / more people?? exploring collective food intelligence for global-local agri-food systems, combining hi-tech with ancient wisdom (hosted by Alara Wholefoods London).
  • Dec 4th:  Smart-wise cities 3.0:  If the price of smart city AI is surveillance and oppression, let’s talk about Collective Human-Artificial Intelligence (with the Shanghai Pudong Smart City Research Institute).
  • Dec 11th: Peri-cene 3.0: around 1/3 million arrive every week in the peri-urban zone, in the path of fire, flood, drought & storm… what do we know and what can be done?? (east/west split session: in combination with the Peri-cene project).
  • Feb 2021 (tbc): Local-onomics-III: for peripheral cities and regions, apparently surplus to the global economy – how to mobilize deeper human resources?  (in combination with the EU ‘Industrial transitions’ program).
  • September 2021 (tbc): Peri-cene 3.0: the peri-urban side of the global Anthropocene, working with a Policy Lab of 21 cities around the world. (in combination with the Peri-cene project).

(Note – “3.0”  is shorthand here for ‘Mode-III collective intelligence’:  times are shown for UK – check for local equivalents).


(resources are available on the links, feedback is welcome, and various follow-ups are in progress).

  • Sept 18th: Anti-city 3.0: ‘Cities but not as we know them’: collective peri-urban intelligence in a fragmented world (hosted by the Auroville Institute for Sustainable Architecture, India).
  • 11th: Deeper Covi-City 3.0: the pandemic has brought conflicts to the surface, but also potential for transformation – here we explore the ‘collective urban intelligence’ in turning crisis into opportunity.
  • 4th: Foresight 3.0:  amidst disruption and turbulence, how to look and plan ahead? This calls for futures / foresight methods with next generation learning & thinking built in.
  • 25th: Pandemic-city 3.0:  the post Covid-19 urban agenda, ‘from crisis to transformation’ (hosted by the South African Centre for Cities).

Prospects for the Collaboratorium

At this point the field of possibilities is wide open… especially at this time of disruption and uncertainty.  These are the main avenues to follow:

·         Conversations: a continuing program of collective learning, thinking, creation and co-production; by dialogue and deliberation and visualization;

–      Co-productions:   where synergistic methods are developed and tested in projects from around the world.  A major grant application is in progress

·         Communities:  a global inter-connected network (i.e. ‘meshwork’) of like-minded ‘pathway mappers’, in many places, fields and sectors;

·         Platform:  an open online hub for the emerging collective intelligence, with libraries, resources, examples, ideas and contacts;

·         Multi-versities:  as this work develops in particular places or fields, an integrated ‘multi-versity’ may begin to emerge – an intensive cluster / mesh-work / community, where everyone can learn with, by, and from everyone.

Overall the Collaboratorium aims to mobilize the huge potential for turning crisis to opportunity and transformation..

To keep in touch or register an interest in the Collaboratorium and any advance events  – please put your details here, and we will be in touch –