Joe Ravetz – outline

Joe Ravetz worked on sustainable cities, environmental policy, economic development and complex systems analysis, as Co-Director of the Collaboratory for Urban Resilience at the University of Manchester. From this he developed the Synergistics methods for working with collective intelligence in urban, economic and policy systems. His main publications include  City-Region 2020:    Environment & City: and the new Deeper City – collective intelligence and the pathways from smart to wise. 

He is currently Theme Leader on ‘Future Proof Cities’ for the  Manchester Urban Institute. He has advised policy (UNIDO, UN-Habitat, DG Regio, EU Parliament, BEIS, Defra etc) and is also a Principal of  SAMI Consulting.  He is on the editorial boards of Foresight Journal, International Journal of Sustainable Development, Urban Transformation, Sustainable Mediterranean Construction, and Journal of Planning and Urbanism. Joe’s current projects include global urbanization /  climate risk, community development innovation, new concepts of cities and low carbon development.  With experience as an architect and foresight/road-mapping practitioner, he is  keen advocate of visual thinking, and works as a systems designer and foresight facilitator in many countries.

For full detail see – CV – Joe Ravetz – Feb 2020

Current & recent publications

Ravetz, J, (2020) Deeper City: collective intelligence and the synergistic pathways from smart to wise. NY, Routledge:

Ravetz, J, Mäntysalo, R, Neuvonen, A, (2020) The New Normative: Planning Carbon Neutral Regional Futures. Regional Studies ( (special issue on regional futures).

Ravetz, J, 2020: Pandemic-3.0 – from crisis to transformation – Exploring the COVID-19 Challenge. Journal of Future Studies.

Ravetz, J, (in press). Thinking Deeper, Wider and Further: Visual Experiments in Citizen Science on the Pandemic 3.0. In. Rezai, N, (Ed). Integrated Science Vol III. NY Springer

Ravetz, J. (2020). Global urbanization futures: green and sustainable, or brown and vulnerable. In: Pippin Anderson, Ian Douglas, David Goode, Mike Houck, David Maddox, Harini Nagendra, and Tan Puay Yok (Eds). Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology (Second edition). NY, Routledge

Adrianto D.W. and Ravetz, J. (2020). Indonesia – A bioregional prospect for the Malang peri-urban area: In: Fanfani, D., Mataràn, Ruiz A., Salvati, L., (eds). Bioregional planning and design: European perspectives on a transitional century. Springer

Ravetz, J. and Connelly, A. (2018) Water Governance in Greater Manchester, Manchester, Natural Course.

Ravetz, J, (2017):  Master planning by and for the urban shared mind: towards a ‘neighbourhood 3.0’. In: Husam Al Waer and Barbara Illsley (Eds): Placemaking: Rethinking the master planning process: London, ICE Publishing: pp39-55

Ravetz, J (2017): From ‘smart’ cities to ‘wise’:  pathways for intelligent sustainability. In: Bylund, J, (Ed), Urban Transitions Pathways, Brussels, JPI-Urban Europe, available on –

Duckworth, M, Lye, D, Ravetz, J, Ringland, G. (Eds) (2016).  Strategic Foresight: Towards the 3rd Strategic Programme of Horizon 2020. Brussels, DG Research and Innovation. Available on:

Ravetz, J, & Ravetz, A, (2016). Seeing the wood for the trees: Social Science 3.0 and the role of visual thinking. Innovation: the European Journal of Social Science Research, Vol 30(01):104 – 120.

Ravetz, J, & Miles, I.D, (2016) Foresight in cities: on the possibility of a “strategic urban intelligence”, Foresight, Vol.18(5), pp469-490,   (‘Highly Commended’ paper in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence)

Ravetz, J, (2016):  Sustainable Urban Futures: Contested Transitions and Creative Pathways:  In: Kevin Archer and Kris Bezdecny (Eds), International Handbook of Cities and the Environment: (pp119-159). Cheltenham, Edward Elgar

Ravetz, J (2015): The Future of the Urban Environment & Ecosystem Services in the UK: (Report to the Government Office of Science, Future of Cities programme):  London, Government Office of Science. Available on:


Roberts, P, Ravetz J, George C, (2009) ‘Environment and City: critical perspectives on the urban environment around the world’:  Oxford, Routledge / Taylor & Francis.


Ravetz J, 2000: ‘City-Region 2020:  integrated planning for a sustainable environment’: (with foreword by the UK Secretary of State for the Environment), London, Earthscan with the Town & Country Planning Association






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Joe Ravetz Associates

this is a flexible and creative consultancy resource, operating in tandem with the academic and policy work of Joe Ravetz.  I/we offer a custom-made service to clients / sponsors who are committed to moving forward the state of the art: on foresight and futures studies: sustainability and resilience in urban and economic development and environment/climate issues: and on new directions in organizational change, knowledge management and policy / business model design.  Visual thinking and visual foresight are a speciality, with the new experiments in progress on mind-games .


Some recent initiatives

(2016-2020 in approximate date order)

  • Keynote for the International Smart Cities Summit at the World Artificial Intelligence Congress, Shanghai, 10th July – “CHAI or Collective Human Artificial Intelligence, and the pathways from smart to wise”
  • Expert Group workshop for the European Commission (DG REGIO) on ‘Managing Industrial Transitions in Lagging Regions’, with the JRC-IPTS Seville, July 2020.
  • Cabinet Office (Open Innovation Unit) & National Leadership Centre, panellist for ‘Systems leadership in the public sector’, Bristol, Jan 2020
  • XXI International Conference on STI Foresight & Future studies, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, Dec 2019: Workshop & presentation on ‘cities in the age of disruption’.
  • Synergy-Lab stakeholder meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, convened for the Peri-cene project (peri-urbanization and climate-environment).
  • Expert panel for project ‘UK socioeconomic scenarios for climate research and policy’ for Met Office & UKCR, led by Cambridge Econometrics
  • UoM Industry 4.0 Symposium, keynote on ‘circular economy cities & circular value chains’, March 2020
  • Co-editor for special issue of Regional Studies, on ‘Re-imagining the future: City region foresight and visioning in an era of fragmented governance’.
  • Co-editor for special issue of Urban Transformation, on Beyond Urban Living Labs: The making of transformative urban innovation systems.
  • ‘Post urbanities’ workshop facilitator, at the International Conference on STI Foresight & Future studies, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow, Dec 2019
  • Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority, Chennai, hosted a synergy-foresight workshop on ‘climate risk & coastal urban ecosystems’
  • Operational Research Society Annual Conference – facilitated workshop on ‘deeper challenge, wider practice’ – application of multiple systems methods to the grand challenges of the 21st century.
  • Organized 2 MUI partnership forums on Climax City by David Rudlin (with MSA) & Policy Innovation in Indonesia by Yanuar Nugroho (with MIOIR), October 2019
  • Royal Geographical Society / IBG forum:  ‘Cities of Tomorrow’, Keynote & panellist, October 2019
  • Appointed as Associate Member of the Manchester Institute for Innovation Research
  • Co-convenor of the ‘Local Learning’ panel at AESOP 2019, Venice
  • Expert Advisor to DG REGIO on ‘Managing Industrial Transitions in Declining Regions’ program with the JRC Expert Group, IPTS Seville:
  • Keynote at the XXth International Conference on STI Foresight & Future studies, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow
  • Advisor to the Future of Housing Road-mapping project for DOM (Russian Ministry of Housing Agency)
  • Coordinated the CURE Anglo-French forum on financing sustainable development in the northern UK.
  • Keynote at the EU Joint Research Centre Workshop “Regional Innovation Strategy 3 in Greece: Consolidating Governance and Raising Ambition”, Thessaloniki,
  • Led the workshop on ‘integrated envisions’ at the ‘Beyond Technical’ consortium meeting, Helsinki, (Finland Academy of Science).
  • Led a workshop on the ‘smart settlement’ development program with Homes England, IBI Consulting and East Cheshire District.
  • Universidade Baja California Mexicali, visiting professor, with activities including: public keynote:  2 day ‘Mind-Lab’ with faculty / researchers, development of ‘smart-wise’ collective intelligence for the city-region, with a unique focus on political corruption: 1.5 day ‘Synergy Lab’ with local squatter community of brickmakers, facing eviction and/or poverty, a very practical focus with around 25 stakeholders, exploring pathways & road-mapping for the way forward: Public lectures etc.
  • University of California San Diego – faculty keynote ‘how cities learn and think’
  • University of Naples Federico Secundo, collaborative program: synergistic planning workshop with the Metropolitan Regional Authority of Naples
  • University of Surrey, collaborative partnership with Dept of Computer Science, on participatory systems modelling & network analysis for sustainable natural capital.
  • IPPR workshop panellist: ‘Mayors, industrial strategies and the future of inclusive growth’.
  • Foresight Future of Cities – organized scoping meeting at the Regional Studies Winter Conference London.
  • Belmont Forum London workshop on SUGI (Sustainable Urbanization Global Initiative) Food-Energy-Water Nexus, ‘inspirational introduction’ keynote, June 2018.
  • Helsinki, ‘Beyond the technical’ consortium, facilitator of project workshop on ‘Integrated Envisions, June 2018’
  • Brandenburg Technical University, keynote lecture on ‘cities in evolution or co-evolution’ May 22nd
  • Lisbon, European Trade Union Institute, facilitator of Foresight-III workshop on the future of the EU trade union movement.
  • Malta Energy Institute, MCAST, keynote for European Green Week
  • Qatar Foundation: Energy & Carbon Transitions program: coordinator / facilitator of route-mapping workshop.  Doha, April 2018.
  • Convenor of Greater Manchester Green Summit workshop ‘Towards a Zero-Carbon City-Region’: (for the Mini-Lab project).
  • Facilitator of the ‘Envisioning’ workshop, Helsinki, (for the ‘Beyond Technical’ project for the Finland Academy of Science)
  • Leader of the Smart-Wise Cities research pilot in India (Kolkata and Bhubaneswar), with various seminars and workshops, (funded by EPSRC Smart Cities in the global south program).
  • Qatar International Energy & Carbon Transitions Conference: presentation on ‘Low carbon pathways and the deeper ecological mind’  Doha, Nov 2017.
  • Qatar Green Building Council, seminar on Low Carbon Transitions, Nov 2017
  • University of Paris-Saclay, Examiner for Phd by B.Tran,‘Folksonomies as representations of sustainable development’.
  • University of Naples Federico II Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development, expert advisor on H2020 project, ‘Circular models Leveraging Investments in Cultural heritage adaptive reuse’, Dec 2017
  • Manchester School of Architecture public lecture: ‘peripheral resilience: green-blue post-cities and the deeper ecological mind’.
  • Manchester Leadership Programme lecture – ‘sustainability and beyond’
  • Eversheds Sutherland conference ‘Remaking Manchester – Placemaking and transformation’ – panellist.
  • European Science Foundation: new member of College of Experts, Strasbourg
  • Session leader for the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (UK Study Visit), (June 2017).
  • JPI-Urban Europe conference on urban transformations: session panelist on ‘strategic planning’: May 2017
  • Keynote & facilitator for major policy-research workshop, on Risk & Resilience in the Built Environment: Melbourne April 2017
  • Keynote for seminar – Europe’s City-regions: The Key Drivers For A Future Smart, Sustainable And Inclusive Europe, European Policy Unit, RMIT, Melbourne, May 2017
  • Keynote for Smart Cities & Communities European delegation, Manchester, March 2017
  • Keynote & facilitation at the Ecosystems Services & Poverty Alleviation workshop on urban transformation, London March 2017
  • Keynote at the Indian Institute of Technology Chennai symposium on ‘peri-urbanization prospects and perils’. Jan 2017
  • Keynote at the Inclusive Growth for Smart Development workshop at the Inclusive Growth launch programme, Bradford, March 2017
  • UGEC (Urbanization & Global Environmental Change) research development on Food-Energy-Water Nexus, Invited member of working group, New York, Jan 2017.
  • Audio podcast on ‘cities from smart to wise’-
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Senior Experts Dialogue on “African Cities As Innovation Hubs For Africa’s Transformation”, Johannesburg, (Keynote speaker), Nov 2016
  • JPI-Urban Europe, Urban Transformations workshop, (panellist), Oct 2016
  • Akademie for Raumforchung und Landesplannung conference, Munster, Germany: ‘Space in Crisis – The Future of Small & Medium-Sized Cities’, (Keynote ), Dec. 2016
  • ICCR Foundation (International Institute for Social Science Research), Vienna, workshop on ‘The future of the social sciences’ (Panellist), Nov 2016
  • N8 Northern Summit, ‘Northern Futures – Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Prosperity’, (Panellist & Manchester host), Nov 2016
  • People’s Plan for Greater Manchester, Alternative Economic Development, (panellist), Nov 2016
  • University College London workshop on ‘Rural-urban development, an international perspective’(Presentation), October 2016.
  • Academy of Science Finland, workshop on ‘Redefine: beyond MALPE coordination to integrative envisioning’, (Keynote). Aug 2016.
  • Aalto University School of Engineering, Masters on Transport & Landuse Planning, (Academic Advisor), Oct 2016.
  • Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, workshop on ‘Sketching the Social World’. (Keynote on visual thinking), July 2016
  • MBS International Course on Foresight, (Guest Lecturer), July 2016.
  • Keynote lecture for Global Sustainable Development Symposium: Granada, Spain, June 2016
  • Guest lecture for York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, June 2016
  • RCUK-India Urban Transformations programme, presentation at bilateral workshop in Jaipur, India, March 2016.
  • Keynote at the Ayojan School of Architecture & Planning, Jaipur, India: ‘From smart cities to wise cities: learning and thinking for an urban shared mind’.
  • Keynote / seminar at University Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia: ‘technology foresight for the new economic world’
  • RCUK ‘Urban Living Pilot’: Coordinator of multi-university consortium proposal (UoM, MMU, Salford), in collaboration with AGMA, NE, TFGM, NHS, GMP, etc (not selected).
  • Presentation at ‘Unleashing Urban Innovation’ workshop, Manchester. March 2016.
  • Seminar series as Visiting Professor at Naples Institute for Advanced Studies, University Federico Secundo, April 2016.
  • Foresight study completed on Horizon 2020 Third Strategic Programme, for EC DG Research & Innovation: (co-convenor with SAMI consulting).
  • UK Defra Horizon Scanning project completed, as Coordinator of Expert Review Panel.
  • Speaker for the UK Foresight on Future of Cities: Visions meeting, Sept 2015.
  • Keynote at Dundee School of Architecture & Planning on ‘Thinking cities and climate change action’, Sept 2015.
  • national program for sustainable urban development: capacity building program in Helsinki for the Finnish Environment Agency –
  • Commissioned on ‘the Future of Urban Ecosystems’ for the UK Foresight Future Cities project:
  • Member of the winning team of the world’s 2nd largest economics prize (!!)
  • Presentation to RCUK conference on Transport Futures, Imperial College Business School: ‘Social transport intelligence: self-organizing value chains for smarter cities & citizens’: for the Research Councils UK Sustainable Society Network+ (SSN+) and the New Economic Models in the Digital Economy network (NEMODE)
  • Keynote presentation, with interactive visual techniques, to art-science-policy conference on ‘Facing Extinction’: at University of Creative Arts, Farnham:
  • the Sustainable Consumption Institute’s first relaunched Seminar is with Joe Ravetz, entitled – “Low-carbon synergy and social intelligence – the internal logic of a transition pathway?”:
  • Organized international workshop at the World Urban Forum 2014, Colombia, on the ‘Cities Prosperity Index’ (CPI),

Back story

In the creative ferment of the 1960-70s, new directions pointed to beyond the materialist capitalist / socialist debate. I promoted the ‘deschooling’ agenda in Leeds along with experiments in cooperative economies. I took a year out to travel around Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, which included living in a cave in the Karnataka desert with a community of sannyasis (spiritual seekers). I returned to London and the creative ferment of the NW1 squatter community, which even 45 years later, is an inspiration for urban thinkers – Bartlett 100 & Tolmers Square

Following a move to the north and 5 years of building and specialist carpentry, i returned to architeture training at UCL, and then Manchester. I became active in community architecture, self-building, social enterprise, and many innovations which later came under the banner of ‘sustainability’.  With the Royal Institute of British Architects I created a ‘Community Development Charter’ for synergy in urban and rural planning. For the Rowntree Foundation I set out a model for new ecological settlements in the UK.  These led to the setting up of a major policy-research program with the NGO, the Town & Country Planning Association, to explore strategies for a ‘sustainable city-region’, aiming to put the Rio Summit and Local Agenda 21 principles into action.  ‘City-Region 2020’ was produced from this as the ‘world’s largest feasibility study’, with a detailed investigation of sustainability strategy in a large conurbation – exploring the inter-connections between sectors and socio-technical systems, with new thinking on alternative economic and political systems….

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