We will be here – Map of the future -

What challenges are we going to face in the next 10 years? And what kind of ideas are going to help us in overcoming them?
Even though predicting the future is not a game, a game is exactly what the Institute for the Future used to answer these dilemmas: 8 October 2008, Jane McGonigal, reasearcher at IFTF launched Superstruct (Su` per`struct ‘vt 1.To build over or upon another structure; to erect upon a foundation) , a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) that outlined the world of the future, thanks to the ideas and the collaboration of hundreds of users.

After six weeks the game came to its conclusion: Hundreds of ideas, superstructures for our future, guidelines to redefine the world of today and to improve and prepare it for the challenges of the next decade: From big new infrastructure projects to nanotechnology, from overcoming economies of scale to projects of “vertical farming”.

The final report of this first stage of the game was used for the design of our map: The editor in chief of Wired Italia, Riccardo Luna, asked us to visualize the complex net of ideas and assumptions that game’s users produced.

The goal of the project is to engage a broad public in considering the dilemmas we face in our current, everyday lives and think together about resolutions that go beyond the familiar ways of dealing with problems”

Jane Mc Gonigal, Superstruct game designer

The research for alternative solutions – hence going beyond the more familiar approaches – also requires an alternative visualization.

A map for the future

We began analyzing the keywords provided by IFTF, at the base of which there are 7 key ideas: they are the guiding strategies for the creation of each new “superstructure”, and like satellites they revolve around our future world. They are:

Amplified optimism
Scale extreme
Adaptive emotion
Simulation as game
Collaboration environment
Reverse shortage

Under these, the verbal level, connecting words and concepts that make up the network of superstructures, divided into 5 macrocategories – policy, infrastructure, environment, economy and society- which in turn can operate in three areas:

Networks and individuals
Tools and knowledge
Practices and projects

The map is designed to overlap a semantic level (the network of keywords and groups of ideas) to the allegorical plan of the illustration. Each concept presented in the first level has been reconstructed through an illustration in the second one: the result is a collage drawing influences from the imaginary of the fifties. In this way mapping the future becomes an illustrated game where retro-futuristic imagery references are linked with words and concepts that foresee our future.


From left to right are presented the macro-categories formed by the supersturctures, from the most abstract, like policy and infrastructure, to those which concern more closely in the everyday lives, like economy and society. Amid the environment as a meeting point between abstract and current, with new ideas about global geoengineering and translocalism.

Even for the composition of the collage we want to keep the same sense of reading to level the narration of the world to come: indeed on the left the illustration starts with the abstraction of the map, then move gradually through info-graphics and illustration until reaching collage and photo on the right.

The map, thanks to the layer of allegorical illustrations, not only wants to disseminate the ideas generated during the project ‘Superstruct’ but also provide a starting point, a common imaginary, to start discussion and analysis on the world to come.

In this spirit, the meeting in Rome “A map for the next ten years,” within the cycle of meetings CapitaleDigitale organized by Wired, founding Rome Europe and Telecom Italy, has fully exploited the possibilities of this tool engaging in an interesting discussion on future developments of technology.

Involved in this project:
Creative Direction, Donato Ricci; Concept development, Gaia Scagnetti; Visualizer, Mario Porpora; Artist, Michele Graffieti; Designer, Luca Masud.

High res version ‘We will be here’
High res sketch ‘We will be here’


  1. 1. Density Design per Wired Italia » Poliving Says:

    [...] mappa (versione HQ / bozza) è stata realizzata da Density Design, nello specifico [...]

  2. 2. The Superstruct Game from The Institute for the Future — Blog of Ronnestam Says:

    [...] nerd hurdle, then at least have a look at the wonderful visualization of this future world made by Density Design. Creative Director Donato Ricci, Concept developer Gaia Scagnetti, Visualizer Mario Porpora, Artist [...]

  3. 3. Interesting mapping exercise: We will be there - Map of the Future at Ann Laenen Says:

    [...] drawn by densitydesign.org, ordered by WIRED Magazine [...]

  4. 4. Un’occhiata al nostro futuro « Il blog di Synistema Says:

    [...] Novembre 2009 Mi sono imbattuto in questo magnifico articolo. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; [...]

  5. 5. It’s a map… of the future. « Ian Clazie Says:

    [...] Learn more: http://www.densitydesign.org/2009/10/02/we-will-be-here-map-of-the-future/ [...]

  6. 6. It’s a map… of the future. « Amnesia Blog Says:

    [...] Learn more: http://www.densitydesign.org/2009/10/02/we-will-be-here-map-of-the-future/ [...]

  7. 7. We will be here – Map of the future « CAMASCHI Says:

    [...] desenho pela Density Design para a Wired italiana, o gráfico mostra os cenários imaginados pelo Institute for the Future, com [...]

  8. 8. World of the Future Map Says:

    [...] entry by Density Design, the map in several parts Behance.net and in high res at Flickr (6k pixel wide!). The original [...]

  9. 9. * antenna-flog » Blog Archive » Map Of the Future Says:

    [...] densitydesign.org [...]

  10. 10. Map of the future « Fountain Pens and Handmade Paper Says:

    [...] Flickr High res version ‘We will be here’ High res sketch ‘We will be here’ via densitydesign.org [...]

  11. 11. map of the future « murdelta Says:

    [...] map of the future gebastelt. wie das alles genau von statten gegangen ist, koennt ihr bei interesse hier nochmal nachlesen. mir gehts jetzt eher um das visuelle, was sehr schick geworden [...]

  12. 12. Donato Ricci Says:

    [...] Creatively combined with an exquisite concoction of allegorical illustrations, the resulting Map of the Future provides a common visualisation on which to base discussions and analysis of what may lie ahead. The map has already been put to use at the Capitale Digitale collaborative sessions held by Wired & Telecom Italia. Hard to imagine going back to a paltry powerpoint pie-chart after being served up this flavorsome infographic feast.[...]


  13. 13. Así estará configurada la realidad: El Mapa del Futuro | Pijamasurf Says:

    [...] Vía Density Design [...]

  14. 14. [link] We will be here – Map of the future - Says:

    [...] Lees meer hierover op de website van Density Design > [...]

  15. 15. A informação hodierna Says:

    [...] o que é ciência, educação, arte, política, identidade, classe, gênero e, mesmo a vida, está mudando.  As máquinas cada vez mais orgânicas e os organismos cada vez mais sintéticos não nos deixam [...]

  16. 16. We will be here – Map of the future // Density Design « Visualizing Data Says:

    [...] http://www.densitydesign.org/2009/10/02/we-will-be-here-map-of-the-future/ [...]

  17. 17. El mapa del futuro | fusildechispas.com blog costa rica Says:

    [...] que surgió como un laboratorio para estudiantes de maestría del Politecnico di Milano. En su blog explican detalladamente el proceso de desarrollo del Mapa del futuro, y en su Flickr se pueden ver algunos de los bocetos [...]

  18. 18. Color Happy 69 | design work life Says:

    [...] info­graphic. If you’re inter­ested in the back­ground of this project, be sure to check out this in depth arti­cle by Density Design. And you can also get a closer look at the detail by check­ing out the larger [...]

  19. 19. O mapa do futuro | Alexandre Matias Says:

    [...] e o melhor exemplo disso é o infográfico acima. Bolado pelo estúdio de Milão Density Design a partir de uma matéria feita pela revista Wired italiana, a imagem interrelaciona conceitos que 700 cientistas e [...]

  20. 20. Misc: The World in 10 Years Infographic Infographic - Information Graphic Designs at Style & Flow Says:

    [...] Credit: Density Design [...]

  21. 21. We will be here – Map of the future : Futuroscopio Says:

    [...] http://www.densitydesign.org/2009/10/02/we-will-be-here-map-of-the-future/ // Category: UncategorizedTags: density design > future > iftf > map > milano > superstruct > [...]

  22. 22. incoremedia Says:

    Привет. Странаня ситуация, пытаюсь зайти на блог, меня постоянно выкидывает. Сейчас зашел через прокси и все нормально. Можно попросить разблокировать ип адрес
    Так уже с недели две не могу попасть со своего ип в блог.

  23. 23. Future map world - Map wide - Map world Says:

    [...] Density Design | We will be here – Map of the future – 2 Oct 2009. World of the Future Map Says: [...] entry by Density Design, the map in several parts Behance.net and in high res at Flickr (6k pixel wide! Density Design | We will be here – Map of the future – [...]

  24. 24. study abroad scholarships Says:

    Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

  25. 25. Janis Says:

    Great blog it’s not often that I comment but I felt you deserve it.

  26. 26. Map Of The Future | information visualized Says:

    [...] Authors: http://www.densitydesign.org Creative Direction: Donato Ricci, Concept development: Gaia Scagnetti, Visualizer: Mario Porpora, Artist: Michele Graffieti, Designer: Luca Masud Bewerten:Teilen: Veröffentlicht in all, serious | Getaggt mit Collection, future, infographic, information design, map, politics [...]

  27. 27. We Will Be There – Map of the Future (Density Design for WIRED Italy) – Visual Conversations on Urban Futures Says:

    [...] Mario Porpora, 2009. “We will be here – Map of the future”. Density Design Website. http://www.densitydesign.org/2009/10/we-will-be-here-map-of-the-future/ [...]

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