Living in 2050: Insights from four scenarios for Europe's future citizens

Resource / Living in 2050: Insights from four scenarios for Europe's future citizens

By Futures Centre / 31 Jan 2017
EU Innovate

Forum for the Future has developed a series of scenarios for the year 2050, depicting what sustainable lifestyles might look like and the different ways in which we might get there. These build on the SPREAD 2050 research project, and are part of a three-year research project called EU Innovate, which asks what it will take to unlock a Europe-wide surge of innovation for sustainability, beginning with people and communities.

We have looked into these four scenarios for 2050 to understand how we might cut the impact of lifestyles across Europe by 80%, asking what we might learn from the broad characteristics of Europe and the role of the citzen in each one. 

The four scenarios are: 

  • Singular Super Champions
  • Governing the Commons
  • Local Loops
  • Empathetic Communities


Here, we summarise some insights from each scenario, exploring differences in lifestyles, the economy, society, governance, identity and drivers of change in each of these worlds.  

Singular Super Champions - A globally oriented Europe with top-down governance

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Governing the Commons - A globally oriented Europe with bottom-up governance

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Local Loops - A locally oriented Europe with top-down governance

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Empathetic Communities - A locally oriented Europe with bottom-up governance

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What else do you think might be happening in each scenario?

This month in our Citizen Innovation explorer we discuss how citizens are creating change, how we can rethink governance, what role citizens can play for a world where life can sustain itself, and what it will take to unlock a paradigm shift. This article is a series of pieces about the role of citizens in bringing the future forward, which will be published here. If you’d like to hear more, please get in touch with Corina ( and Louise ( Together let’s make this a revolution. // #citizeninnovation

SPREAD Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 was a project funded by the European Commission, and the corresponding scenarios have been developed by Demos Helsinki ( For more information on the original scenarios, follow this link.

EU-InnovatE is a ground-breaking initiative funded by the European Commission aiming to accelerate the shift towards to a sustainable future.

What might the implications of this be? What related resources have you seen?

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