Societal and technological transformation in the face of climate change will be won or lost in our cities and urban communities. This is notjust because of the global urban demographic shift with more than 50 percent of the population now living in urban conditions, or because cities contribute around 70 to 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but it is as much to do with the growing economic and political importance of cities.

This article is part of a regular section in Solutions in which the authors are challenged to envision a future society in which all the right changes have been made. The authors introduced the project VP2040 which was established in 2013. It focuses on Australian cities (including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth), envisioning possibilities for those cities if they have achieved an 80 percent reduction in their contribution to greenhouse gases, along with greatly enhanced resilience by 2040. In this project, citizen engagement and ‘dreaming’ about the future is a central element complementing research, scenario formation, and analysis of pathways for innovation.

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