Discover more from The Enthusiast by Brad Montague
Creating the future
A project for us to work on together!
A few years back we asked fourth graders to design a playground.
The students immediately knew what to do. They scribbled drawings of elaborate swingsets and swooshing slides. We had crayon-sketched blueprints packed with ideas in just a few minutes. Collectively, these kids had created plans for a play area no human could resist.
Did they know anything about engineering or proper building codes? No.
Did they know a good playground when they saw one? You bet.
One thing they definitely didn’t know: We were going to secretly work to bring their playground to life.
Over a weekend, people from the community came together and built a playground dreamed up by kids. It took a lot of effort. It took a lot of people. The surprised look on those kids' faces when they saw it, though? Worth it.
It remains one of my all-time favorite projects. (I’ll link to the video of it at the bottom.) Given the chance to do it all over again, though, there is something I would do a little differently. Yes, it was priceless getting to surprise them. I do wish, though, that we could have built more of it with them.
"Want to help me design a city?"
This is the question I’ve been asking students recently. Conversations in classrooms after my book The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination have led to some really big places. It’s been all ages, too. Whether pre-school, university-age, or beyond, everyone loves an invitation to dream. "Can we imagine a city of the future where everybody has everything they need and everything is amazing?" Eyes and imaginations light up.
We’ve been calling this project ULTRA CITY. (My kids named it.) You're invited to help us. I really really need your help with this. I need EVERYONE’s help with this.
A team of educators worked with my wife and I to create this free activity guide. It’s yours. Use it. Spread it. Go. Go. Go! People have already been putting it to work. We want you to team up with the young people in your life and imagine a better world.
Peter Drucker said, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." Well, what if we all teamed up to create a better future together, today?
We’re writing the future daily. This is no time for writer’s block.
We can’t let our imagination get too cloudy. We definitely can’t let the next generation’s imagination get too cloudy. We need to help each other remember the good that is possible. It is time for creativity, compassion, and collaboration. Better is possible. The future is possible. Let’s write (and build it) it. Together.
Thanks for being here! Before you go, a few things:
The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination is available anywhere books are sold! Your support of the book helps support all our work. You can also get the free resources (including the Ultra City activity) here.
‘We let kids design our city — here’s what happened’. Mara Mintzer from Growing Up Boulder delivered this wonderful talk. Let it inspire you! One of my favorite lines: “A city friendly to children is a city friendly to all.” Yes!
p.s. The video of the playground creation can be seen here.