The Cosmopolis 2045 Project is a multi-year project envisioned by the Board of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution and supported in part by grants from the CMM Institute, the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society at Villanova University, and Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. We continue to seek other partners to support the project through grants or other in-kind contributions, as well as partners to engage in research and content for site development.
An imagined communication-centric community
The goal of this project is to create and maintain a virtual depiction of a social community, Cosmopolis, set in the future (circa 2045) in which residents and leaders of the community have adopted a communication-centric view of how their own and other social worlds function. Inspired by the communication perspective and a variety of tools associated with the theory known as the Coordinated Management of Meaning (or CMM), the depiction of the Cosmopolis community will illustrate how everyday communication some 30 years in the future is managed, given both the technological and educational/social advances that we might reasonably expect will emerge and become second nature to citizens.
The project will assume that the citizens of the future will have to deal with social and moral issues just as serious, if not more serious, than those we face today, but that they will have evolved a social ethic of interdependence and an understanding of communication that is highly sophisticated, which engenders a more mindful approach to patterns of interaction that remain largely invisible or insoluble to us today. This understanding, which will be projected as second nature to the citizens of Cosmopolis, will be presented as the result of a multi-decade transformational process in all the major institutions of the city that has reached fruition by the fourth decade of the 21st century.
Our vision for the Cosmopolis 2045 website
At this point in the development of the project, its first iteration will be a website. This website consists of a visual map of a typical town or small city that has been designed to mirror a set of assumptions about communication, including how the physical design of community spaces provides opportunity for citizens to interact in a myriad of formal and informal ways, how its educational institutions prepare citizens for life-long learning and enactment of communication practices that foster democracy-in-action, relational competence, and a host of other interdependent skill sets necessary for effective functioning in the local and global 21st century.
Upon first entering the site, visitors will be engaged in an orienting experience in the form of a visitor’s center with a time tunnel exhibit that walks the visitor from the present decade through a series of plausible events that shaped the evolution of society over the years leading up to 2045. Once visitors have been oriented and begin to explore the community of Cosmopolis, each site on the visual map of Cosmopolis will depict various slices of life and interaction among community members, along with explanations of how interactions are managed more or less effectively (perhaps through comparisons with how similar interactions are managed in our own time). These depictions of communication may be a combination of video clips, animated sequences, or narrated stories, along with interactive exercises that will engage the visitor in unfinished scenarios and provide CMM tools to help the visitor envision how the interaction can be completed in an effective manner.