Don’t be Nicki

The Future of Urban Resilience

Date : March 2015
Location : London, UK
Client : ARUP Foresight
Collaborators :
Danial Mifsud / Furniture Design
Julia Mariani / Graphic Design
Tom Butler / Writing and Digital Marketing
Yaqi Zhang / Digital Entertainment


Our understanding of climate change is improving, and with that our need to act is also growing. The consequences of climate change will be widespread, ranging from drastic changes in resource availability to occurrences of localised extreme weather. With urbanisation continuing at a rapid rate, cities will play a key role in the way we react to climate change. The challenge is to design and construct urban systems that can face the challenge both today and in the future.

This project was a collaborative knowledge exchange between MA Narrative Environments and Arup Foresight+Research+Innovation, which specialise in identifying and analysing trends shaping the future of the built environment.

In this project you will explore future community responses to four climate-change-related environmental events. Taking a centralised proactive perspective, our team created the scenario imagines how a future government would engage and prepare communities in advance of a major storm in Kings Cross, London. We then question how a young adult, persona Nicki, choosing to operate outside centrally-organised society, might be at risk.


Foresight of King’s Cross 2025

It is 2025 and climate change has led to an increase in the frequency and severity of storms. Local population growth and demographic change have created a society with a strong desire for community and meaningful experiences. However, a small minority has developed an ingrained resistance to participation and rejects mainstream society.



Persona : Nicki (a main character of our narrative)


Nicki, a 19 year-old girl living in council housing in King’s Cross, near St Pancras Gardens. She is self-reliant and a seasoned hacker. Far from being an active member of the community, Nicki’s peer group is online and dispersed.

Nicki doesn’t care about green issues. She ignores and deliberately avoids the government influence and interference, operating more at the peer-to-peer level.
She has multiple, low-paid jobs and she struggles to make ends meet. As such, she is often in transit relying on her hacked Oyster cards and hacked Boris bikes.


Identified Nicki’s way and the locations in Kings Cross area



The top-down preparations led by governments to approach Nicki 



The Day of the Storm : Our final future scenario 
Our drama takes on the 15 October 2025, the ‘Day of the Storm’, as predicted by a Met Office supercomputer. Here, the actions of the government clash head on with Nicki’s determined autonomy.

The government’s perspective takes the form of a public awareness film where Nicki is used as an example of how not to behave in extreme weather. Nicki, however, has hacked this film. Her coda offers a totally different version of events, one that questions both the effectiveness of the government’s actions and ultimately where resilience really lies.

>>> Click to discover the Nicki’s story