Explore the future of city living with these 5 free live-streams

Watch these discussions on everything from NFT art and augmented reality to the future of tourism and city life

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
Photo: Innovative City Forum 2020

Established in 2013, the Innovative City Forum is an international conference to discuss the future of cities, focusing on how we’ll be living 20 years from now. This year’s event took place between November 22 and 25.

During the four-day event, forty people from around the world discussed the possibilities they each envisage for the future. ‘Contemplating a new future, now’ was this year’s theme, and the event looked at cities and society after the pandemic, as well as the effect of Covid-19 on culture, art and tourism.

The full programme was simultaneously interpreted in English and Japanese, and is now available to watch online for free via the ICF YouTube account.

Time Out Tokyo is a media partner of the Innovative City Forum 2021, so we’ve picked five sessions from this year’s programme that you won’t want to miss.

1. Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) x ICF2021

Special Session: Diversity and inclusion – paving the way for the future of Japan

What: A discussion on diversity and inclusion from a global perspective with three graduates of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). The university has built a multicultural and multilingual learning environment and has welcomed thousands of students from over 160 countries and regions around the world.


  • Facilitator: Lailani L. Alcantara, Dean of the College of International Management at APU.
  • Miho Izumi, chief manager of the Global Partners Consulting Group, Singapore.
  • Shohruhbek Ibragimov, sales and marketing specialist at Yanmar Energy System, Tokyo.
  • Shira Damia Putrinda, programme manager at Enpact, Germany.

2. Time Out Tokyo x ICF2021

Special Session: Requirements for a New Age of Tourism – weaving happiness, folklore studies, and technology into destination stories

What: Before 2020, tourism in Japan was booming to major destinations and tourist spots that were designed for the consumption of visitors. But now, travellers are more interested in visiting places where locals cherish their region’s culture and history. Taking this new trend into consideration, this discussion is all about how regions can co-exist with increased tourism after the pandemic.


  • Facilitator: Arina Tsukada, editor and curator.
  • Takashi Kunitomo, TV producer and representative director of Asovision
  • Gaku Tomikawa, director of the Tono City Tourism Association. 
  • Yuko Inamasu, representative director of bespoke tour company Toki.
  • Hiroyuki Fushitani, representative director of Time Out Tokyo and Original Inc.

3. Keynote Address

What: Based on a large amount of data, this 30-minute lecture by this year’s keynote speaker, Emmanuel Todd, will give you a broader perspective on our future. It's followed by a short conversation between Todd and the senior advisor to the Mori Art Museum.


  • Emmanuel Todd, French historical demographer and family anthropologist. 
  • Fumio Nanjo, senior adviser to the Mori Art Museum.

4. Visions of Trust – new relationships among art, markets and empathy

What: This session discusses the nature of mutual understanding and empathy as a source of trust in virtual reality art forms such as multimedia art, digital art and NFT (non-fungible token) art, which have become more popular lately. Speakers also talk about new standards of value based on how the fundamental concepts of trust and credit will change in the future.


5. Visions of Tourism – the new relationship between the value of experience and consumption

What: Virtual reality and augmented reality technology connect virtual objects with the real world, instantly transforming one space into something else. At the same time, the recent shift towards social distancing, remote work and workations changed the way we interact with the world and the relationship between labour and leisure. This session looks at how these different dynamics can create new forms of tourism.


  • Facilitator: Arina Tsukada, editor and curator.
  • Ellie Omiya, writer and artist.
  • Takayuki Kubo, professor and associate dean of the College of Asia Pacific Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.
  • Naotaka Fujii, CEO of Hacosco Inc; distinguished professor at the Digital Hollywood University Graduate School.

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