1st Edition

Retopia: Creating New Spaces of Possibility

By Dirk Hoyer Copyright 2023

    Retopia tells the story of social innovation in times of crisis, and through its cross-disciplinary narrative it goes beyond existing forms of future anticipation and maps out a practice-based approach to the creation of new realities. It explores how new imaginaries, social experiments, and laboratories of societies can create spaces of possibilities, revalidate the peripheries, and create new forms of social coherence.

    The peripheral regions in Europe are facing a crisis triangle: depopulation, the rise of the ‘useless’ class, and outdated social welfare systems. It is a crisis of political imaginaries and a lack of inspiring political stories. In response to this, the book specifically focuses on the concept of ‘retopia’, the idea of creating inclusive spaces of social innovation that encourage active participation. Through the creation of relocalized societies with a high degree of autonomy in ‘leftover’ spaces, such as Sicily, Western Latvia, or Northern Bulgaria, retopian redevelopment schemes offer new perspectives on ‘ruined spaces’. Retopia uncovers the common links and limitations of utopian studies, future studies, degrowth, narratology, the commons, and political geography.

    Retopia: Creating New Spaces of Possibility is an articulation of the potentialities of social innovation, political imaginaries, and future images, provoking a stimulating discussion among scholars and students in the fields of Politics and Future and Anticipation Studies.


    1. Political Agency in the Age of Downsized Expectations

    2. Retelling the Story

    3. The New Commons

    4. The Nowherelands: From Outopia to Eutopia

    5. Retopia as an Innovation System

    6. The Practice of Possibility

    Epilogue: Stories from an Open Future


    Dirk Hoyer is Associate Professor at Tallinn University, Estonia. He has published numerous articles and a book on political imaginaries and retopia. Hoyer is also a writer, filmmaker, and script consultant.