Design scenarios in preferable futures are to be distinguished from (a) the present, today (e.g., what we know, where we are now) or a linear extension of the present; (b) the probable is where most designers operate and it is how the world will be without disasters and upheaval. In other words, the likely world without financial crashes, eco-disasters, or war. (c) the plausible is the realm of scenario planning and foresight. Examples, include the Royal Dutch Shell alternative scenarios. Which were useful to see if Shell would be able to survive a number of large scale global, economic, or political shifts. (d) the possible is within the realm of possibilities. It follows laws of nature and current science supports it. All other changes- political, social, economic, and cultural are possible. There is a credible path from today to the possible world. All else is fantasy and of little interest even though it might make a good science fiction story. The preferable is the world we would like. It intersects the probable and the plausible. There are likely many stakeholders. Preferable for whom? Government? The top 1%, the 99%, bottom 25%, first world countries? 3rd world countries?

The Sustainable Lifestyle Scenarios assignment focuses on: exploring scenarios for sustainable lifestyles in Pittsburgh 2054. There is a raging debate in urban planning circles on the redesign of urban centers and suburbs. According to global projections for 2054, population is set to increase by forty percent. Students will explore sustainable lifestyle design opportunities in redesigned urban centers and the suburbs.

  • use long-range strategic scenarios to understand the forces that create change that shapes the design of material culture, communication environments, services, lifestyles, social interactions, and community.
  • create design scenarios for sustainable lifestyles (e.g., home, work, learning, health, community, mobility, play).
  • learn to rise to the challenges that threaten our collective future and seize the opportunities that turbulent change affords.

Before you go any further in the assignment, make sure to watch Jamais Cascio – Bad Futurism (21 minutes)

“Sometimes the best way to figure out how to do something right is to explore all of the ways to do it wrong. In this talk I explore ten ways to create truly awful future scenarios, and then explain why they’re bad — and how to get it right. From “one change at a time” to scenarios as morality plays. The various ways in which foresight can go awry are often tempting shortcuts for writing about the ideas of future-building, but are ultimately traps for the unwary futurist.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYb9mZh90r4

Step 1 (Assigned Nov 10) – Determine if you are interested in exploring preferable future situated in either an urban location or a suburban area. Be specific about the city/region you propose to study. Identify a zipcode you want to work within. https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action

Look up global forces for that area here: http://reports.weforum.org/outlook-global-agenda-2015/

Step 2 (Assigned Nov 12) – What are the economics of the region you are studying. What is the current economic reality? For whom (top 1%, 50% percentile, bottom 25%?). Pull some descriptive statistics from http://zipatlas.com/ to describe the current situation (average/median income, # of inhabitants, surface area, etc). Speculate on how the city/region/zip code you are studying will be in 2054 (e.g., population up/down?, income up/down?, etc).

Step 3 (Assigned Nov 17) – Focus in on the quality of life for a particular type of person (e.g., top 1%, 50% percentile, bottom 25%, etc). Focus in on a day in the life for that demographic. What forces currently make the present (2014) desirable/undesirable for the demographic you chose? What forces in 2054 make futures desirable/undesirable for the demographic you chose? Focus on the living experience in urban or suburban settings.

Step 4 (Assigned Nov 19) – Prepare a storyboard and letter from the future to illustrate a poignant aspect of the daily life experience of your chose demographic.

Step 5  (Assigned Nov 24) – Prepare final presentation

Step 6 Final Presentation and reflections due Monday December 1 & Wednesday December 3.

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