Positive Futures

David M. Iwaniec, Georgia State University
Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Arizona State University
Elizabeth Cook, Barnard College
Nancy B. Grimm, Arizona State University
Lelani Mannetti, Georgia State University
Timon McPhearson, The New School
Tischa A. Muñoz-Erickson, USDA Forest Service

Originally published in:

Iwaniec D.M. et al. (2021) Positive Futures. In: Hamstead Z.A., Iwaniec D.M., McPhearson T., Berbés-Blázquez M., Cook E.M., Muñoz-Erickson T.A. (eds) Resilient Urban Futures. The Urban Book Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63131-4_6.


We describe the rationale and framework for developing scenarios of positive urban futures. The scenario framework is conducted in participatory workshop settings and composed of three distinct scenario approaches that are used to (1) explore potential outcomes of existing planning goals (strategic scenarios), (2) articulate visions that address pressing resilience challenges (adaptive scenarios), and (3) envision radical departures from the status quo in the pursuit of sustainability and equity (transformative scenarios). A series of creative and analytical processes are used to engage the community in imagining, articulating, and scrutinizing visions and pathways of positive futures. The approach offers an alternative and complement to traditional forecasting techniques by applying inspirational stories to resilience research and practice.