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Scenarios are a tool to develop plausible, coherent visions about the future and to foster anticipatory knowledge. We present the Sustainable Future Scenarios (SFS) framework and demonstrate its application through the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) urban site. The SFS approach emphasizes the co-development of positive and long-term alternative future visions. Through a collaboration of practitioner and academic stakeholders, this research integrates participatory scenario development, modeling, and qualitative scenario assessments. The SFS engagement process creates space to question the limits of what is normally considered possible, desirable, or inevitable in the face of future challenges. Comparative analyses among the future scenarios demonstrate trade-offs among regional and microscale temperature, water use, land-use change, and co-developed resilience and sustainability indices. SFS incorporate diverse perspectives in co-producing positive future visions, thereby expanding traditional future projections. The iterative, interactive process also creates opportunities to bridge science and policy by building anticipatory and systems-based decision-making and research capacity for long-term sustainability planning.


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Iwaniec, David M., Elizabeth M. Cook, Melissa J. Davidson, Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Matei Georgescu, E. Scott Krayenhoff, Ariane Middel, David A. Sampson, and Nancy B. Grimm. 2020. “The Co-Production of Sustainable Future Scenarios.” Landscape and Urban Planning 197 (May): 103744.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.