1st Edition

Foresight and Design Composing Future Places

By Mark C. Childs Copyright 2023
    234 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Every plan, pro-forma, design, building contract, and construction schedule is a proposal about future places. To help improve such proposals, Foresight and Design: Composing Future Places presents conceptual tools to inform design and outline the need for designers to rigorously think about potential futures.

    Our built compositions are constantly transforming due to continuing urbanization, demographic shifts, climate change, the evolution of virtual worlds, economic and health disparities, and other unforeseen trends. If we envision and plan for alternative futures, we are better able to purposefully respond. This book presents emerging practices of foresight, including signals of change, thick descriptions, pace layers, (re)framing, prototyping, scenarios, maps of change, storytelling, and world-building, to indicate how robust contemplation of multiple potential futures can help us compose places that are durable, resilient, and adaptable. Five brief case studies interspersed between the chapters serve as examples of practitioners exercising foresight through these practices. Contributions include a description of a regional design process in Afghanistan by Anthony Fettes of Sasaki Architects, and an exploration into the Indigenous Futurism model-making competition by Anjelica Gallegos.

    Written for architects, designers, planners, developers, city councilmembers, and engineers, this book encourages all composers of the built environment to envision alternative futures and purposefully respond.

    1. Composing Futures

    2. Grounding

    3. Framing

      Case Study 1: The Enduring and the Ephemeral, Kathy Kambic

    4. Drivers of Change, Continuity, and Coherence

      Case Study 2: The McKinley Futures Studio, James M. Suehiro

    5. Layers of Change

      Case Study 3: Public Markets: Timeless Civic Form as Timely 21st Century Social Infrastructure, Alexis ┼×anal

    6. Composing Scenarios

      Case Study 4: Planning for Uncertainty in Afghanistan, Anthony Fettes

    7. Rehearsals

      Case Study 5: Pathways of Indigenous Futurism, Anjelica S. Gallegos

    8. Maps of Change

    9. Pluripotency

    10. Fictions of Place

    11. World-Building

    12. Stewardship of Place


    Mark C. Childs is the author of poems, academic and general audience articles, and award-winning urban design books. He was a senior Fulbright scholar in Cyprus in 2005. Mark recently retired from serving as professor and interim dean of architecture and planning at the University of New Mexico. He now lectures and consults.