Place-Based Scenario Planning

The climate crisis is, in part, a communication crisis. How can we communicate the choices that communities will need to make to adapt to climate change with limited resources? How can we build awareness of how the climate is already changing while designing just adaptation strategies for the near future? How can we visualize climate impacts at a scale and resolution that is accessible to designers, policy makers, and the general public? This design research seminar will explore these questions through the methodology of place-based scenario planning.

Place-based scenario planning is a form of long-term strategic planning specific to the design disciplines. This method is used to create representations of plausible climate impacts to inform decision-makers in the present. Place-based scenario planning uses local communities as a starting point to understand climate adaptation through infrastructures, buildings, landscapes, and cultural institutions that are easily identified and familiar to people living in a place. Scenario planning is especially useful in regards to climate change, which has many different stakeholders and a high degree of uncertainty.

The course is divided into three phases: climate visualization, scenario development, and adaptation planning. The seminar will explore this method on three sites in Massachusetts that focus on issues of resettlement and flooding. Students will leave the course with a method that can be deployed on other sites and challenges.

This seminar is open to students from all disciplines with proficiency in ArcGIS, Rhino, and Adobe Suite.