Clear Visions, Muddy Waters: What Will European Cities Look Like in 2030 and Beyond?
Recentyears have shown the limitations of econometric forecasting that most property funds and their advisers have become accustomed to using. Foresight scenario techniques, on the other hand, provide us with a different way to understand the future. Every day, we are faced with uncertainties ranging from pandemics — will swine flu or something worse sweep the world? — to climate change — will extraordinary weather events flood our homes or underground railways? — or financial meltdown — will a recession eventually lead to a financial depression?
The Built Environment Foresight 2030 project started in 2007 and resulted in a report published earlier this year titled Built Environment Foresight 2030: the Sustainable Development Imperative. Since its inception, there have been workshops in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Chicago. Very different scenarios have emerged out of these. The key questions we asked were, firstly: