Using a semi-structured futuring framework to help local communities visualize more equitable and inclusive futures and inform big proposals
Dear inhabitant of the white-supremacist, colonial, racist, and patriarchal world,
why do we need to envision a habitable future?
We have all envisioned futures in our minds. The images of the imaginary future inform the decisions we make and how we act. But as for the world that we're living, only a small number of people are given the power and privilege to foresee and determine our future. To name a few, futurists, strategists and designers of speculative future.
They work in institutions, companies, and governments, using a handful of normalized frameworks to identify and analyze emerging trends, issues, and scenarios, and then develop strategies accordingly. The approach is similar to asking "What is happening in the world? What could happen in the future? What does the future look like? And what should we do?"
However, these frameworks are drawing signals, insights, and conclusions within the dominant paradigm that is capitalist, patriarchal, and western-centric. Therefore, the future visions that come up from these frameworks are usually linear, biased, and do not represent the worldview and ideas of non-western cultures.
In other words, those are not the habitable futures they create, because a habitat is meant to be the condition for the co-existence among diverse species and the emergence of reciprocal relationships. What are created, instead, are the glossy landscapes that reflect the western-dominated world views and their interests.
It is not the imagination and tools that those futurists and strategists lack, what is missing, is the space to examine the existing power structures, unlearn the white-supremacist and patriarchal mindsets, and give birth to non-western, abolitionary, queer, inclusive, and equitable visions to challenge and even subvert the old ones.