Beyond Anticipation. Designing Climate Futures

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 38: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World

July, 2015, 528 pages
Published by
T. Thomas, E. Levin, P. Dawson, K. Fraser & R. Hadgraft

This paper introduces an approach to learning and teaching that deals directly with complexity and uncertainty, using a landscape architecture design studio as an example to demonstrate process and outcomes. The overarching theme of the studio was climate adaptation or confronting and productively working with the uncertainty of climate change. Students were asked to consider how to move beyond precaution towards an approach that imagined and creatively embraced uncertain futures. Key questions addressed in the studio included: How can communities improvise and adapt to continuous change and uncertainty? How can we move beyond projection – or geographies of anticipation towards an approach to the future that engages with and harnesses uncertainty and continuous change? Part of a larger body of work the studio worked with a large scale, integrative design approach that does not distinguish between analysis and design but sees them as simultaneous, interwoven acts of a creative design process. The approach utilises intuition, emotion and empathy as specific and productive human ‘devices’ to tackle complexity.
The site for these explorations was the City of Glenorchy, Southern Tasmania. Located at the base of Mount Wellington, bounded by the Derwent River and crossed by rivulets, the city is characterised by a mix of industrial, commercial and residential
development. Key climate change risks include increased frequency of hot days, extended heat waves, increased occurrence and intensity of bushfires and frequency of inundation along the Derwent River

Keywords: climate adaption, design education, creativity