A while ago I was thinking about the idea of located futures – narratives of the future that explicitly locate themselves in a particular place, reflecting the concerns of the people that constitute it. I tried to explore some of the theoretical foundations of the idea in a paper. However, the point of the idea, for me, was always practical. I think that the process of constructing actual located futures would be a valuable activity for people to undertake.
The point of ‘located futures’ is that they pay attention to the embodied and experiential nature of space. So it seems inappropriate to produce a simply textual account of a possible future for a space. Instead, I want to explore how a group of people can create a way of experiencing a place as if the future they imagine was somehow already present. The intervention they create breaks the boundaries that keep the present and the future separate. Their response to the experience helps them to understand their role in bringing this future about, and the impacts this possible future might have on their lives. It’s about speaking to their hearts and imaginations, and text isn’t very good at doing that. But without doing that, futures remain theoretical and present action seems less necessary. And the focus of this whole process is to help people connect the future to their present actions.