Scenario archetypes: converging rather than diverging themes

J.V.L. Hunt, D.R. Lombardi, S. Atkinson, A.R.G. Barber, M. Barnes, C.T. Boyko, J. Brown, J. Bryson, D. Butler, Silvio Caputo, M. Caserio, R. Coles, R.F.D. Cooper, R. Farmani, Mark Gaterell, J. Hale, C. Hales, C.N. Hewitt, L. Jankovic, I. JeffersonJ. Leach, A.R. MacKenzie, F.A. Memon, J.P. Sadler, C. Weingaertner, J.D. Whyatt, C.D.F. Rogers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    83 Citations (Scopus)
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    Future scenarios provide challenging, plausible and relevant stories about how the future could unfold. Urban Futures (UF) research has identified a substantial set (>450) of seemingly disparate scenarios published over the period 1997–2011 and within this research, a sub-set of >160 scenarios has been identified (and categorized) based on their narratives according to the structure first proposed by the Global Scenario Group (GSG) in 1997; three world types (Business as Usual, Barbarization, and Great Transitions) and six scenarios, two for each world type (Policy Reform—PR, Market Forces—MF, Breakdown—B, Fortress World—FW, Eco-Communalism—EC and New Sustainability Paradigm—NSP). It is suggested that four of these scenario archetypes (MF, PR, NSP and FW) are sufficiently distinct to facilitate active stakeholder engagement in futures thinking. Moreover they are accompanied by a well-established, internally consistent set of narratives that provide a deeper understanding of the key fundamental drivers (e.g., STEEP—Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Political) that could bring about realistic world changes through a push or a pull effect. This is testament to the original concept of the GSG scenarios and their development and refinement over a 16 year period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)740-772
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License unported 3.0 which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited. See for full license terms.


    • sustainability
    • future scenarios
    • scenario archetypes


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