Over the course of last week, our professors put us to the task of outlining two scenarios, and fleshing them out to see what different sets of circumstances would lead to. Fro me, one of the most challenging aspects of this mental experiment were to come up with two significantly divergent scenarios in the first place.
I know a lot about my site, and I know a lot about the recent history that has made it the depressing landscape that it is, but how do I look at those vast areas of parking, financial depressed businesses, strip-mall outlets and fast food stores to imagine futures that are bright and promising? It took a lot of reading, writing and thinking, in cyclical iterations.
The scenarios, obviously, are simply a means to an end. To look at different futures and what they entail, then take the best design elements from each and work with those towards a project that is more realistic in the end.
My two scenarios were entitled Alpine Style and Amnesty+. In the former, energy access has become scarce, and cities/neighborhoods need to become as self-reliant and efficient as possible. In the latter, I envisioned a world where the federal government made allowances for amnesty of current illegal citizens, and created a legal guest-worker program. According to research, this would result in a population surge in my capstone area of almost 400,000 people over the highest current population projections.
These scenarios pulled me through a handful of design ideas that included using the space underneath 35W as a kind of parking ramp, and changing the streetscape to take full advantage of solar gain.
Given the short amount of time that we were working on this kick-off design push, there isn't much in the body of work I created that I hold too much stake in, but it started the process, and that is likely the most important outcome. To be sure, the first set of ideas that I generate in any design process are absolute garbage, but often there are some pieces that I can carry forward, and this was that stage in my capstone process.