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IFTF.ORG: Map of Future Forces Affecting Sustainability

Steve Puma | Wednesday February 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

The Institute for the Future has published its Map of Future Forces Affecting Sustainability. This is a really interesting document outlining their research and forecasts on what the future will be for sustainability in six areas: People, Regions, Built Environments, Nature, Markets, Business and Energy.

  1. An Imperative for Looking Long: “The 21st century will test our ability to grasp the future impacts of present choices, but even as we struggle to incorporate future knowledge into our day-to-day decisions, we’re tuning up our bodies and minds and even our cultural frameworks for a much longer view.”
  2. A Planet at Risk:As climate change, deterioriation of the global food chain, uncertain energy supplies, natural resource vulnerability and environmental health issues loom, ecological indicators will become key measures that organizations – and society as a whole – need in order to steer a strategic course.”
  3. Marginal Populations Redefine the Mainstream: “Marginalized populations – whether they are slum dwellers, citizens of economically disadvantaged countries or people with disabilities – will grow in number and influence over the next ten
    years, remaking mainstream culture.”
  4. Participatory Culture Drives Change: “Taking advantage of lightweight infrastructures – for everything from media to energy to fabrication – many more people will participate in the creation of the cultural fabric that defines who we are and how we
    will manage the dilemmas that face the world in the coming decade.”
  5. New Commons Create New Value: “Even as the Earth’s natural commons are increasingly at risk, humans are creating new kinds of commons around shared resources that can generate and sustain new wealth, health and well-being in the face of these risks. From the Internet to bio-commons, these will provide new lessons in human social organization.”
  6. A New Material World: “The human ability to engineer at the molecular level, whether through biological, chemical or electromechanical means, will grow over the next decade, changing not only the way we manage the world but actually transforming it to create new kinds of built environments – and new ways of living in them.”


Some of the more interesting predictions include:

  • “Self-interest is aligned with collective good:” I’ve been saying for a long time that the only way to true sustainability is to align individual self-interest with the interests of the collective good. I would also extend this to the interests of ecosystems and the planet as well.
  • “Eco-tools build on bottom – up context awareness:” Interesting discussion of a “green panopticon”  leading to a kind of “planetary mark-up language” This seems like a logical, and really cool extension and expansion of the “participatory panopticon” phenomenon. (see Jamais Cascio’s Worldchanging article)
  • “Design-based manufacturing foments a factory revolution”: Visitors to this site know how much I love this one. We’re talking about mass-acceptance of 3D inkject printers and open-source design, which would be the ultimate way to reduce the carbon footprint of consumption. Accoring to IFTF, this “may well unleash a vast wave of design innovation”, which is exactly what we need if we are going to transform the design of everything. Who knows, perhaps America’s declining economic situation will speed this up even further, as people look for ways to meet their needs and make money at home and at low cost.
  • “Immersive media helps reframe of energy strategies: Immersive experiences can provide consumers and business decision-makers with concrete experiences in living the future consequences of present day energy decisions.” One translation: games and simulations are going to experience many more surges, and will be used more and more to accomplish everyday tasks.

There is much more in this fascinating and revealing document.
Via: ThePumaBlog, Vis: Institute for the Future: http://www.iftf.org/node/2269


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    great info…. i tried googling future map..found this, thanks