Practicing strategic foresight is fundamental to sustainable design. When we imagine alternative or future scenarios, we are designing not only for the needs of people today but also for the needs of future generations. Foresighting also asks us to suspend our individual bias and exercise our empathetic imagination. We practiced our foresighting skills this year by creating personas and user scenarios to help us imagine and design for the specific needs of an individual or group. Our user scenarios set context by imagining details such as a person’s age and occupation, and then modelling how that person might interact with a proposed design.
We used foresighting skills to predict two emerging trends in Markham: a reduced market demand for light industrial lands, and a rise in self-employment and the mobile workforce. These insights allowed us to design an innovative new housing typology for Markham that transforms employment land warehouses into exciting opportunities for increasing live/work options.