Students imagine the future of Phoenix in CNS-ASU and ASU Design School studio course

March 6, 2013

Students and faculty discuss the presentations

This semester, twelve graduate students from the Design School at ASU have been participating in a capstone course taught by Darren Petrucci of the Design School and Arnim Wiek of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society. This week they met in ASU's Descision Theater to present their progress so far, and to get feedback on their work with several ASU faculty. 

The studio course focuses on fictional scenarios of potential futures in Phoenix; one describes a rapid rise in surveillance technology, another imagines a future where hackers reprogram city utilities through State-sponsored contests. The student groups take the information given to them in their assigned scenario and re-imagine an existing area of Phoenix to demonstrate what they think the city would look like under the given conditions.

The semester is only half over but already the projects are beginning to take shape, and the Decision Theater was an ideal space to lay out their plans with a group of ASU faculty that included representatives from Real Estate, Nutrition and Health Promotion as well as our own director, David Guston.

Feedback was generally positive and the impressive body of work was seen to have great potential. But the faculty challenged the students to think more broadly about the challenges inherent in the scenarios. Not only should they consider design aspects of the future city, but they should now begin to consider how that design will affect the fabric of urban life, including property values, development interests, health and well-being, and policy making. 

CNS-ASU is learning those lessons as well through our research programs of TRC 2: Urban Design, Materials and the Built Environment, as well as RTTA 3: Anticipation and Deliberation, which focuses on future scenarios and innovative ways of engaging citizens in the development of urban environments.

Stay tuned for more pictures and information as the semester rolls on. We're really looking forward to see where they take these scenarios, and how the students design and imagine the future of Phoenix and its surrounding area.

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