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Scenario archetypes: converging rather than diverging themes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Dexter Hunt
  • D. Rachel Lombardi
  • Stuart Atkinson
  • Austin R. G. Barber
  • Julie Brown
  • John Bryson
  • David Butler
  • Silvio Caputo
  • Maria Caserio
  • Richard Coles
  • Raziyeh Farmani
  • Mark Gaterell
  • James Hale
  • A. Chantal Hales
  • Lubo Jankovic
  • Ian Jefferson
  • J. Leach
  • Fayyaz A. Memon
  • Jon P. Sadler
  • Carina Weingaertner
  • Christopher D.F. Rogers
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/04/2012
Issue number4
Number of pages33
Pages (from-to)740-772
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.

Bibliographic note

© 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).