Boundaries of the future: a framework for reflexive scenario practice in sustainability science

Lazurko, Anita ORCID:; Schweizer, Vanessa; Pintér, László; Ferguson, David. 2023 Boundaries of the future: a framework for reflexive scenario practice in sustainability science. One Earth, 6 (12). 1703-1725.

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Scenarios are popular tools for anticipating the future of complex sustainability challenges. However, sustainability science lacks a reflexive framework to address the ambiguity inherent in scenario processes (i.e., how subjective choices determine which future conditions and values are considered within or beyond the scope of analysis). This gap presents risks to scenarios’ salience and legitimacy, particularly amid demands to enrich scenarios with the potentially transformative conditions of the 21st century (e.g., anticipating novel risks or navigating transformations to sustainability). This study developed and validated a reflexive framework that makes multiple dimensions of ambiguity explicit. The framework (Boundaries of the Future) characterizes 10 boundary judgments made in the design of a scenario process that delineate the scope of social-ecological systems change in the resulting scenarios. The framework can be operationalized as a tool to systematically enrich scenario practice with the more expansive and inclusive conditions required to navigate the 21st century.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2590-3322
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 13 Dec 2023 13:41 +0 (UTC)

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