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Foresight: A Multidisciplinary Approach Towards Change

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Currently, policy across Canada can be very short sighted, lacking foresight for what is truly best for the future of a community. One of the primary reasons for this is that there is a very obvious divide in what people prioritize in order to change the future.


Teddy Cruz’s short article titled “ Foreword: Transcending the Foresight Divide” expresses the impact of politics on the world of design. Currently, policy across Canada can be very short sighted, lacking foresight for what is truly best for the future of a community. One of the primary reasons for this is that there is a very obvious divide in what people prioritize in order to change the future. In order to establish change moving forward policy must be adapted to reflect common goals that impact all people.


Cruz explains how he believes the divide in design policy is largely politically driven “right and the left”, and speculates on 3 main items that causes it.

1. An apolitical form of architecture that prioritizes aesthetics, creating experimental forms.
2. A stylistic Neo-conservatism type of architecture which establish a uniform middle class, dividing the extremely wealthy from the extremely poor.
3. Architecture for humanity, prioritizing quick solutions while often neglecting issues that have long lasting impacts on communities.

Although these methods are drastically different, Cruz argues that there should not be a middle ground established, but rather a re-contextualization of the different approaches. While I agree that a middle ground across these ideologies only waters down intentions, I struggle to see how they can be re-imagined moving forward so that they all address common goals. Policies are a result of people's beliefs, so we must begin to think how do we change those beliefs? Is some middle ground not necessary in order for the masses to be appeased?

“as we confront the double meaning of this crisis: on the one hand, to expose the unprecedented conflict inscribed across the economy, the environment, and the social and political value systems of a globalized world; and on the other, to make this very conflict the operational device to redefine our normative idea of the institution of architecture.”

This conflict of intentions can be seen in countless community projects, as different groups of people argue for their proposal due to their own motives. A great example of this line of thinking is the Sudbury arena project. Although many professionals recommended keeping the arena in the downtown core, politics as well as money won out in the end. Although this may create a quicker solution to a problem, it is almost certainly not best for the long-term viability of a prospering downtown core. It is my belief that much of the short-term planning that comes about due to our political system is a result of the short tenures of people within council. Due to their short tenure many counselors feel pressure to make their mark when they can, disregarding possible negative impacts because they are unlikely to be in their position by the time the consequences of their actions can be observed.

“Without altering the exclusionary policies constructing the socioeconomic and political grounds of our society, our profession will continue to be subordinated to the visionless environments defined by the bottom-line urbanism of the developer’s spreadsheet and the neoconservative policies and economics of a hyper individualistic ownership society....no meaningful breakthroughs in housing design can occur without advances in housing policy and the economy.“

In order to achieve real change people need to re-imagine how we think of everyday practices. One example Cruz describes and advocates for change, is the issue of climate change. Climate change is often only seen as an environmental issue, but in reality, it is much more than that. Climate change has social, economic, and political repercussions that must be addressed in order to create change. Similarily, design has an impact on many different disciplines, with all of them being interconnected. Policy can not only be changed in one area while another contradicts that mandate. Moving forward policies across disciplines must have foresight towards a common goal in order to achieve progress that is best for the long-term future of communities.

ADAM-PETIT-Foresight A Multidisciplinary
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