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Tangible futures: Combining scenario thinking and personas—A pilot study on urban mobility

  • Vallet, Flore
  • Puchinger, Jakob
  • MILLONIG, Alexandra
  • Lamé, Guillaume
  • Nicolaï, Isabelle
Publication Date
Mar 02, 2020
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Scenario planning methods tend to work at an aggregate level and to consider homogeneous populations, thus levelling the variable effects of future developments on different social groups. Decision-making based on such scenarios bears the risk of missing undesired impacts on specific groups of people, which may cause social tensions or require costly countermeasures. New approaches are needed to provide a better basis for socially responsible planning by making clearer the complex social impacts of future scenarios. In marketing and user-centered design, persona models are developed to represent typologies of users to cover a broad range of needs and requirements. We propose a systematic method, called the Scenario Personarrative method, for combining scenario thinking and personas into a structured but nonetheless flexible process, which allows generating fine-grained individualized narratives. We describe a pilot application in a case study on urban mobility. This pilot used existing scenarios and focused on a two-hour workshop where twelve experts created personas and the associated narratives across three scenarios of urban mobility in 2030. This pilot shows the applicability of the method for making potential effects on different social groups more tangible. We propose ways forward for further evaluation of the proposed methodology.

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