Future scenario analysis

When we began the futuring process for a possible future in 2050, we as a group performed an analysis of four quadrants of a double-variant.  Using the two variables of free vs dehumanised; and personal vs communal, we could postulate on four future societies in the context of love and compassion found in the prison system.

We all found the prison system a very interesting space.  The documentary Solitary Nation [1] sparked our interests in the prison system through looking at the treatment of inmates who find themselves in solitary confinement and experience the extreme degradation of mental health in these conditions.  Further research into prison reform led us to a series of interviews with Reina Gossett and David Spade [2] that centred around prison reform within the structures of violence.

Lengthy research of crime statistics [3] allowed us to backcast our futures and thus project our four potential futures, thrusting each scenario along the vectors of probability and possibility.

As a group, we decided to take a more positive direction in contrast to a dystopian future.  The idea of a rehabilitation community as opposed to an isolated and dehumanising correctional facility sat well with our free and communal criteria.  The community explores the autonomy of the human condition through architecture and the abstraction of space and its interaction with the senses.  Kenneth’s exploration of line and shape in our scenario presentation drew a visual link to this autonomy we sought after in our future scenario.  The free movement of line establishes a self-determination and regaining responsibility of our actions and emotions.


Artwork by Kenneth Pan

The path one takes in life is not a clear-cut linear path.  Rather, there are decisions and forks in the road that allows us to find our own answers.  In a similar way, the rehabilitation community lets those within seek their own progression by allowing them to understand their emotions and actions in a sanctuary away from the rigours of life.  By engaging with the water therapy treatment as we proposed for our artefact in our future, the user will be able to self remedy and heighten their own awareness of their sense of self, fostering a rehabilitation culture and a life of autonomy to pave one’s own way in life.

It is through this method of self-help that we in 3D envisage a positive future, with the abolition of the prison system as we see in 2016.


[1] Solitary Nation 2014, television program, Frontline, PBS, US, 22 April.

[2] Gossett, R. Spade, D. Dector, H. 2014, ‘Reina Gossett and Dean Spade (Part 1,2,3,4): Prison Abolition, videorecording, Vimeo, viewed 20/09/2016, < https://vimeo.com/83529142https://vimeo.com/83529275,https://vimeo.com/83529569https://vimeo.com/83529755>

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2016, ‘Summary Findings’, Corrective Services, Australia, June Quarter 2016, no. 4512.0, viewed 29 September 2016, <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4512.0&gt;


One comment

  1. Thank you for using my diagram in your blog post! I’m glad we looked into this for both our assessments and really looked deeper than the surface of solitary confinement to figure out the systemic issues of why the prison system exists and who it really benefits. The abolishment movement for prisons is currently so crucial to improving the conversation for the vulnerable which is really spoken further in this Tedx talk – https://youtu.be/JFTRn_sIGiQ .


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