The Planet Maker Design Studio exploring future scenarios for the planet over the next 100 years

On 3 July 2018, results of The Planet Maker design studio by The Why Factory in collaboration with RMIT (Melbourne) and UTS (Sydney) were presented at TU Delft’s Orange Tribune. 48 planet vision models are on display exploring future scenarios for the planet over the next 100 years.

As the planet moves into the Anthropocene era, a shift of focus moves from the world of architecture instead to an architecture of the world. Architecture has the potential to explore beyond its traditional disciplinary borders, the possibilities, repercussions and limits of organising the world in a different way, alongside finding ways to make better worlds. Spatially as well as politically, taking into account how technology disruptions can change assumptions about the future of the world. Rather than a top-down approach, Planet Maker seeks to become a tool of exploration and simulation where ‘what if’s’ are tested to give guidance and inspiration for future planet makers. Iteration, variation and levels of intensity address the need to keep many options open for discussion.

‘The design studio questions whether we can make planets that are truly green, cool it down instead of continually contributing to heating it up,’ says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV and Director of The Why Factory.

The future of planet Earth is explored through multiple ‘what if’s’ organized through six key lenses: Economy, Food, Energy, Mobility, Green & Society. These lenses take as their starting point an icosahedron and then a polyhedron of 320 triangles. Each triangle has three main attributes that are shared by all lenses: 1. land use, 2. population, 3. temperature. The future of the planet is simulated through scenarios that concentrate on exploring the coming 100 years. Each lens explores scenario making what if’s and their variants in time through a simulation game that uses scripting tools to manage massive quantities of data and parameters. For every lens, the teams have developed a specific method to tackle correlations between the most pressing subjects, yet all lenses are tested through a common database and a common output of land use.

Starting by giving an overview of the most challenging futures the lenses then go on to explore the ‘what if’s’ simulating the effects of precise policies on the overall triangulation of the world. These mini software’s inform and guide the creation of 48heat-map globes that test  ‘what if’s’ of the emerging Anthropocene. To visualize the effect of these ‘what if’ scenarios have on a particular location, a series of before and after postcards give the viewer a sense of the experiential impact of the scenario outcomes.

Images Credit | TU Delft