Participatory Scenarios for Sustainability


Minnesota 2050: Pathways to a Sustainable Future

Minnesota 2050 was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. The projectintegrated participatory scenarios and quantitative scientific analysis to better grasp the complexity and uncertainty of the future. Major issues identified by stakeholders as they developed multiple future scenarios informed trend analyses conducted by researchers. In turn, in regional workshops and at a culminating workshop with legislative leaders, participants explored the historical data and trend analyses to examine how the data and trends align with the stakeholders’ scenarios. Kapuscinski and her research colleagues examined how this integration of data and scenario visioning affected social learning among participants, and used outputs of the process to propose elements of a “learning system for sustainability for communities to build a more comprehensive understanding of plausible futures, thereby increasing their adaptive capacity.


For more information on the Minnesota 2050 project:

Schmitt-Olabisi, L., A.R. Kapuscinski, K. Johnson, P. Reich, B. Stenquist, and K. Draeger. 2010. Using scenario visioning and participatory system dynamics modeling to investigate the future: Lessons from Minnesota 2050. Sustainability 2(8):2686-2706.

Johnson, K.A., G.V. Dana, N. Jordan, K. Draeger, A.R. Kapuscinski, L.Schmitt-Olabisi, P.B. Reich. Participatory scenarios: a process to stimulate social learning for collaborative sustainable development. Ecology and Society 17(2):9.

Resilience 2011 Conference, panel on “Methodologies for building adaptive capacity through shared learning among scientists, stakeholders and practitioners”. Arizona State University, Tempe AZ, March 11-16, 2011