Out of the Box: What Speculative Design Methods have to do with (un)desirable mobility futures?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation


Radical, global, environment transformations caused by unpredictable climate changes are causing sacristy in recourses, water deficit and migrations of epic dimension. On another hand, accelerated technological developments in mobility, such as self-driving vehicles are questioning the perception of our current mobility paradigm. These changes put under question current sustainability trajectories and require more systemic and holistic planning. In particular, there is a higher sensitivity in envisioning (un)desirable futures than ever before. According to central STS arguments, technology with its rules is shaping our lives maybe more than we are willing to consent (Jasanoff 2016). In addition, technologies are bringing not only benefits but, also inevitable create challenges, which do not necessary leads towards desirable neither the most sustainable futures. Therefore we propose examining unanticipated factors that contribute to the complexity of the socio-technical and economic systems. In particular, we assess the use of design fiction, a speculative communication tool, which with physical artefacts creates interactions and dialogues around the futures that were never thought before (Dunne & Raby, 2013). We contrast this method with some established future studies methods, such as scenarios and foresight, to emphasize design fiction’s capacity for radical and provocative envisioning. Findings indicate that this mixed method approach enables envisioning and imagining (un)desirable mobility futures, through exploration and critique of possible futures. The use of the method also expands the conceptualization and meaning of technology, to include not just the technical artefacts but also related services. Moreover, the use of design fiction enables development of provocative scenarios that account for the relationship between the technical artefact and built environment, as well as continuously changing natural environment. Lastly, and perhaps the most important, this approach enables explorations into experiential and activity changes that mobility technologies pertain to with respect to citizen lifestyles.
Period14 Jun 2018
Event titleSTS Symposium: Ideals and practice of interdisciplinary research
Event typeConference
LocationTampere , FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Mobility
  • Transportation
  • Future study methods
  • Speculative design
  • Future studies