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Postcards from the Future

This is a simple and quick visioning activity that asks people to imagine what a space will look and feel like in the future. This can be conducted in a workshop setting or directly in the space that you are looking to improve. The result is a series of community narratives about their dreams for the space.

Type
Visioning
Time Frame
5 minutes
Group Size
Unlimited
Location
On-site or in a workshop setting
Focus Areas
Streets, parks and public spaces
Age Group
5 and up
Materials List
  • 1 table
  • Inspiration cards
  • Custom “Greetings from the Future” postcards
  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • String
  • Clothespins

STEP 1: Design a postcard.

Prior to hosting the engagement activity, design your postcard. We like to print out images and illustrations on one side of 4”x6” cardstock that are relevant to the project site we’re working in. The opposite side of the postcard should contain the prompt “Greetings from the future!” or something similar. Print out as many of these as you think you’ll need.

STEP 2: Set the scene.

Set up a table with inspiration cards on display. Inspiration cards are printed images of various examples of high-quality streets, parks, and public spaces from all over the world. You can make your own.

Ask participants to browse through the inspiration cards on the table to spark their imaginations. Participants may select a few of the cards that represent something they would like to see or experience in their community in ten years.

STEP 3: Prompt the participants.

Ask participants to picture themselves in the space you’re looking to improve, only ten years in the future.

STEP 4: Write a postcard from the future.

Using one of the blank postcards, ask participants to a short note to someone (a friend, family member, a City Councilor) and describe what they are experiencing in that space, ten years from now. What do they see, hear, smell, feel?

STEP 5: Postcard exhibit.

Place all the postcards on display for passersby and fellow participants to see. A cheap and visually attractive way of doing this is by hanging a long string and using a clothespin to attach the postcards to the string.