Session 2 :: Masdar – A Utopian City

(1) 5 mins: Issues with OLI, Canvas, etc?

(2) Open questions from OLI module pg 7-9?

(3) 15 mins: Moodboard discussion? link to Moodboard assignment rubric.

(4) After the dystopian Bladerunner futures lets go to something more optimistic:

In-class activity Masdar 2050 futures scenario activity (15 minutes video)

Masdar City Documnetaries

Sustainable City | Fully Charged 

Building Green – Masdar City, exploring the futu


Think about the type of future that is depicted in the video. Ask yourself what are the challenges you imagine with Masdar? What would be challenging about living in Masdar?

(5) Work on Masdar Assignment.

Masdar design activity: You’ve just seen the SHELL documentary on the Masdar pilot city. Imagine that Masdar wants to grow to accommodate 3 million people. (a) Critically analyze what you just saw in Masdar according to the STEEP forces.

STEP 0: Make a copy of the slides here, and rename the file. 

5 mins STEP (1)
What might be some pros and cons of Masdar from a STEEP perspective? Fill in the table.

5 mins STEP (2)
Identify one aspect, problem, opportunity, or issue that is of interest to you to explore further through the lens design. What aspect of the current Masdar pilot do you think would have difficulty scaling to 3 million people?

10 mins STEP (3)
Sketch a problem storyboard for what a day in the life experience might be like in Masdar with the problem or issue you identified. Provide captions for each frame.

10 mins STEP (4)
Provide a solution storyboard of what the improved experience you identified above might be like in Masdar. In short, what would a day-in-a-life look like if the problem you identified were solved. Provide captions for each frame.

5 mins STEP (5)
Brainstorm five new concepts for products (or designed experiences) to resolve the problems you identified in your storyboard above. Provide a drawing and description of each concept.

(6) Recap

Today we discussed how different media (text, visuals, movies) shape how we imagine the details of a futures scenario. We noticed the relationship between designers’ control and imagination play out with an audience.

The audience had to imagine the most with text, and the least with moving pictures. Having to imagine a scenario required effort whereas with a movie it was easy to see what the future might be like, but hard to imagine oneself in it.

With regards to Utopian cities like Masdar, you began to imagine what it might be like to live in such a city. What might be some challenges in everyday life in such a city should it become a city of three million people. You sought to think like a designer and imagine future opportunities. Your training in human-centered design helped to spot problematic areas in the futures vision presented to you.

(7) Homework four items:

  • (a) Step (6) Masdar choose one of your concepts from Step 5, now is the time to revise, develop, and update your concept. Pick one that one you find most interesting,  inspiring and are curious to develop.
    • Work at home to further explore and develop the concept.
    • Create an 11×17 paper representation that you can bring to class on Tuesday and pin-up, Bring a digital picture of it as well (You’ll need to upload the digital image);
  • (b) This is a graded discussion: 20 points possible

    Week 1: Through the lens of STEEP forces of change, in what ways was the Masdar scenario you developed a hopeful or fearful scenario?

    INSTRUCTIONS: Please post your response (150 words max) to the question. Then reply to at least 2 of your colleagues’ posts.

    Remember STEEP = Social, Technological, Environmental, Economical, Political

  • (c) OLI page 11 & submit Moodboard.
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