Futures, Wellbeing, and Flourishing Communities

By David G. Lloyd.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 31, 2014 $US5.00

An aspect of people’s lives that I have been particularly interested in is their images of possible futures, and the function and value of these in contributing to wellbeing and sustainability thinking. Wellbeing is an idea that has become prevalent in conversation in recent times due to concerns about people’s physical, mental and spiritual health. I argue that one factor that determines the quality of wellbeing is individual and collective images of possible futures. Futures images and scenario writing are also essential elements of the sustainability agenda and yet in my experience, are not highly valued or well developed in our communities. In this paper, I look at the interconnectedness of these three ideas: futures thinking, wellbeing and sustainability. To build the connections, I use a variety of literatures and futures work collected over a number of years from secondary and tertiary students and community groups. In this study I refer to participants’ futures images elicited using a guided fantasy approach and interviews with their authors. I conclude by suggesting that futures work is important for everyone, not just futurists. If we are to have flourishing communities, we need citizens who feel good about life, have a vision of a liveable future and the confidence to act to ensure environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability.

Keywords: Futures Thinking, Wellbeing, Sustainable Communities

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context, Volume 9, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.41-53. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 31, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 729.449KB)).

Dr. David G. Lloyd

Barbara Hardy Institute, University of South Australia, Stirling, South Australia, Australia

A former science teacher and university lecturer in science and environmental education. Currently an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Barbara Hardy Institute, University of South Australia and a member of Transition Adelaide Hill, The Old School Community Garden and the Adelaide Hills Council Sustainability Advisory Committee.