We routinely make decisions based on information about the future. We check the weather forecasts, read predictions on commodity prices, and try to determine what the stock markets will do next.
The importance of how we think about the future cannot be understated. The cost of following perilous pathways, or the opportunity cost of not investing in prosperous pathways, can be great. Think of what the value would be to know with greater certainty what will happen next. How do we cultivate our ‘future intelligence’ to enable us to peer further into the future?
We can explore the future by examining and extrapolating historical trends. The key challenge is knowing how to anticipate disruptive developments, such as the rapid adoption of automation. The next challenge is to more accurately predict what the future of Coppell could look like and prepare for the opportunities.
We cannot know with certainty what will happen, but we can explore future pathways. We can gather the collective intelligence of diverse perspectives to help each other better understand what some of the changes might be. The City of Coppell and Future iQ are undertaking a visioning process, Coppell Vision 2040, which will involve a high level of stakeholder engagement and input. Participatory scenario-building activities have also been built into the process. These scenarios will offer some unique views of the future of the city and will build on previous studies on the future of Coppell. The goal is to identify plausible future pathways for Coppell and to clarify preferred futures, while highlighting potential pathways to perilous futures.
There are many issues facing Coppell as we look out to 2040. Coppell has undergone many changes over the past decade that have altered the environment. The city is rapidly approaching build-out and will be facing challenges associated with the redevelopment of existing spaces to accommodate future growth. Community demographics are changing in ways that are both typical of other communities and unique to Coppell. Like many communities, residents are aging and looking for ways to stay engaged within the community.
The Coppell Citizen summit, held in September 2017, raised some key issues with regard to the future of Coppell. Technological issues, including city-wide Wi-Fi, were seen as essential to meet the needs of the residents. A bus and transportation plan was also cited as key to assist the residents as they travel to and from work. The connectivity issue of walking and cycling, and the improvement and expansion of neighborhood park opportunities to preserve and protect green spaces was seen as necessary to the well-being of Coppell’s residents and to the overall improvement of the city. These are examples of a much larger set of issues that Coppell will need to address.
It is against this backdrop that the planning for the future of Coppell is taking place. The Coppell Vision 2040 Plan initiative is a large-scale community visioning initiative that will ultimately create the Vision 2040 Strategic Plan.
The scenario planning process aims to explore these types of future-shaping issues. The process, which will run through 2018, will include a Think Tank workshop, community survey, extensive engagement sessions, focus group sessions and consistent updates to the Coppell Vision 2040 portal.
Future thinking may be informed by projections and other methods of data analysis; however, it adds value because it alters our perceptions of how certain decisions may play out. It prompts us to move out of our usual thought processes. Bringing collective intelligence and a future-thinking perspective together helps inform better decision-making in a very real way.