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5.4.2 Informative tools and imaginative visions

Multispecies justice demands thinking in legal and political frameworks, but also in cultural ones, and especially in terms of narrative. What stories do particular communities tell about their own origins and futures and about their relationship to other communities and species is often a crucial means of establishing and perpetuating scenarios of justice and injustice. Fictional story worlds, in addition, offer the possibility of playing out the implications of different kinds of design and planning in the context of polyphony of voices and divergent plot lines. This has, of course, always been one of the functions of the novel, and especially of novels in the genre of science (or speculative) fiction, which uses the device of futuristic or alternative worlds to explore the consequences of individual and collective decision making.

Ursula Heise, Mapping Urban Nature and Multispecies Storyworlds in Design with Nature Now
(Heise, 2019, p.79).

During COVID-19 lockdowns, much of the research dissemination, collaboration, fieldwork and data collection process went digital and online. Stumbling upon online digital tools like Kumu (or other online maps like the Feral Atlas in section 2.2.4) was, therefore, of no coincidence. However, Kumu is not originally designed for the LUDP spatial design practice, so there is a potential research scope in developing software and programs specifically for the spatial design disciplines that can assist in representing, curating and helping with analysis of the increasing engagement of multi-scalar, temporal and transdisciplinary complexities. Thus, there may be future potential for improving collaboration with engineers (simulation programs), geographers (GIS), and designers (spatial-visual representations) to explore hybrid programs that can help us better predict, understand and communicate nature-based proposals[275] as a design tool (i.e. how can designers know that their design proposals will work in that specific context from a marine perspective? How can designers better engage with the spaces under the surface of the water?) According to Orff (2016), there is an “emphasis on the need for iterative modelling, testing and refinement and stressed the need for informed design decisions and collaborative conversations with residents, scientists and city planners alike to achieve successful outcomes” for the future. These different “tools” could also extend to, different immersive mediums such as films (Troiani and Kahn, 2016), virtual reality (Wallis and Ross, 2021), photography (Hjortshøj, 2021), eco-art (Christensen-Scheel, 2020) and even scuba diving as a method (Sørensen, 2020).

    Furthermore, the role of new “tools” does not stop at technological inventions and software. New narratives also are tools to design with. For instance, there is emerging scholarship around the role of science fiction (and cli-fi, see Figure 172) as a way to generate future narratives and design projections (Letkemann, 2022, pp.25–60). Moreover, participatory design methods are used to derive engagement and more inclusive design practices and, thus, outcomes (Letkemann and Laplace, 2022). Moreover, there is scope to take on a much more theoretical approach by examining Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2007; Yaneva, 2022) or James Gibson’s Affordance Theory (Gibson, 1979b) to provide a deeper engagement with questions such as how is seaweed an actor? What is its intrinsic agency? What is the affordance of the sea/seaweed?


[275] Without proper simulation modeling, it would be difficult to know as designers how dense or how much space is required to effectively implement the nature-based solution. These factors are dependent on the local conditions (salinity, water current speed, the strength of storm surges, tides, bathymetry, etc.). The size may differ between several hundred meters to several kilometers.



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