Influencing ideas and inspirations. Scenarios as an instrument in evaluation
In his review of notable planning disasters, Hall proposes two ways for avoiding future disasters. In a turbulent age, the improvement of forecasting methods is quite problematic. Ranking near and distant futures requires images of alternative future developments. This paper investigates the use of scenarios constructed through interactive knowledge in order to evaluate near-future policies and programmes. However, since scenarios normally have long-time horizons, there is a tenuous link between the ideas and aspirations outlined in alternative scenarios and near-future policies and programmes. This implies that such scenarios can in the first place be used to assess preferences in the near future in relation to distant ideas and aspirations expressed in them. They may also help structure the context and its underlying plural values, and enlarge the range of possible criteria for evaluation. In this sense, they require that evaluation remains open to the discovery of societal preferences, interests and desires. For this purpose uses the concept "exploratory evaluation". The latter hopefully provides a useful instrument in evaluation. While the emphasis in this paper is on the methodological implications of using long-term scenarios to evaluate current choices, it nevertheless indicates how scenarios might be used in evaluating policies for sustainable development in southern Mediterranean cities: Tunis, Izmir and Rabat-Casablanca.