…alternative possible futures
A basic assumption of futures studies: not one future, but many possible futures;
of those possible futures, some are more probable than others -- evaluate changing probabilities by monitoring trend growth;
of those possible futures, some are more preferable than others -- evaluate preferability by dialogue within community.
Assessing the probability of any given image of the future actually occurring must of necessity be an ongoing process: as trends and emerging issues of change grow, transform, plateau, or collapse over time, the probability of a possible outcome, or possible future, may vary. Hence the need for ongoing identification and monitoring of indicators of change.
Secondly, evaluating any given image of the future as aligning more or less closely with community values is important in assessing which futures offer conditions that best fit community goals in achieving a vision – a preferred future – but that evaluation of a possible set of conditions as preferable is NOT THE SAME ACTIVITY as articulating a vision of a preferred future.