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Scenario planning

Develop plausible future user scenarios for the building project and apply it to the design to make a building adaptable to future changes.

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What are scenarios?

Scenarios are stories, exploring imaginable but divergent futures. Scenarios relate easily to architecture as they help to show how a building might change over time.

Why creating scenarios?

When designing for circularity, there is a lot of uncertainty linked to defining the lifecycle of buildings, the degree of adaptability, and the end of life. Anticipating different possible scenarios for a building helps to look forward in time to evaluate the long-term advantages of the building design and to make better-informed decisions. 

When to take action?

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Who can take action?

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Design team & client

Beginner expertise needed

Take action/ How can I build scenarios?

  1. What triggers change? Define the known and unknown drivers for change.

  2. Select the most important drivers. 

  3. Develop plausible future user scenarios based on the drivers.

  4. Decide for which scenarios you will design.

  5. Design for each selected scenario. Compare the different designs to each other.


  6. Decide which adaptable, generic, or durable elements will be integrated in the design.


Information on the project and its context.


Plausible future user scenarios and a
conceptual design that can adapt to future changes.

More information and sources

Workshop format and worksheets for scenario planning

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Scenario developing for life cycle design and analyses - Galle W. and De Temmerman N. Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Circular Retrofit Lab: Full renovation of prefabricated student housing modules for multiple uses - Buildings as material banks (BAMB)

Expandable Houses: An Explorative Life Cycle Cost Analysis - Cambier C., Galle W., and De Temmerman N. Vrije Universiteit Brussel

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