Central to Extrapolation Factory’s methods of engagement are the creation of hypothetical future props and their deployment in familiar public contexts. What If Columbus will be installed on the sidewalk where Washington Street meets 2nd Street at an active corner that connects City Hall, the Bartholomew County Courthouse and Veterans Memorial, and The Republic Building. This installation and its location at the heart of civic exchange, encourages members of the public to use the kiosk to contemplate, articulate, and share future visions for Columbus. Each vision generated by members of the public, depicted as a short sentence and image, will be digitally shared with the mayor's office with the intention that this database of visions offers decision makers inspiration and insight into the public's desirable futures.

The Extrapolation Factory is a design-based research studio for participatory futures studies led by Chris Woebken and Elliott P. Montgomery. Based in NYC, the Extrapolation Factory helps communities shape future narratives that diverge from those promoted by Hollywood directors or political figures. Many of their projects explore new territories for democratized futures, like the recent “Testing Hypotheticals” at the Queens Museum. Extrapolation Factory invited Queens residents to rapidly imagine, prototype, and analyze visions of possible futures for their own neighborhood. The project outcomes were displayed at Milan Design Week 2018 and awarded the Lexus Design Awards’ grand prix. Another project, “Transition Habitats,” which grew out of Extrapolation Factory’s residency at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, imagined future cross-species communication. After a participatory visioning and prototyping phase, Extrapolation Factory created mailboxes designed to help the public listen to non-human indicator species, and then to interpret their messages as proposals for future action to protect the environment.

Our projects are experiments in co-created futures. Local communities are challenged to envision social tests that could radically reimagine our societies. Through the process of building future props and testing their impact through role play, participants have chances to deeply consider the details of their evolving future scenarios, and to discover unforeseen opportunities, twists and challenges.