Exploring workshop. Essay Collection

Connecting Past, Present and Future

Rebecca Wright and Colin Pooley

Photograph: Colin Pooley

This essay argues that more attention needs to be paid by planners and policy makers to past everyday life in envisioning present and future models of living. By focusing on the decisions and strategies adopted by individual families in carrying out their everyday lives we suggest that it is possible to gain a better understanding of the ways in which people react to changing circumstances and adapt their behaviours when necessary. The paper focuses on four separate areas: what are the methods and concepts that we can use to operationalize this material and make it relevant to the present? What historical sources can be used to reveal aspects of the everyday and what are the limitations of these resources? How can this material provide new insights into issues such as historical determinism and inertia within social systems? And what are the implications of this for tackling pressing current and future problems such as climate change and inequalities at both the global and local scales? Download full PDF