Rural scenario development workshop

Exploring the critical issues that are likely influence the future of rural areas in the South East of England.

13th November 2008

What was the event?

Rural environments and communities are undergoing continuous changes and subsequently are facing new challenges and opportunities. In the 2007 annual report, the Rural Advocate, Stewart Burgess, identified factors such as demographic change, the change in nature of the rural workforce, changing landscapes and climate change as the most significant current impacts for the rural communities. We have an understanding of the current rural baseline, but how will rural environments and communities develop in the future? What factors are likely to influence its development and what actions will be required to adapt to these potential changes?

This workshop seeked to explore the critical issues that are likely influence the future of rural areas in the South East of England.

Led by Dr Sigrid Stagl and Professor Gordon McKerron from Sussex University, the workshop participants explored the following: 

  • Critical issues that will influence the future of rural areas in SE England
    • Identify the issues
    • Rate the issues on an 'uncertainty/impact grid'.
  • Key underlying themes
    • Identify 'pivotal uncertainties'
    • Cluster the 'pivotal uncertainties' to identify and name underlying themes
    • Explore alternative outcomes of the uncertainties.
  • Scenario development
    • Use themes to form four distinct sketches for scenarios
    • Develop time lines to show the flow of unfolding events
  • Presentations of the four scenarios.

Workshop flier (PDF-72K)

Who was the event suitable for?

Stakeholders and researchers with an interest in Rural Sustainability. Through intensive deliberations between participants, the workshop fostered the processes of ‘engagement’ and ‘social learning’, thereby leading to a broader-based and more subtle understanding of strategic options for rural systems in the South East.

Where did the event take place?

Freeman Centre
University of Sussex
East Sussex


For further information please contact:

Alison Melvin
Rural Research and Strategy Partnership Co-ordinator
Alice Holt Lodge
Surrey, GU10 4LH

Tel: 01420 526 194