WIT Press

Futures Tools For Regional Development


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WIT Press


M. Rhisiart


In the European Union, there has been an increasing confluence of sustainable development and regional development policies. Regional development has taken a central role in delivering real, sustainable outcomes. The promotion of sustainability up the policy agenda creates a number of challenges within a regional development context. Past models of regional development have tended to focus on (single) issues such as physical infrastructure, digital capacity and technology transfer. A common feature of these regional development models is that they tend to be characterised by a relatively narrow network of actors, which have a common discourse. Sustainable development is a multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted concept and its growing importance in regional development policies has opened the door for new networks and new partnerships. Sustainable regional development requires new thinking and tools to ensure genuine integration and collaboration between different disciplines (Environment, Social, and Economic) and actors (Government, regulatory bodies, voluntary organisations, academics etc). Futures thinking can provide effective tools in brining together regional development actors from different backgrounds. Such approaches can foster strong participatory processes and alert actors to a range of trends and issues not previously considered. The paper will analyse how futures tools can be used in sustainable regional development processes. It illustrates how such approaches have been used to form multi-disciplinary responses to regional development challenges. Keywords: sustainable development, regional development, futures, scenarios. 1 Introduction Sustainable development has become a mainstream policy goal, albeit pursued with uneven vigour across the world. The European Union has outlined a


sustainable development, regional development, futures, scenarios.