Rural Futures Planning and Innovation

Rural places and communities, rapidly changing and evolving, have a complexity on a par with their urban counterparts in terms of the processes and trends that shape them. Equally, while particulars of what drives change and development in rural areas is linked to past and present knowledge, uncertainty about the future of rural areas, and even more so the ability to plan for the possible and desired shape of that future, continues to present a challenge. This programme responds to these challenges by focusing on how planning and innovation can contribute to the future of rural areas. The programme explores how we can envisage and strategically plan for rural change (including agricultural change), and how we might aim for alternative, desirable future rural developments based on the promotion of innovation. It emphasises how planning and innovation are linked to improvements—in methods, processes, products, services or technologies—in supporting and nurturing new ideas which promote a sustainable rural future.