What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations

Abstract

The future of rural areas is unpredictable, but it can be explored. This article draws from selected Futures Studies to identify global trends and discontinuities in these trends that could affect rural areas in contrasting ways. These drivers are combined to explore plausible rural transformations, focusing on two major dimensions. One is rooted in societal values and worldviews about the rural world. The other is rooted in consumers’ preferences and how they link to production systems. As a result, seven plausible transformations are identified and discussed. Some of them are already happening, others are in an embryonic stage in various places. Some are desirable, others are not. They call for societal choices and immediate action if the future of rural areas is to be the future we want for them.

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Correspondence to Robin Bourgeois.

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Bourgeois, R. What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations. Development 58, 177–186 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41301-016-0017-1

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KEYWORDS

  • foresight
  • rural development
  • trends
  • disruptions
  • agriculture