Foresight or ‘futures’ exercises


citizen participation, community groups, dialogue, planning, co-operative, committee, visioning, future, foresight.

Citizens should be involved in designing, planning, and building their future environment. Foresight’ or ‘futures’ exercises, focus on designing sustainability visions and scenarios for the future. These should not be too technical or distant for citizens.  The toolkit developed by Utrecht University offers practical guidance, tools, and tips on how to set up collaborations in thinking about and jointly developing future sustainability actions.

Access the toolkit (opens off-site)

Target Audience: Sustainability Committee Members, community groups.

This toolkit focuses on citizen participation in devising foresight methods. It gives hands-on tips and tricks on how to organize participatory exercises and use particularly useful foresight methods.

The toolkit is developed for municipalities and governments (e.g. policymakers), NGOs and community leaders/organizers, and third parties (e.g. consultants), who want to engage citizens in thinking about how to become more climate-resilient and sustainable in the future.

The step by step guidance makes it suitable for readers without any experience in citizen participation and/or foresight exercises.  More experienced readers will also find innovative combinations of methods and tools that are unique within the field of citizen participation and foresight. Interested readers will be given more detailed background information as well as be updated with the latest case study examples.

The reader is walked through the toolkit in two phases: prior to the exercise, or what we call the ‘preparation phase’, and also during the exercise itself – the ‘action phase’.

The Chapters give a basic idea on how to organize foresight exercises in practice. Greater background information is given at the end of the toolkit, as are two example cases illustrating the four Chapters: one participatory foresight exercise organized in an urban delta in
The Netherlands and one in a rural area in Africa.

The toolkit is based partly on the CoCliServ project on citizen involvement in foresight for climate resilience. It also draws on lessons from a long-running global participatory foresight project under the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food security Program, where foresight has been used for over 10 years and across 30 different countries to successfully guide policies and strategies.

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