Rural and post-industrial perspectives on the just transition - RSA report - RSA

Rural and post-industrial perspectives on the just transition


  • Democracy and governance
  • Environment

Participatory futures approaches aim to involve a diverse range of citizens in exploring and shaping different possible futures. These approaches can help better incorporate lived experience into decision-making and help build legitimacy in just transition planning by giving a voice to communities most impacted by change.

In partnership with the Scottish Government, the RSA hosted workshops in Fife and Dumfries to explore how changes to the energy system could impact these areas and bring together citizens to collectively imagine better futures.

Each workshop convened a wide range of stakeholders, including citizens and workers whose voices are not usually heard in policy dialogues. We had three main aims which were crucial in informing the design of our workshops. We wanted to:

  1. Build participants’ understanding of issues relating to a changing energy system.
  2. Surface different perspectives, opportunities, and concerns, rooted in lived experience, to inform the ESJTP.
  3. Create an inclusive and engaging experience for participants, to help build connections across communities while giving people an opportunity to have fun and think differently about their local area.

Each workshop consisted of three main activities:

  • Rooting in place: an active listening exercise designed to surface participants’ perceptions of local needs, ecology, history, assets and opportunities – and their experience of past industrial transitions.
  • Exploring drivers of change: a foresight exercise that aims to identify and explore the implications of new technologies and societal changes for the local area and encourage participants to think from multiple perspectives, including local wildlife and natural ecosystems.
  • Creative visioning: reflective group discussions on the changes needed for a just transition and a creative activity based on The Thing From The Future game, which asked participants to produce speculative newspaper headlines, postcards, and objects from a desirable future.

This report details our workshop methodology, key findings and their relevance for the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan (ESJTP), and a series of recommendations for how to involve communities in just transition planning.

Download the Rural and post-industrial perspectives on the just transition report (PDF, 4.3 MB)

pdf 4.3 MB

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