Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Environmental sciences (social aspects, Cultural and economic geography, Urban studies (Planning and development)

Publication Details

Foresight, 2004, Vol. 6, Iss. 2, pp80-90


We are living in times of unprecedented global change and upheaval and over the next ten to 20 years governments, organisations and individuals will face increasing difficulties in an environment of growing complexity, heightened uncertainty and a quickening pace of change. The concept of sustainable development implies the reconciliation of long-term socio-economic development, environmental protection and quality of life; essentially it is concerned with the future. Unfortunately, the potential for linking “futures thinking” to debates about sustainable development at local and regional government levels is relatively undeveloped, particularly in Ireland. Responding to this challenge, The Futures Academy at Technological University Dublin, Ireland, was established in January 2003 to provide both a research and consultancy forum for future-proofing policies and strategies using the “prospective through scenarios” methodology. This paper describes the evolution of sustainable development in Ireland and the generic field of futures thinking, with particular focus on the prospective process which may assist key local policy makers and stakeholders move towards sustainable development for future generations in Ireland.