Chapter 5: Futures-thinking: concepts, methods and capacities for adaptive governance
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Uncertain and transformative futures are faced because of accelerated impacts of climate change and other global drivers. Whilst some social-ecological transformations will likely be forced upon society, proactive and deliberate transformations towards more sustainable futures are possible. As such, futures-thinking and “futures methods” that can be used to anticipate and proactively engage with uncertain futures and transformative change will be increasingly essential in adaptive governance. Futures methods provide strategies and tools to explore, identify, and navigate choices when anticipating and responding to socio-political and environmental change. The chapter contributes to discussions regarding how futures-thinking relates to adaptive governance by exploring how futures methods support adaptive and transformative capacities. We propose that thinking critically, systematically, and strategically about the future is vital for adaptive governance scholarship and practice. We conclude by arguing for an expanded approach to adaptive governance, capable of confronting long-term perspectives of future uncertainty and transformative change.

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