New Horizons: key challenges facing people and communities in next 5 years

Local government and Warwick Business School have analysed the key challenges facing us all in the next five years.  The report (available here) is wide ranging and should be read by anybody interested in strategic development.

The ‘Great Contextual Challenges’ of the 21st century are identified as:

  1. Ageing population
  2. Health
  3. Families in crisis
  4. Climate change
  5. Local economic development and regeneration

The report’s authors tell us we need to:

  1. De-centre our basic assumptions on the relationships between the state, markets and civil society
  2. Look for a new framework in the relationship between citizens and government (a new paradigm or mindset)
  3. Look for a new balance between the public, private and ‘third’ sectors

Three grand challenges are outlined:

  1. Greenhouse gases (GHG) and the move to a low-carbon economy
  2. Food, water and human security, more particularly when faced with an ageing population and vulnerable groups in developing countries
  3. An increasingly pluralistic and diverse governance framework

Anti-political attitudes are also addressed and emphasis is also given to shamrock organisations.  Coummunity sourcing rather than outsourcing may be part of the answer, and Web 2 offers distinct possibilities for networking and open source creativity.

So what?  This type of thinking needs to inform longer-term land management.  The obvious questions are already there: how to prepare for climate change, how to engage in the localism agenda.  But rather less obviously: what does an ageing population mean for land managers – opportunity or threat?  To what extent is anti-politics a threat to the stability needed for effective long-term land governance, and in particular does the emergence of a pluralistic and diverse governance framework add to the complexity of the land manager’s task, or provide further opportunities.  If, as seems likely, it does a bit of both, where does the advantage lie?

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