Forecasting the future: an overview of the strategic planning of the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation
Hart, D., (2004) Forecasting the future: an overview of the strategic planning of the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation. Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning. 18/04. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp18.
An important part of strategic planning’s purpose should be to attempt to forecast the future, not simply to belatedly respond to events, or accept the future as inevitable. This paper puts forward a conceptual approach for seeking to achieve these aims and uses the Bournemouth and Poole area in Dorset as a vehicle for applying the basic methodology. The area has been chosen because of the significant issues that it currently faces in planning terms; and its future development possibilities. In order that alternative future choices for the area – different ‘developmental trajectories’ – can be evaluated, they must be carefully and logically constructed. Four Futures for Bournemouth/Poole have been put forward; they are titled and colour-coded: Future One is Maximising Growth – Golden Prospect which seeks to achieve the highest level of economic prosperity of the area; Future Two is Incremental Growth – Solid Silver which attempts to facilitate a steady, continuing, controlled pattern of the development for the area; Future Three is Steady State – Cobalt Blue which suggests that people in the area could be more concerned with preserving their quality of life in terms of their leisure and recreation rather than increasing wealth; Future Four is Environment First – Jade Green which makes the area’s environmental protection its top priority even at the possible expense of economic prosperity. The scenarios proposed here are not sacrosanct. Nor are they simply confined to the Bournemouth and Poole area. In theory, suitably modified, they could use in a variety of different contexts. Consideration of the scenarios – wherever located - might then generate other, additional scenarios. These are called hybrids, alloys and amalgams. Likewise it might identify some of them as inappropriate or impossible. Most likely, careful consideration of the scenarios will suggest hybrid scenarios, in which features from different scenarios are combined to produce alternative or additional futures for consideration. The real issue then becomes how best to fashion such a future for the particular area under consideration