Scenario planning plots future

THE future sustainability of key WA regions over the next 30 years is being guided by a unique project at Curtin University of Technology.

As part of its Future Perth Project, the State Planning Commission contracted Curtin’s JCII’s Scenario Planning and Research Unit (SPARU) - in the Graduate School of Business - to help establish an integrated framework of strategies to guide the evolution of metropolitan Perth and the South-West.

SPARU was created within the JCII to enable corporations to examine the impact of rapidly changing social, economic and political trends in countries of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions on themselves and on their operating environment, primarily in the context of scenario planning.

The WA State Planning Commission’s overall aim was to use scenario planning to assist in establishing a shared vision for the future of the South-West Urban System and its constituent areas: The Perth Metropolitan, Peel and Greater Bunbury Regions.

The scenario planning process involves a process of interviews, workshops and environmental planning.

For the Future Perth Project, input was sought from more than 70 stakeholders in the wider community - people with expertise in relevant fields including youth, aged, business, environment and the community.

From these stakeholders, 20 representatives were invited to participate in a workshop to develop scenarios in Perth and the Bunbury region.

During these and subsequent research, scenarios were created that helped provide four very different pictures of metropolitan Perth and the South-West region in the year 2010.

Some might regard scenario planning as crystal-ball gazing, but, in reality, it adds a new dimension to strategic planning and risk management.

It is an important tool for any major company, institution or government, because it enables planners to anticipate factors that might affect future operations.

Copies of the Future Perth scenario planning report are available from the WASPC, Albert Facey House, 469 Wellington Street, Perth WA 6000.

* Professor Jo Barker is executive director of the John Curtin International Institute.

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