Rural Futures

Through our research, policy engagement, teaching and training, we support the emergence of development pathways that deliver both greater social justice and sustainability for rural people and places, while recognising their important interconnections with urban areas and the links between local change processes and those at national and global levels.

Rural societies, economies and areas face challenges and opportunities that can be qualitatively different from their urban analogues, including limited access to infrastructure, services and political decision-making and greater exposure to some kinds of environmental shocks and stresses.

Many possible rural futures can be envisaged, each carrying implications for local livelihoods, poverty and social relations, conflict, migration, production and distribution systems, food security, natural resource management and environmental change.

We believe that improvements in social justice and sustainability can be achieved by opening up a diversity of economic, environmental and technological pathways, practices, models and institutional arrangements that create new democratic spaces, strengthen social movements, enhance innovation and empower rural men, women and young people to take greater control over their productive assets.

The aspirations, agency, voices and assets of rural people must be central to these dynamic processes. The empowerment of people in rural areas who are poor and vulnerable are central to our concerns.

Key contacts

Lídia Cabral

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Dominic Glover

Rural Futures Cluster Lead



Recent work

Past Event

International Conference on Global Land Grabbing

The Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) is hosting an International Conference on Global Land Grabbing in Bogota, Colombia with partners including the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Cornell University, City University of New York,  International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The...

From 19 March 2024 until 21 March 2024


What happened to the global land grab?

In 2011, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) hosted a major conference on land grabbing to take stock of the impacts across the world. The event was convened by the recently formed Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI), which involved IDS through the Future Agricultures Consortium and the...

15 March 2024



Implementation Research in Food Policy

Our Implementation research work maps the process of design and delivery of project interventions using methods such as social network analysis, behavioural change assessments and political risk analysis. It works with a theory of change to identify and analyse areas for strengthening of...


Backstopping 2SCALE

With the financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS), the 2SCALE programme started in June 2012, and is one of the largest incubators of inclusive agribusiness in sub-Saharan Africa. 2SCALE provides a range of support services to private partners – companies and...


Closing the Living Wage Gap 2022 – 2025

The research is targeted to the baseline phase of a four-year research effort to explore the living wage (LW) approach set out in the 2020 Rainforest Alliance (RA) Sustainable Agriculture Standard. The new standard requires that all workers receive at least the minimum wage in their country and...