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.


Adinda Van Hemelrijck

Postgraduate Researcher

Image of Amber Huff

Amber Huff

Research Fellow

Image of Amy Warmington

Amy Warmington

Project Manager (ICTD)

Image of Carolina Szyp

Carolina Szyp

Research Officer

Image of Dirk Willenbockel

Dirk Willenbockel

Research Fellow

Image of Dominic Glover

Dominic Glover

Research Fellow

Image of Elise Wach

Elise Wach

Research Advisor

Image of Gabriele Köhler

Gabriele Köhler

Honorary Associate



Conceptualisation of Earmarked Taxes to Support Food Fortification

Food fortification is one of the most rapid, cost-effective, scalable and evidence-based impactful strategies to reach hundreds of millions to combat micronutrient malnutrition, when delivered as intended (Horton, 2006, Keats et al., 2019; Mbuya et al., 2020; Saha et al, 2021). However, the...

Recent work

Upcoming Event

Art, environnement et activisme en Afrique

How can the arts be used in environmental communication and dialogue? We present experiences using arts-led deliberation from across Africa. Citizens, researchers, activists, policy actors, artists and others are welcome. Activists and policy actors in East and West Africa work to tackle...

8 December 2022


L’usage des arts pour le dialogue environnemental au Sahel

IDS Policy Briefing 205

L’art a été utilisé pour communiquer les préoccupations environnementales dans les pays sahéliens. Néanmoins, le dialogue dirigé par les arts entre les acteurs politiques et les citoyens est cependant rare, bien qu’il ait le potentiel de trouver des solutions aux problèmes...

1 December 2022