Identifying pathways to visions of future land use in Europe

Pieter J. Verkerk*, Marcus Lindner, Marta Pérez-Soba, James S. Paterson, John Helming, Peter H. Verburg, Tobias Kuemmerle, Hermann Lotze-Campen, Alexander Moiseyev, Daniel Müller, Alexander Popp, Catharina J.E. Schulp, Julia Stürck, Andrzej Tabeau, Bernhard Wolfslehner, Emma H. van der Zanden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Plausible scenarios of future land use derived from model projections may differ substantially from what is actually desired by society, and identifying such mismatches is important for identifying policies to resolve them. This paper presents an approach to link explorative projections of future land use for the European Union to normative visions of desired land-use futures. We used the results of 24 scenario projections obtained from seven linked simulation models to explore uncertainty in future land-use developments. Land-use projections were linked to statements made by stakeholders for three normative visions of desired, future land use. The visions differed in the scale of multifunctionality of land use: at European (Best Land in Europe), regional (Regional Connected) or local (Local Multifunctional) level. To identify pathways to these visions, we analysed in which cases projected land-use changes matched with the land-use changes desired in the visions. We identified five pathways to the vision Regional Connected, two pathways to the vision Best Land in Europe, but no pathway to the vision Local Multifunctional. Our results suggest that policies have the ability to change the development of land use such that it is more in line with land-use futures desired by society. We believe our approach represents an interesting avenue for foresight studies on land use, as it combines the credibility from explorative scenarios with legitimacy and saliency of normative visions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-830
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number3
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Explorative scenarios
  • Land use
  • Normative visions
  • Pathways


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