Understanding preferences to build a better future

Survey on living places, rural travel, and local food QR codes
Alan Robertson

A team of researchers led by The James Hutton Institute (JHI) in Aberdeen is hunting for volunteers to help them investigate what helps or hinders rural life in Scotland.

JHI is research institute located in Aberdeen and Dundee which focuses on the sustainable management of land, crops and natural resources for supporting thriving communities.

Through a series of surveys, they want to look at issues including rural transport and local food supplies, to see how these impact rural life, as well as preferences for moving to or between rural areas, including from cities. 

In the framework of a project funded by the Scottish Government, JHI are conducting a series of surveys to understand Scotland’s rural dwellers’ preferences as well as constraints and opportunities in terms of living places, rural travel, and local food to see how these impact rural life, as well as preferences for moving to or between rural areas, including from cities. 

The surveys can be completed by anyone in Scotland who live in rural areas or small towns, apart from the living places survey which is meant for urban dwellers too. The surveys will stay open until 7th November 2023.

“Rural areas cover 98% of Scotland and they are hugely important to the country’s life and identity, supporting sectors from farming and forestry to tourism and energy production,” says Simone Piras, a researcher at the Hutton, who is working on the project.

“While the Covid pandemic saw more people move into rural areas, we don’t think that pattern has been sustained long term, especially in more sparsely populated regions. So we’re keen to learn what the barriers and opportunities are around movement to and between Scotland’s rural areas, but also around affordable and sustainable transport and developing local resilient food systems in these areas.”

People aged over 18 can take part and participants will be able to enter a prize draw for £50 gift cards.

While most of the surveys are meant for rural dwellers, which includes those living in towns with a population under 10,000, one will also look at movement between rural areas or from urban to rural areas, so those in larger towns or cities can also take part.

Volunteers can find the surveys here: https://www.hutton.ac.uk/research/projects/rural-surveys-2023.