Understanding preferences to build a better future for rural Scotland

View of Dunkeld bridge from hilltop
Alan Robertson

Researchers from The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen are conducting surveys to understand the challenges of opportunities facing Scotland’s vast rural areas. In particular, their research focuses on localities as potential places to live, rural travel, and local food. 

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

Scottish Government is funding the research work and the outputs may help with the devlopment of future policies that impact rural communities and the rural ecponomy. People aged over 18 can take part and participants will be able to enter a prize draw for £50 gift cards.

Simone Piras, a researcher at the Hutton, who is working on the project said: 

“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,”

“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.”

Over the next 18 months, we JHI will organise a series of activities where community members can discuss the survey topics more in detail. These events will take place online or in person, depending on availability.

You can find more information, incuding links to the surverys, here