Building scenarios for environmental, nature and spatial planning policy

Guidance Document

PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency has published the guidance document Building scenarios for environmental, nature and spatial planning policy, in addition to a guidance document on the use of these scenarios. This guidance document gives an overview of the successive steps that can be taken in creating scenarios, the choices to be made during each step and the possibilities and limitations involved in those choices. The document is based on the long and rich experience of PBL in building scenarios at national, local, European and global levels.

Key steps in building scenarios

The guidance document leads the readers through the successive phases of a scenario project. For each phase, the document also discusses the choices that can be made as well as their possibilities and limitations.

  • Preparation phase: outline scenario project, define deliverables, selects methods, and organise scenario project
  • Implementation phase – developing scenario components: construct a baseline scenario, develop contextual scenarios, develop policy scenarios, make additional choices, and derive key messages
  • Implementation phase – applying methods: organise stakeholder participation, write essays, produce particular designs, carry out model calculations and combine and integrate methods
  • Completion phase: record the outcomes, account for the methodology, and disseminate the results

Useful for various target groups

The guidance document primarily focuses on researchers working on local, national, European and/or global levels. The document is also interesting for managers and policymakers who are planning to request or commission a scenario study.


PBL Authors
Ed Dammers
Other authors
Susan van ’t Klooster
Henk Hilderink
Arthur Petersen
Willemijn Tuinstra
Bert de Wit


Publication title
Building scenarios for environmental, nature and spatial planning policy
Publication subtitle
a guidance document
Publication date
30 September 2019
Publication type
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Publication language
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