- The text on this page is taken from an equivalent page of the IEHIAS-project.
Descriptive scenarios generally represent the conditions under which the issue will be assessed in the form of a ‘story’ about how the system of interest will change.
Usually, descriptive scenarios focus on the drivers of this change, and the initial responses of the system to the change, rather than on the outcomes. These are described largely qualitatively. Examples might be:
- agricultural policy: a description of how a switch towards a more locally-based and organic food production system, aimed at minimising energy inputs, might play out;
- urban development: an outline of how an increase in land prices and planning restrictions might lead to higher density and nucleated settlements;
- natural hazards: a description of how a major flood might affect a community, outlining the possible extent and ways in which people will respond.
The assessment will therefore have to translate these descriptions into more quantitative indicative states that can provide the reference points for analysis. Descriptive scenarios thus leave considerable scope for interpretation by the analyst.