The scenario method has been widely used by decision makers in business, industry and government for over 30 years as an unrivalled technique to learn about the future before it happens. This paper examines the principles, practice and pitfalls of scenario building with the prime aim of presenting the technique as one singularly relevant to the study of future property investment, development and management decisions and land use policy formulation. The origins of the approach from its military‐based beginnings, through the popularised global environmental applications to the current widescale use by industry and commerce are traced. Some definitions are advanced to demonstrate the multi‐various nature of the method, and different types of scenario identified to show their adaptability and agility. The general purpose of the technique as a learning mechanism for organizations is explored, and the step‐by‐step process of scenario building specifically analysed. Conclusions are drawn which record the success of scenario building in many fields other than property and predict the adoption of the scenario approach as the principal behavioural technique for determining corporate real estate strategy in the future.
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