Public participation geographical information systems

By Nora Fagerholm, María García-Martín, Mario Torralba, Claudia Bieling and Tobias Plieninger

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1. Nora Fagerholm; 2. María García-Martín; 3. Mario Torralba; 4. Claudia Bieling; 5. Tobias Plieninger (biographies)

What is encompassed by public participation geographical information systems? What resources are required? What are the strengths and weaknesses of involving stakeholders?

Participatory mapping combines cartography with participatory approaches to put the knowledge, experiences, and aspirations of people on a map. Under this umbrella term, public participation geographical information systems refers to the use of geographical information systems (GIS) and modern communication technologies to engage the general public and stakeholders in participatory planning and decision-making.

In practice, the terms public participation GIS and participatory GIS are often used interchangeably to:

1. identify place-based values, perceptions, or attitudes, such as landscape values, ecosystem services, environmental quality factors, perceived problems or unpleasant experiences;

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Managing complexity with human learning systems

By Toby Lowe

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Toby Lowe (biography)

How can those in public service – be they researchers, policy makers or workers in government agencies, private businesses managers, or voluntary and community organisation leaders – think more effectively about improving people’s lives, when they understand that each person’s life is a unique complex system?

A good starting point is understanding that real outcomes in people’s lives aren’t “delivered” by organisations (or by projects, partnerships or programmes, etc). Outcomes are created by the hundreds of different factors in the unique complex system that is each person’s life.

In other words, an outcome is the product of hundreds of different people, organisations, and factors in the world all coming together in a unique and ever-changing combination in a particular person’s life. Very little of what influences the outcome is under the control or influence of those who undertake public service.

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Participatory scenario planning

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1. Maike Hamann (biography)
2. Tanja Hichert (biography)
3. Nadia Sitas (biography)

By Maike Hamann, Tanja Hichert and Nadia Sitas

Within the many different ways of developing scenarios, what are useful general procedures for participatory processes? What resources are required? What are the strengths and weaknesses of involving stakeholders?

Scenarios are vignettes or narratives of possible futures, and when used in a set, usually depict purposefully divergent visions of what the future may hold. The point of scenario planning is not to predict the future, but to explore its uncertainties. Scenario development has a long history in corporate and military strategic planning, and is also commonly used in global environmental assessments to link current decision-making to future impacts. Participatory scenario planning extends scenario development into the realm of stakeholder-engaged research.

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Extending the DPSIR (Driving forces, Pressures, States, Impacts, Responses) framework

By Will Allen

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Will Allen (biography)

What is the DPSIR framework? How can it be extended to improve the ability to describe the interactions between society and the environment?

DPSIR (Driving forces, Pressures, States, Impacts, Responses) is a framework for describing and analysing the important and interlinked relationships between social and environmental factors (see the first figure below).

Different groups use these terms in slightly different ways, dependent on their disciplinary backgrounds – and given the diverse range of uses that the framework is put to, it probably does not make sense to attempt to create rigid definitions.

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Adaptive skilling

By Seema Purushothaman

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Seema Purushothaman (biography)

How can tribal societies forge a healthy equilibrium wherein short-term gains in livelihoods can be achieved without permanent loss in quality and security of tribal life? Are there lessons beyond the developmental journeys of the marginalised to how societies can craft informed, deliberative and adaptive mechanisms to generate blended knowledge that links diverse systems of learning and practice?

We suggest that the answer lies in adaptive skilling (Purushothaman et al., 2022).

What is adaptive skilling?

The process of adaptive skilling is more than mere avoidance of deskilling or just ensuring the continuity of individual and social learning.

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Replacing conferences with effective online learning experiences

By Maha Bali, George Station and Mia Zamora

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1. Maha Bali (biography)
2. George Station (biography)
3. Mia Zamora (biography)

What options are there for developing effective online replacements for face-to-face conferences? How can these options promote better access for those without funds or freedom to travel? How can they contribute to climate justice?

We share our experience in co-organising (with others) Equity Unbound’s inaugural Mid-Year Festival 2022, aka #MYFest22 (referred to throughout as MYFest), a virtual event that sought to center community and support, and avoid the many pitfalls of online, in-person and hybrid events.

Equity Unbound is an equity-focused, connected intercultural learning network that co-creates diverse, open learning experiences. MYFest was not a conference per se, but was designed to be a three-month-long “recharge and renewal experience” with a “choose-your-own-learning journey” approach, exploring a variety of themes, in our case around equitable learning. In addition, two themes intentionally addressed isolation: “well-being and joy” and “community building and community reflection.”

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Resolving disagreements by negotiating agreements in the right way

By Lawrence Susskind

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Lawrence Susskind (biography)

How can interdisciplinary teams avoid getting stuck on questions like:

  1. What kinds of data do we need to collect?
  2. What methods or techniques should we use to analyze our data?
  3. How should we handle gaps or incongruities in our findings?
  4. What are the policy implications or prescriptions that follow from our findings?

I want to share some lessons I’ve learned about handling disagreements on these four questions.

Research Design

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Systems thinking in public policy: Making space to think differently

By Catherine Hobbs

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Catherine Hobbs (biography)

Why does public policy go wrong? How can researchers who are systems thinkers begin to create the conditions in which those involved in public policy may flourish within their possible spheres of ‘horizontal’ influence?

The public policy context and why it goes wrong

Jake Chapman’s System Failure: Why Governments Must Learn to Think Differently (2002; 2004) remains a much-quoted report. In his second (2004) edition, however, Chapman reflects that, despite an enthusiastic reception, there had been “very little substantive shift in either policy or management styles within government” (2004: p.10).

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Multidisciplinary perspectives on unknown unknowns

By Gabriele Bammer

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Gabriele Bammer (biography)

This is part of a series of occasional “synthesis blog posts” drawing together perspectives on related topics across i2Insights contributions.

How can different disciplines and practitioners enhance the ability to understand and manage unknown unknowns, also referred to as deep uncertainty?

Seventeen blog posts have addressed these issues, covering:

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Stakeholder engagement: Learning from Arnstein’s ladder and the IAP2 spectrum

By Gabriele Bammer

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Gabriele Bammer (biography)

What can researchers interested in stakeholder engagement learn from two classic frameworks on citizen involvement in government decision making – Arnstein’s ladder and the IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation) spectrum of public participation?

Arnstein’s ladder

Sherry Arnstein (1969) developed an eight-rung ladder, shown in the figure below, to illustrate that there are significant gradations of citizen participation in government decision making.

The two bottom rungs are manipulation and therapy.

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Pause… How art and literature can transform transdisciplinary research

By Jane Palmer and Dena Fam

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1. Jane Palmer (biography)
2. Dena Fam (biography)

What might make us stop and think differently about the ways in which we interact with our environment and others, human and nonhuman? What kind of knowing about acute threats to the natural environment will sufficiently motivate action?

We suggest that art and literature can offer us a pause in which we might, firstly, imagine other less anthropocentric ways of being in the world, and secondly, a way into Basarab Nicolescu’s “zone of non-resistance” (2014, p. 192), where we become truly open to new transdisciplinary forms of collaboration.

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Advancing considerations of affect in interdisciplinary collaborations

By Mareike Smolka, Erik Fisher and Alexandra Hausstein

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1. Mareike Smolka (biography)
2. Erik Fisher (biography)
2. Alexandra Hausstein’s biography

Have you ever had a fleeting impression of seeing certainty disrupted, the impulse to laugh when your expectations were broken, or a startling sense of something being both familiar and foreign at the same time?

As social scientists engaged in collaborative studies with natural scientists and engineers, we have had these experiences repeatedly while doing research.

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