By Beatrice Hedelin
How can we resolve debates about participatory processes between proponents and skeptics? What role can participatory modelling play in improving participatory processes?
Proponents argue for the merits of participatory processes, which include learning; co-production of knowledge; development of shared understanding of a problem and shared goals; creation of trust; and local power and ownership of a problem.
Sceptics point to evidence of inefficient, time-consuming, participatory processes that escalate conflict and mistrust. They also highlight democratic problems; lack of transparency; and powerful actors that benefit in relation to weaker ones such as the unorganized, poor, and uneducated.