Participatory Modelling for Resilient Futures

Participatory Modelling for Resilient Futures

Action for Managing Our Environment from the Bottom-Up

1st Edition - November 13, 2017

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  • Editors: Richard Hewitt, Veronica Hernandez Jimenez, Ana Moratalla, Blanca Martín, Lara Bermejo, Maria Encinas
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444639837
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444639820

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Participatory Modelling for Resilient Futures: Action for Managing Our Environment from the Bottom-Up, Volume One provides an important contribution to environmental management by introducing an integrative framework for participatory research for better land use and natural resource planning, organized around compelling recent case studies. It is a valuable guide for the increasing number of students looking for solutions in sustainability science and also practitioners who are on the ground working with local communities to improve specific places. The book was developed in response to the need to provide a clear and synthetic account, in accessible and non-technical language, of the way in which innovative integrative research can help solve real world human-environment interaction problems at a range of levels and scales, e.g., participatory modelling to secure a sustainable future for a natural protected area, working with stakeholders to break the deadlock on renewable energy implementation in Europe or tackling social exclusion and reducing food carbon footprint through local agroecology schemes.

Key Features

  • Makes modeling approaches accessible so environmental and natural resource managers can make more precise decisions, accounting for a positive and negative impacts of ecosystem changes
  • Provides recent real cases to demonstrate implementation of the concepts, allowing the reader to see how to bridge scientific research and societal needs in order to effectively translate knowledge into action
  • Provides an integrated perspective incorporating science, politics and society, as well as a toolbox of methodologies to enhance participation and engagement of key stakeholders


Students and researchers working in sustainability science, resilience and participatory processes applied to environmental problems. Members of civil society organisations (community groups, cooperatives, associations, NGOs) or SMEs looking for a technical guide to assist development of their own participatory processes. Public administrators dealing with human-environment interaction issues at all levels of governance, e.g. environment ministers, land planners, natural area managers

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction - Integrative approaches for better land and resources planning

    2. Strategies and techniques – a living, changing process

     Choosing the right approach

    Introduction to the chapter, the cyclical nature of the participatory process, explanation of the four groups of techniques presented.

     Appraisal, dialogue and observation techniques

    Description of techniques:

    Collaborative intelligence techniques (brainstorming, snowballing), interviews and surveys, stakeholder mapping, key informants, socio-ecological transects, life stories, discussion groups, triangulation groups etc.

     Research and analysis techniques

    Description of techniques:

    Geographical analysis, SWOT analysis, sociograms, timelines, tendency lines, discourse analysis, problems/objectives tree, flow diagrams, knowledge co-generation, social learning etc.

     Action techniques

    Description of techniques:

    Multi-criteria decision models, participatory cartography, trade-offs analysis, participatory scenario planning, multimedia visualisation, participatory indicator development, participatory action plans, consolidation of motor groups, taking off.

     Evaluation techniques

    Description of techniques:

    The ladder of participation, the dartboard technique, refutation.

    3. Experiences

    This chapter presents a series of case studies in which the techniques presented above are applied to the real cases. The chapter is divided into 3 blocks in which broadly similar approaches are grouped together

     Time as a lens

    Introduction to the chapter and explanation of the case studies

     Case studies 1: dialogue with the past, understanding the present, looking to the future

    In order to work together to secure our common future it's important that we understand and value what we already have. If we think that what we have has no value, we won't miss it until it's gone.

    This block presents case studies related to understanding and valuing common resources as a precursor to deeper analysis and action, as follows:

    - Valuing public works in rural areas (VAPROP) in Estremadura, Rioja and Cantabria.

    - Participatory strategies for transhumance (Cantabria and Madrid region)

    - Cattle droveways – dialogue with the past, pathways to history (Madrid region)

    - Raising public awareness of common resources: the Jarama riverbank, Madrid region.

    - Pastures and cattle in Cantabria in the 21st century.

     Case studies 2: Between city and country

    Application of a one-size fits all economic model to the territory creates false dichotomies between urban and rural leading to rural depopulation, urban sprawl, unequal distribution of resources and unsustainable modes of subsistence. Communities must bridge this imaginary divide and take control of their means of subsistence.

    The places we inhabit and the exchanges of knowledge, goods and services between them are crucial to the way we live. Despite the "flattening" effect of globalisation, no two places are the same. In contrary to the logic of the free market, the territory is not an empty space waiting to be occupied by whatever use offers the maximum monetary return in a given moment, but a rich store of natural capital, human history and culture. The continued imposition of this global paradigm of "land as a consumer product" threatens to destroy the spaces in which we live. Central to this destructive idea is the treatment of urban and rural areas as exclusive opposites. All too often rural development is simply urbanisation by another name. Likewise the total dedication of the city to consumption, and the exclusion of spaces dedicated to production is something we have begun to regard as normal. This block presents cases aimed at bridging the urban-rural divide and improving the relationship of society to the environment, principally centred around the search for more sustainable and self-sufficient subsistence networks and a healthier relationship between urban and rural areas.

    - How agrarian spaces can be properly integrated in urban planning (project PAEC-SP 2012-14)

    - Farmer's perceptions of the environmental impact of agrarian activities (project IMIDRA 2013)

    - Supporting communities through sustainable agrarian initiatives (city council of Azuqueca, platform Ciempozuelos river bank, Zarzalejo CSA)

    - COST action urban agriculture in Europe.

    - When the city grows up – workshops of reflection on Madrid's territorial model.

     Case studies 3: Conflicts, citizens and decision-makers

    To secure truly long-lasting solutions to territorial problems, it is important to work at the right scale. Entrenched conflicts can be solved through integrative approaches in which the citizen becomes the decision maker.

    The experiences developed in the previous two blocks show how citizens and policy makers can come together to develop initiatives that restore value and pride to communities and challenge established paradigms. However, in many cases, there are real and lasting conflicts between stakeholders over how to manage the same resources or territory. In these cases, more elaborate approaches may be required.

    This block presents examples of integrative research bridging science, policy and civil society. As in case studies block 1, the case studies presented in this block apply some of the techniques detailed in chapter 2, but in a more developed and extended way. The aim is to show how substantial analytical research activities can be successfully integrated with in-depth participatory processes. Three case studies are presented integrating modelling, participatory scenario planning and policy support actions:

    - Time-geographical approaches to emergence and sustainable societies (TiGrESS)

    - Modelling land use dynamics in the Spanish network of national parks and their hinterland (DUSPANAC)

    - COMPLEX – pathways to a low-carbon economy (APoLUS model, Navarre)


    4. Reflections and future pathways

     Back to the beginning

     Lessons learnt

     Where do we go from here?

Product details

  • No. of pages: 236
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2017
  • Published: November 13, 2017
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • eBook ISBN: 9780444639837
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444639820

About the Series Volume Editors

Richard Hewitt

Richard J. Hewitt. PhD (2014), University of Alcala, Spain, Geographical Information Technologies, integration of participatory processes in land use models). Master (2006), University of Newcastle, United Kingdom (Geographical Information Systems), BSc Archaeology (1997), University College London. Member of the technical team of the Observatory for a Culture of Territory (OCT), Madrid, Spain, Researcher in spatial land planning in James Hutton Institute, Scotland, UK. Principal current research themes include geographical modelling, participatory land planning, and renewable energy.

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Spain and James Hutton Institute, UK

Veronica Hernandez Jimenez

Verónica Hernández-Jiménez. PhD in Participatory Planning (2007), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom. Agricultural Engineer (2001), Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. Founding member of the Observatory for a Culture of Territory (OCT), Madrid, Spain. Researcher and practitioner in rural planning and landscape, food systems and agroecology, transition initiatives and resilient communities applying participatory action research from local to global scales.

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain

Ana Moratalla

Ana Zazo Moratalla. PhD in Peripheries, Sustainability and Urban Vitality (2015), Máster Urban Studies (2010), Architect (2006) Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. Academic at the University of Bío Bío (Concepción, Chile). Collaborator member of the Observatory for a Culture of Territory (OCT), Madrid, Spain. Principal current research themes include urban food systems, participatory land planning, and rural-urban linkages

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Spain and University of Bío Bío, Chile.

Blanca Martín

Blanca Ocón. Master in Planning and Rural Development (2005), Polytechnic University of Madrid. Agricultural Engineer: Rural engineering (2001), Polytechnic University of Madrid. Founding member of the Observatory for a Culture of Territory (OCT), Cantabria, Spain. Lecturer at a Technological Institute of agriculture and livestock, Cantabria, Spain.

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Spain

Lara Bermejo

Lara Román. PhD in Agroecology, Social Sciences and Rural Development (2016), University of Andalusia and Institute of Sociology and Peasant Studies, Spain. Agronomist (2001) Polytechnic University of Madrid. Researcher and trainer of rural development and agroecology, specialised in participatory action research. Founding Member of the Observatory for a Culture of the Territory (OCT), Madrid, Spain.

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Spain

Maria Encinas

María Encinas. PhD in Landscape analysis (2000), Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. Biology Bachelor (1994), Complutense University of Madrid. Researcher in landscape planning and biodiversity, Lecturer at European University of Madrid (1999-2008). Project Coordinator at Global Biodiversity Information Facility Spain (2008-2011). Manager at En las Nubex, environmental awareness on nature (2011-2017). Collaborator of the Observatory for a Culture of Territory (OCT), Extremadura, Spain

Affiliations and Expertise

Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, Spain

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