Environmental Policy Development and Decision-Making

Authors: Brian Woodward & Arden Brummel

Taking Stock was a year-long project undertaken by Alberta Eco-Trust to understand and address long-standing issues with respect to the way Albertans create and use environmental policy to make decisions concerning land, air, water and bio-diversity in the Province. This paper describes and critiques the methodology used in the project: Scenario Development, Systems Mapping and a form of Systems Design. These three approaches, used in combination, represent a substantive interdisciplinary approach to a complex multi-stakeholder problem area. General findings conclude that engaging ‘seasoned policy practitioners’ with widely different perspectives in all work phases has promising potential but comes with a number of additional ‘care points’. The aspirational form of the scenarios proved to be a useful format for participant understanding but required ‘expertise’ in creating the necessary narratives and articulation of the challenges. The systems mapping format brought to life the complexity and structure of the current dynamics but required sufficient learning time to ‘read the maps’. The representational form of the systems maps proved to be a useful (but restricted) format for the design phase with the systems requirements generated by the scenarios work providing the ‘design criteria’.

Posted: Jul-2015

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