Environmental Policy Development and Decision-Making

Format: Papers, RSD4, Topic: Policy & Governance

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’.

Citation Data

Author(s): SEPTEMBER 2015
Title: Environmental Policy Development and Decision-Making
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Article No.:
Symposium Dates:
First published: 28 July 2015
Last update:
Publisher Identification:

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


Verified by MonsterInsights