Participatory systems mapping for sustainable consumption: Discussion of a method promoting systemic insights

Sedlacko, Michal and Martinuzzi, Robert-Andre and Røpke, Inge and Videira, Nuno and Antunes, Paula (2014) Participatory systems mapping for sustainable consumption: Discussion of a method promoting systemic insights. Ecological Economics, 106. pp. 33-43. ISSN 0921-8009


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The paper describes our usage of and experience with the method of participatory systems mapping. The method, developed for the purpose of facilitating knowledge brokerage, builds on participatory modelling approaches and applications and was used in several events involving both researchers and policy makers. The paper presents and discusses examples of how different types of participatory interaction with causal loop diagrams ("system maps") produced different insights on issues related to sustainable consumption and enabled participatory reflection and sharing of knowledge. Together, these insights support a systemic understanding of the issues and thus the method provides instruments for coping with complexity when formulating policies for sustainable consumption. Furthermore the paper discusses the ability of the method - and its limits - to connect mental models of participants through structured discussion and thus bridge boundaries between different communities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: To see the final version of this paper please visit the publisher's website. Access to the published version requires a subscription. Research for this paper has been conducted as part of the project Linking Research and Policy Making for Managing the Contradictions of Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth (RESPONDER), one of the knowledge brokerage projects funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7; grant agreement no. 265297) to increase use of available evidence and scientific expertise in sustainable development and environmental policy making ( In addition to the funders the authors would like to express their thanks to event participants, to all project partners for hosting the events and contributing to method discussions, to participants of the SusCon 2011, 18th ISDRC, 2012 ISEE and EMSCR 2014 conferences and of the 1st Transatlantic SCORAI workshop for their feedback on the earlier versions of this paper, and to Petter Næss, Christian Haefke as well as to the two anonymous reviewers for valuable contributions.
Keywords: sustainable consumption / systems thinking / knowledge brokerage / participatory systems mapping / causal loop diagrams / mental models
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 11:16
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 14:59
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