Community planning is a complicated process that requires understanding the relationships between, and implications for, human and ecological systems. Systems models can support community planning, and used to examine the implications of different scenarios, meaning they illuminate a range of potential conditions that could result from implementing particular policies and plans, and/or developing local land in different ways (e.g. residential, commercial, mixed-use, agricultural and so forth). By engaging local government and community stakeholders, these models can be designed to capture a comprehensive but manageable range of key interests, concerns and values.
We recently published an article exploring a participatory approach for designing a community systems project in Squamish, British Columbia. Our research revealed that a participatory approach to modelling yielded many benefits, including alignment with normative participatory planning concepts, effective model scoping, accessing additional information sources, and enhancing local social capital and investment. For access to the article, click here.