Sustainability 2010, 2(8), 2686-2706; doi:10.3390/su2082686
Article

Using Scenario Visioning and Participatory System Dynamics Modeling to Investigate the Future: Lessons from Minnesota 2050

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Received: 10 July 2010; in revised form: 17 August 2010 / Accepted: 18 August 2010 / Published: 24 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Futures)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Both scenario visioning and participatory system dynamics modeling emphasize the dynamic and uncontrollable nature of complex socio-ecological systems, and the significance of multiple feedback mechanisms. These two methodologies complement one another, but are rarely used together. We partnered with regional organizations in Minnesota to design a future visioning process that incorporated both scenarios and participatory system dynamics modeling. The three purposes of this exercise were: first, to assist regional leaders in making strategic decisions that would make their communities sustainable; second, to identify research gaps that could impede the ability of regional and state groups to plan for the future; and finally, to introduce more systems thinking into planning and policy-making around environmental issues. We found that scenarios and modeling complemented one another, and that both techniques allowed regional groups to focus on the sustainability of fundamental support systems (energy, food, and water supply). The process introduced some creative tensions between imaginative scenario visioning and quantitative system dynamics modeling, and between creating desired futures (a strong cultural norm) and inhabiting the future (a premise of the Minnesota 2050 exercise). We suggest that these tensions can stimulate more agile, strategic thinking about the future.
Keywords: scenarios; participatory modeling; multiple futures; energy; water
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schmitt Olabisi, L.K.; Kapuscinski, A.R.; Johnson, K.A.; Reich, P.B.; Stenquist, B.; Draeger, K.J. Using Scenario Visioning and Participatory System Dynamics Modeling to Investigate the Future: Lessons from Minnesota 2050. Sustainability 2010, 2, 2686-2706.

AMA Style

Schmitt Olabisi LK, Kapuscinski AR, Johnson KA, Reich PB, Stenquist B, Draeger KJ. Using Scenario Visioning and Participatory System Dynamics Modeling to Investigate the Future: Lessons from Minnesota 2050. Sustainability. 2010; 2(8):2686-2706.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schmitt Olabisi, Laura K.; Kapuscinski, Anne R.; Johnson, Kris A.; Reich, Peter B.; Stenquist, Brian; Draeger, Kathryn J. 2010. "Using Scenario Visioning and Participatory System Dynamics Modeling to Investigate the Future: Lessons from Minnesota 2050." Sustainability 2, no. 8: 2686-2706.


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