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Spatial representations are not neutral: Lessons from a participatory agent-based modelling process in a land-use conflict

Abstract : The objective of this paper is to question the increasingly common choice to build and use spatially explicit models, especially in the case of participatory agent-based modelling processes. The paper draws on a combination of lessons from literature and the case of a companion modelling process conducted in the context of a conflict about land and forest management in Northern Thailand. Using insights from negotiation theories, we analyze specifically the influence of spatial representations on the way people interacted, discussed and learnt from each other in the participatory modelling process. We argue that models that are spatially too explicit and realistic can actually impede the exploration of innovative and integrative scenarios in which ecological, social and economic objectives are mutually enriching. Indeed, spatial representations might lead to think in terms of boundaries and segregated space, and therefore prevent from thinking in terms of multifunctional space and from finding innovative and integrative solutions.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 10:33:29 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 2:22:04 PM

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Cécile Barnaud, Christophe Le Page, Pongchai Dumrongrojwatthana, Guy Trébuil. Spatial representations are not neutral: Lessons from a participatory agent-based modelling process in a land-use conflict. Environmental Modelling and Software, Elsevier, 2013, 45 (juillet), pp.150-159. ⟨10.1016/j.envsoft.2011.11.016⟩. ⟨hal-02644366⟩

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