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Participatory modelling for the integrated sustainability assessment of water: The World Cellular Model and the MATISSE project

  • J. David Tabara
  • Patrik Wallman
  • Bodil Elmqvist
  • Akgün Ilhan
  • Cristina Madrid
  • Lennart Olsson
  • Michel Schilperoord
  • Pieter Valkering
  • Paul Weaver
Publiceringsår: 2007
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Working paper
Förlag: MATISSE project


This paper describes the participatory process of developing and implementing a prototype model

aimed at supporting the Integrated Sustainability Assessment of water resources and policy options at

different scales. The model - called the World Cellular Model (WCM) focuses on the representation

of agents’ behaviours and their systemic relationships with their environment. This is achieved by

examining the interests, motives, cultural beliefs and structural resources that drive agents’ actions

with regard to the use of stocks and flows of water, by looking at the impact of such water behaviours

on the environment and on the natural ecosystems at different scales, and by examining in a

coevolutionary way the impact of such environmental changes on the behaviours of agents. The WC

model takes a ‘total system’, multi-scale, agent perspective. That is, agents operate in a single

interrelated system in which each individual or collective agent responds to the availability and use of

a set of stocks and flows of rules and/or institutions (S), energy and resources (E), information and

knowledge (I) that in turn provokes environmental change (C) or impact on the social ecological

system. . This model is being developed together with the use of participatory Integrated Assessment

focus groups (IA-fgs) with real stakeholders to get insights about agents’ behaviours and the possible

architecture of the model so as to increase its socio-ecological robustness and policy relevance. Our

research is part of the EU funded project Matisse (Methods and Tools for Integrated Sustainability



  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Integrated Sustainability Assessment
  • water modelling
  • participation.



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