Participatory multi-stakeholder assessment of alternative development scenarios in contested landscapes

Kiatkoski Kim, Milena, Alvarez-Romero, Jorge G., Wallace, Ken, Pannell, David, Hill, Rosemary, Adams, Vanessa M., Douglas, Michael, and Pressey, Robert L. (2022) Participatory multi-stakeholder assessment of alternative development scenarios in contested landscapes. Sustainability Science, 17. pp. 221-241.

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Participatory scenario planning (PSP) has mainly concerned scenario development and outreach, with less emphasis on scenario assessment. However, eliciting stakeholder responses to scenarios, focusing on subjective wellbeing, can increase the legitimacy, relevance, and applicability of PSP. We developed a PSP exercise with a multi-stakeholder, cross-cultural group in the Fitzroy River (Martuwarra) basin in Western Australia. Four scenarios were developed collaboratively, each describing alternative development pathways in the basin by 2050. We held two scenario assessment workshops: a multi-stakeholder workshop and a workshop with Traditional Owners (Aboriginal Australians) only. We first asked participants to consider and discuss the current situation in the basin regarding how well nine categories of wellbeing were satisfied. Then, for each scenario, participants assessed and scored the change in each wellbeing category relative to the current situation. Participants' ratings followed a similar pattern in both workshops, except for the scenario with strong policy and increased large-scale irrigation, which was scored mostly positively by the multi-stakeholder group, and mostly negatively by Traditional Owners. We identified different discourses that help to explain these results: (a) scenarios with large-scale agriculture, or with poorly regulated development, would increase the money circulating in the region, and benefits would trickle down to local communities through employment, enhancing most wellbeing categories; and (b) such modes of development might create jobs but could negatively impact other areas of wellbeing, potentially affecting culturally or environmentally significant places and increasing social inequities. We discuss how these results can support planning in the region, and how trade-offs were approached.

Item ID: 72181
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1862-4065
Keywords: Participatory scenario planning, Subjective wellbeing, Social impact evaluation, Transdisciplinary, Developing northern Australia, Stakeholder participation, Northern Australia, Kimberley Region, Western Australia, Fitzroy River catchment, Martuwarra, Traditional Owners, Future scenarios, Human wellbeing
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Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2021
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU), National Environmental Science Program (NESP)
Projects and Grants: NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 10:22
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 30%
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330404 Land use and environmental planning @ 50%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2104 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture > 210402 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connection to land and environment @ 30%
12 CONSTRUCTION > 1204 Construction planning > 120404 Regional planning @ 50%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190211 Water policy (incl. water allocation) @ 20%
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