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SIG Session [clear filter]
Tuesday, August 4
 

13:30 CEST

Socially Responsible, Sustainable Development (Systemic Doubts)
Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Tuesday August 4, 2015 13:30 - 14:00 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

13:30 CEST

Socially Responsible, Sustainable Development (Systemic Doubts)
Presenter / Artist
avatar for Ricardo Barrera

Ricardo Barrera

Professor, IDEI - UNTDF
ISSS Dev


Tuesday August 4, 2015 13:30 - 14:00 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

14:00 CEST

Biodiversity 0.2 – a Smart Invertebrate or Computing the Wild Life City in the Anthropocene

The paper presents one part of the series and research project ‘Socio-Ecological Systems: advancing tools, language, and architecture for designing the gestaltung of systems’, with emphasis on the Anthropocene, human habitat and urban ecologies. The subject complements ‘Architectural Ecologies – code, culture and technology at the convergence’ (EMCSR 2014), concepts of material and social behavior based on structural organization as decision-making parameters for urban design strategies in the cyborgian city (IS4IS 2015) and a critical vision of the hacked body, equipped with super-smart bio-digital material triggering a fundamental change of its role as humanoid cyborg in a conversing environment (Digital Bauhaus Summit 2015).

 “Biodiversity 0.2 – a smart invertebrate or computing the wild life city in the Anthropocene” suggests design principles for creating a future habitat for all species, including organic, human, animal and computational devices. The latter describing a rather novel and advancing typology.

The concept of biodiversity has emerged strongly during the hippiesque and technophil 1970s, featuring the birth of the Urban Ecology movement, the era of the ‘Whole Earth Catalogue’ (1968) hand in hand with Buckminster Fuller’s ‘Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth’ (1969) and the beginning of extra-terrestrial travel where punch-cards described the interface for a new, a digital human condition (Apollo 11). Biodiversity furthered itself globally with its political advent in November 1988, when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity followed by the CBD (UN Convention on Biological Diversity) entering into force into December 1993.

At that stage the Anthropocene had been in full bloom; Government policies and regulations, educational strategies and infrastructural development have echoed and followed suit by addressing urban environments through implementing gardens and advancing bicycle paths in the city, prohibiting vehicles that emit polluting substances and generally fostering wild life in the city. And while decision-making bodies still focused on their exclusive and separate fields of expertise, developments in information and communication technology advanced to an interdisciplinary extend, breeding big data that has become too big to house or handle, creating the Internet of things that requires structuring and cultivating a culture in which participative design and open source information have become as usual as conversations between humans and machines.

The paper suggests that biodiversity can and must go further than the mere implementation of discrete spaces fostering nature in urban environments or the monitoring of natural habitat using digital devices, but a full integration into the material world. Natural organisms own an enormous amount of intelligence that we as humans have not yet understood. Principles suggested include an emergent information and living ecology based on biological performance merged with man-made technologies while keeping an eye on a bio-intelligent socio-ecological system design. The aim is to design systems where biological performance, bio-intelligence and an information network society can complement each others and understand the collaboration systemically, rather than individual and discrete.   


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan

Speakers
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →


Tuesday August 4, 2015 14:00 - 14:30 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

14:30 CEST

Community Self-Organisation; How to Make it more Effective?

Communities are parts of larger social contexts that may inhibit or support their satisfactory self-organisation. Members of a community share to different degrees common interests, such as housing services, sports facilities, good quality environment or indeed myriad of other concerns. For all these interest they need to organise themselves to achieve collectively what individually they are unable to achieve.

Community agents constitute these situations. Shared interests trigger communications among them and between them and public, third sectors and private services. Agents form networks and the focus of this contribution is on the characteristics and quality of their relations. The evolution of these relations is by and large the outcome of self-organisation; it is not difficult to understand that their complexity makes it is difficult if not impossible to plan them. They need enabling, and support. Agents can enable their self-organisation through their own resources and creativity or through the support of external agents, such researchers, NGOs, government agencies, private trusts, philanthropy or others forms of support. Accepting that self-organisation is inherent to the complexity of social processes, the challenge for us is to work out how to make these self-organising processes more effective. How can citizens of a community improve the quality of their own interactions? How can these citizens co-create desirable values in their interactions with external enablers, such as organisation and policy-makers? 

For instance, the impact of a policy in a community may be skewed in the benefit of those citizens that are better prepared articulate their needs. Better education and competencies make them more visible an influential to Government agencies, which require organised citizens in order to direct their resources and achieve better policy performance. Resources are more likely to be directed towards the citizens with more self-organising capabilities, at the expense of those with fewer competencies. In these circumstances local self-organisation may be precisely in the detriment of those in more need (Espejo and Mendiwelso-Bendek, 2011).  Well intentioned policies may end up increasing operational imbalances within the community to the detriment of justice and fairness. In practice this requires that additionally to implementing services such as education, health, housing and so forth, it is necessary to consider policies enabling balanced self-organisation in the community, aiming at community members with similar participatory strengths regardless of their history, race or gender.  It is necessary redressing imbalances in communities’ self-organisation. This approach may improve not only self-organisation within the community but also the quality of this community’s relations with those organisations creating, regulating and producing policies relevant to them. In summary it is necessary to improve self-organisation processes within community groups at the same time of improving the community’s influence in value co-creation with relevant external agents. The latter imply self-organising process that often highlights imbalances in power relations (Mayo, Mendiwelso-Bendek and Packham, 2013, p237-8). However, in this contribution our main focus is on exploring aspects of self-organisation within communities to highlight strategies to overcome imbalances in participatory processes.  

References

Espejo, R, Mendiwelso-Bendek, Z. (2011) An argument for active citizenship and organisational transparency, in Kybernetes Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 477-493

Mayo M, Mendiwelso-Bendek Z and Packham C (2013) Eds and authors. Community Research as Community Development, Palgrave ISBN-13: 978-1137034731


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers

Tuesday August 4, 2015 14:30 - 15:00 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

15:00 CEST

Reinventing Democracy in the Digital Era using Third-Phase Science

The world’s future depends on its youth. Yet over the past several decades, the election process has suffered from a continual decrease in participation levels, particularly among young people. Democracy of the 21st Century refers almost exclusively to the right of citizens to take part in the official political process. Structured Democratic Dialogue Co-Laboratories in 2012, with young people based in Cyprus and Greece, and representatives of European youth organizations, as well as a series of Structured Democratic Dialogue Co-Laboratories with young people from 10 European countries in 2008 identified (1) Corruption and Lack of Transparency; (2)The Political System is ‘outdated’, and not evolving while everything else is, especially with regards to technology and ICT; and (3) Lack of a humanistic vision and of a feeling of purpose among the youth, in connection with the lack of confidence that they can achieve a change, as the root obstacles. The 160 young participants engaged in these 5-day long Co-Laboratories produced over 400 ideas and invested over 3,000 person hours to explore the relations between these ideas with the aim of collectively identifying the key underlying problems. The current venture, “Reinventing democracy in the digital era,” funded by the UN Democracy Fund, aspires to engage more than a thousand young people and about 100 media-, policy- and science experts from across the world in face-to-face week-long, as well as hybrid and virtual Co-Laboratories with the aim to invent a new system of democratic governance that will satisfy the aspirations of all people and will abide to the requirements imposed by the Anthropocene. The methodological approach is grounded in the science of dialogic design, the principles of third-phase science, and network theory. The dialogues are taking place in Europe, Africa, The Americas, Asia-Australia and the MENA region. The participants will be producing two collectively authored eBooks, one “50 Reasons why youth do not participate in political life” and the second “50 Descriptors of an ideal future system of governance,” as well as a “Manifesto for 21st Century Democracy: Requirements of new system of democracy.” The extensive exploitation of social media technologies will lead to the production of hundreds of 1-min video clips that will serve towards engaging a few thousand people in evaluating and selecting ideas using modern social media and Apps. This is envisioned as the launching of a global mobilization process, which will engage thousands of people in critical and reflecting thinking by sharing and discussing the video clips. The results of the voting process will be disseminated to the media, organizations and decision makers through various communication channels and are expected to make an impact in the global political agenda. The project directors aspire to engage ISSS scientists as mentors for young participants, as researchers and as advisors to the project.

 


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers
YL

Yiannis Laouris

Chair, Future Worlds Center
ISSS Regular


Tuesday August 4, 2015 15:00 - 15:30 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

16:00 CEST

Understanding and Managing Sustainability Transitions to an Energy Efficient Regime in Medium-Sized Cities
Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Erik Lindhult

Erik Lindhult

Mälardalen University
ISSS Two Day


Tuesday August 4, 2015 16:00 - 16:30 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

16:30 CEST

Framing Risk and Resilience in Urban Futures: Reflections on a Workshop

In his concept of the “Risk Society”, Ulrich Beck remarks that societies and organizations are increasingly concerned with the anticipation and mitigation of risks to their assets, structures and values, and that this preoccupation affects the ways in which societies organize themselves, allocate resources, and structure their imagination of their futures. The proposed paper will use the experiences and of a recent workshop to consider elements of a risk-based approach to envisioning and steering macro-urban futures.

The regional-scale artifact of the Anthropocene that is the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in south-eastern China has become one of the world’s largest concentrations of manufacturing, human settlement and urban development, and is also subject to multiple dimensions of risk in the coming decades, stemming from global-scale changes such as macro-economic and societal shifts, as well as human-influenced climate change and sea level rises.

An intensive one-week workshop was carried out in the context of a Masters-level urbanism program, to consider strategies for the future urban development of the PRD. The premise of the workshop was to take a risk-based approach to structuring ways of thinking about the future of the PRD, and to consider interventions in the future evolution of the urban region in anticipation of these risks.

Six groups of students each adopted a different perspective on the urban region – social, experiential, economic, infrastructural, geographical, or cultural-historical. From their respective perspective, each group considered the value(s) implicit in the assets, relations, actors and patterns in the PRD, and the systems in which these elements are embedded.  Based on this understanding, groups considered the dimensions of risk posed to these systems and relations by the anticipated macro-scale changes.

The goal of this workshop was not to develop urban projects as “solutions” to the issues being addressed, which is far beyond the possible scope of such a workshop, or of any individual institution, but rather to rehearse ways of engaging issues of this magnitude and intractability, and thinking about what could be done in terms of the structure, organization and control of the many urban systems that constitute this region, in order that these systems may go through the learning and adaptation processes necessary to address these issues on an ongoing basis.

Students were encouraged to shift from a problem-solving approach to an adaptation approach to urban evolution, in which they were engaged in anticipating and planning for the need to change, not just to mitigate the negative effects of unavoidable contextual change, but to take the changes as opportunities to reconfigure urban systems in an intentional and beneficial way.

Thus, as a final step, groups were asked to anticipate the policy and education implications of putting into action the adaptive processes they foresee, particularly in terms of “who needs to learn what?” Data presentation, mapping, diagramming and narrative techniques were used throughout the process.

The paper will discuss the philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings of the workshop, describe and illustrate the process through which these ideas were investigated, the themes, insights and issues that emerged in the discussion that developed around the workshop, and offer reflections on what was learned and revealed through this intensive exercise.


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers
TJ

Timothy Jachna

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
ISSS Regular


Tuesday August 4, 2015 16:30 - 17:00 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:00 CEST

Strategic Planning During the Most Recent Anthropocene

Due to the constantly increasing rate of change faced during the current Anthropocene traditional approaches to strategic planning are no longer capable of producing the desired results. Most of them depend on predicting future trends and events so that organizations can prepare for and take advantage of them. Plans are made, priorities defined and action steps outlined based on the originally identified objectives. The problem is that the length of time for which we are able to accurately predict the future is shrinking rapidly so that by the time we get around to implementing our decisions they are too frequently obsolete. What we need is a new paradigm that makes organizations capable of learning continually from their environment and adapting rapidly. Interactive Planning is such a paradigm. After scanning the environment to discover what currently exists, instead of defining project priorities the second step in Interactive Planning is to redefine or redesign the organization’s function, structure, and key processes in a way that is highly participative, that integrates the organization on all levels, and that encourages continual learning of the entire workforce. A technique frequently used to accomplish this is Idealized Design. In that Interactive Planning is a never ending process it gives organizations a better chance of deal effectively with the Anthropocene.

 


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers

Tuesday August 4, 2015 17:00 - 17:30 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:30 CEST

The Design of Inquiry for Business Growth

This paper is concerned with the design of ‘business growth programmes’, i.e. specifically designed learning programmes with explicitly stated goals of promoting and impacting on business growth. This paper is based on research into the design considerations of growth programmes in 3 European countries. It is the result of a two year European research study funded from the European Commission.  With this as context, using Systems Thinking we re-theorise the role of design itself as it applies to business growth programmes. This is achieved by re-tracing some of the most fundamental systems ideas back to Kant’s critique of practical reason. The paper draws out several implications, (i) to demonstrate the application of a new set of principles which are designed to simultaneously help to develop and evaluate future business growth programmes; (ii) these principles also can help explain the tendency towards sub-optimal growth programmes in current practice; and (iii) to re-consider the policy priorities and assumptions for supporting business growth programmes in future.

Keywords: Systems Thinking, Methodology, Systemic, Business Growth, Learning Programmes.

 


Moderators
avatar for Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

Mag. Stefan Blachfellner

SIG Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems and Design, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
https://about.me/bstefan
avatar for Prof. Liss C. Werner

Prof. Liss C. Werner

Principal, Architect, Tactile Architecture - office für Systemarchitektur
Prof. Liss C. Werner is a registered architect based in Berlin and founder of Tactile Architecture – Office for SystemArchitektur.  She is adj. assoc. Professor at Taylor’s University near Kuala Lumpur, Dr. phil. [abd] and  George N. Pauly, Jr. Fellow 2012/13, visiting professor... Read More →

Speakers
JP

John Paul Kawalek

Head of Division of Management, University of Sheffield
ISSS Two Day


Tuesday August 4, 2015 17:30 - 18:00 CEST
Copenhagen 1 Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany
 
Wednesday, August 5
 

16:00 CEST

Complexity and Environmental Sustainability in Socio-Ecological Systems: The Case of the Winton Wetlands in Victoria, Australia

Sustainability in socio-ecological systems is a complex matter, not only because it deals with the interactions among social, ecological and economic dimensions but also because of the varied perspectives and motivations that different stakeholders have of different aspects of sustainability. The aim of this paper is to discuss the systemic nature of environmental sustainability by analysing the varied perspectives and motivations of different stakeholders around the restoration project in South-eastern Australia, the Winton Wetlands  project. In this paper, sustainability is studied in a holistic way even though only one dimension of sustainability, such as the environmental one, is specifically queried. This is due to the interactions between social and economic aspects that are revealed in the stakeholder’s interpretations of environmental sustainability. To address this, 502 people were surveyed about their perspectives and values regarding the environmental sustainability of the Winton Wetlands restoration project. The answers were coded for themes. Stakeholder values about environmental sustainability were analysed in terms of other underlying social and economic dimensions of sustainability implied from the responses. The breadth of values, perspectives and knowledge about environmental sustainability in the Winton Wetlands and their interactions with ecological restoration goals and outcomes reflect the features of complexity in that these interactions are non-linear and experience time delays, among others. This result suggests that even when dealing with one dimension of sustainability (environmental) there are important social and economic implications. Hence, more targeted actions can be developed when analysing or addressing sustainability in a systemic manner, regarding the elements and interactions set in place as well the features of complex systems reflected.   


Presenter / Artist
LH

Luisa Helena Perez Mujica

PhD Candidate, Charles Sturt University
ISSS Student


Wednesday August 5, 2015 16:00 - 16:30 CEST
Elk Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

16:30 CEST

A Systems Approach to Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Climate

Climate change is expected to have widespread and unpredictable effects to the forest ecosystems on which we depend. The U.S Forest Service manages almost 80 million hectares with a mission of sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the National Forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Given the uncertainty of climate change effects and interactions, the Forest Service will need to be anticipatory, responsive, flexible, and nimble. This paper draws upon foundational systems thinking to inform a framework for sustainable forest management on National Forest System lands in the United States.

Keywords: climate change adaptive management, ecosystems, complexity, U.S. Forest Service


Presenter / Artist
avatar for Dr. Allenna Leonard

Dr. Allenna Leonard

Principal, Complementary Set, Cwarel Isaf Institute
Allenna Leonard is an independent consultant in Toronto who worked with Stafford Beer from the early eighties to his death in 2002. She works with non-profit and business organizations applying cybernetic approaches and models, primarily although not wholly those of Stafford Beer... Read More →


Wednesday August 5, 2015 16:30 - 17:00 CEST
Elk Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:00 CEST

The Value of the Frame: Painting Complexity using two Chronic Disease Models

As with all chronic diseases, it is now recognized that Type-II diabetes is a complex health issue, the etiology of which involves numerous risk factors operating at different ecological levels of analysis. However, this ecological complexity of the problem seldom manifests itself in the interventions (leverage points) for preventing the problem, which typically focus on changing behavior through universal health education, which assumes a homogeneous population. This paper examines the limitations of this way of framing the problem of Type-II diabetes, particularly its failure to capture the way in which this problem emerges as a result of dynamic interactions between individuals and their environments and how these interactions vary in fundamental ways depending upon the context within which they occur.  Specifically, the paper examines the ways in which Type-II diabetes in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) is framed (understood, interpreted, and applied) and how framing affects which systems modeling method one uses to understand the problem and to help guide policy-makers to ameliorate it.

Each systems model has a paradigm characterizing it by a set of fundamental rules and underlying concepts.  That is, each method bases on assumptions of how the model should be constructed and the knowledge obtainable from such. By assuming the model should be constructed in a certain way, the modeler (whether implicitly or explicitly) frames the problem by making assumptions about the phenomenon of interest. Choosing to develop any model asserts a model proscribes to paradigmatic assumptions for how that model would contribute something useful (of value) in some capacity (for a purpose), which is ultimately affected by understanding, interpretation, and application (framing) of the problem. Selecting a particular modeling paradigm implies part of the conceptualization process of a system modeling study is in selecting a model paradigm based on these assumptions. For example, selecting to create a system dynamics model assumes the system-of-interest is comprised of rates, aggregates or stocks, and feedback loops (at least for the model’s purpose).

The LRGV was selected as the predominantly poor Mexican American population that resides there has the highest diabetes-related death rate in Texas and, in certain areas of this region, 50% of the Hispanic population aged 35 years and older suffer from Type-II diabetes. Addressing the problem of diabetes in this area is especially problematic as it ranks among the most socially and economically disadvantaged areas of the United States. Given this high prevalence and limited economic resources, a model capturing the extent of the health problem and analyzing an array of possible leverage points could be crucial to reducing Type-II diabetes in this population.  The question is: What should such a model capture? More specifically, how does framing affect understanding of systems models of Type-II diabetes in the LRGV and the type of leverage points should it be identifying?

The paper describes how specific types of systems methods, those using agent-based models (ABM) and system dynamics models (SDM), can produce very different ways of understanding the problem of and the leverage points for Type-II diabetes in the LRGV.  Additionally, it moves beyond simply outlining the general differences in the use and applications of ABM and SDM, to presenting models demonstrating how framing of the problem  and model paradigmatic assumptions affect understanding of the problem of Type-II diabetes in the LGRV and its potential leverage points. While the examples are specific to a health problem in a specific community, the significance of such an approach is in its generalizability to how understanding social system behavior depends upon how framing the problem and the paradigmatic assumptions of the modeling method selected for modeling that social system.


Wednesday August 5, 2015 17:00 - 17:15 CEST
Elk Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

17:30 CEST

Understanding Mechanisms of the Anthropocene – Systems Science Should Meet Social Ecology !

Aiming to govern the anthropocene (Crutzen 2002) implicates to refer to an appropriate model of our global socio-ecological system (briefly: human ecosystem), that might be similar to the famous “world models” (Meadows et al. 2004). Usually, policies assume that the subsystems  nature (soil, water, air; plants animals), economy and society are deterministic machines where any system-specific input (pesticides / taxes/ law etc.) evokes a certain intended operation mode or output (e.g. “sustainability”) without considering side effects and feedbacks. In this context, any steering intervention is guided only by easily available quantitative indicators that are supposed to represent the function state of the respective system validly (comp. “big data” hype). Additionally, it is commonly believed that deterministically operating and (growing) economy is also the determining driver of human ecosystems: “If we ‘kick-start’ the economy everything changes for the better!”  In contrast, self-conditioned dynamics seems to be significant for operations of each of these systems. Therefore, understanding the interconnected but buffered dynamics between the subsystems nature, economy and society needs  the proper identification of major players in the respective and coupled systems dynamics. This knowledge must also encompass boundary conditions of the systems in order to reduce climate change and /or  keep biodiversity effectively (comp. Rockström 2009). Maybe, only with this knowledge it is effective/efficient to design and apply causally oriented intervention strategies.

However, already at the stage of modeling of regional human ecosystems, still epistemic deficiencies de-validate some usual models: theory-free collecting obtainable data across several domains (temperature, % land use, biomass & energy consumption /capita,  population size/density, DGP, Gini-coefficient etc.) and then building formal models for computer simulations without referring to theories of the respective academic disciplines   (geography, sociology, economy   etc.)  seems to be too pragmatic even if modeling methodologies of systems science are used systematically. In this context, it has to be admitted that there are not enough interdisciplinary (or better: “interfacultary”) conceptual frameworks that allow an integrated view on the world and that connect views of ecology, economy and social science. One option is the academic field of social ecology (or human ecology) that studies the  interrelations between population (or: men), society and “environment” (Hawley, Duncan,  Odum; comp. Glaser 1989, Serbser 2004) or the “societal metabolism” (Schaffarzik et al. 2014). Interestingly, the level of development of quantitative theories and models  in social ecology is  rather low (Tretter & Halliday 2012). Additionally, the methodological gap between natural and social sciences  should be minded more (Simon & Tretter 2015).

In the talk, referring to case studies several of such methodological issues are raised that might help to proceed towards a more sophisticated and epistemologically sound theoretical modeling of socio-ecological systems as a basis of ecosystems management.


Presenter / Artist
avatar for Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Felix Tretter

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Felix Tretter

Fellow, Bertalanffy Centre for the Studies of Systems Sciences (BCSSS)
SIG Co-Chair: Socio-Ecological Systems (see below for details)This SIG Socio-Ecological Systems intends to help advance a sound epistemology and methodology for socio-ecological systems design in conjunction with socio-technological systems design. At the interface of science... Read More →


Wednesday August 5, 2015 17:30 - 18:00 CEST
Elk Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany