Is the rapid development of visualization techniques enhancing the quality of public participation in natural resource policy and management? A systematic review

Ellie Nasr-Azadani, Denice Wardrop, Robert Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Participatory natural resource management refers to stakeholders' involvement in the planning process, allowing the integration of their knowledge and values with the purpose of a given project. Landscape visualization generally applies to any technique for representing actual places and on-the-ground conditions. Visualization's sophistication across defined attributes (reality, dynamicity, interactivity, immersion, and dimensionality) has evolved significantly over time, making it a primary tool in pursuing advanced levels of participatory management. This paper reviews the history of using landscape visualization across a gradient of public participation levels in decision-making (informing, consulting, involving, collaborating, and empowering) and how both landscape visualization itself and its use have co-evolved across 30 years from 1991 to 2020. We reviewed 249 papers that utilized visualization to display landscape for participatory planning, and the results indicate significant patterns. Policymakers tend more to bring visual tools into decision-making at consulting levels, establishing an information exchange between parties. Visual tools are primarily 2D depictions that are real, static, still, and non-immersive. Abstract, static, non-immersive, and 2D techniques are used more at involving level if they are interactive (interactive mapping) and collaborating if still (simple maps and sketches). There is no proof to support the fact that more advanced techniques facilitate moving towards higher levels of public participation. Our data suggest that the effectiveness of a given level is a function of both visualization attributes and the stakeholders' competency/local knowledge. Thus, this research recommends investigating participants' competency levels before designing visualization products to avoid unnecessary expenditure of resources while obtaining better results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104586
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume228
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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