Choosing Regional Futures: Challenges and choices in building integrated models to support long-term regional planning in New Zealand
Rutledge, D.T., Cameron, M., Elliott, S., Fenton, T., Huser, B., McBride, G., McDonald, G., O'Connor, M., Phyn, D., Poot, J., Price, R., Scrimgeour, F., Small, B., Tait, A., van Delden, H., Wedderburn, M. E. & Woods, R. A. (2008). Choosing Regional Futures: Challenges and choices in building integrated models to support long-term regional planning in New Zealand. Regional Science Policy and Practice, 1(1), 85- 108.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3250
Better integrated knowledge of coupled ecological-socio-economic systems can assist regional policy development and planning in moving towards sustainable development by assessing the viability of those systems to meet the needs of current and future generations. Developing models that will yield such integrated knowledge poses significant challenges and requires hard choices. We explore these challenges and choices in the context of the Choosing Regional Futures project. In our project a regional council in New Zealand and several research organizations are co-developing a spatial decision support system (SDSS) to assist the council in undertaking long-term integrated planning as required by recent legislative changes. The SDSS integrates aspects of the economy, environment, and society. It consists of a spatially-explicit systems model operating at three scales: regional, district (i.e. sub-region), and local (200 m grid cells). The SDSS addresses aspects of biodiversity, economics, demography, land use change, and water resources. Climate change and external drivers at global and national scales are also included to explore their influence on future regional development. While researchers lead SDSS development, council staff participated in the project to build their knowledge and capacity, thereby maximizing both the relevance and likelihood of uptake upon project completion.