Glossary of terms

Dynamic: describes any system not static but changing over time.  Complex systems have interrelationships that inter-react and influence each other over certain time periods.  These influences (or feedback loops) may be exerted quickly or with a significant time-lag. In general humans have trouble taking time-lags and feedback loops into account and so instead assume that the situation is static or a linear relationship will exist in the future. As a result the consequences of decision-making are only weakly connected to the reality that takes place in the future.  Lack of understanding of the ‘dynamics’ within and among systems may result in policy decisions with unintended, potentially disastrous consequences.

Integrated: considers the 4 well-beings (social, cultural, economic and environmental) simultaneously. This is done quantitatively where possible and qualitatively  where not.

Mediated modelling (MM): refers to “modelling as a mediation tool”. It uses computer-based interactive modelling with participants who don’t have to be modellers themselves to benefit from the structured approach of unravelling a complex topic and jointly learn to achieve a better understanding. Misconceptions and contentious issues (trade-offs) for a group of participants can be revealed quickly. Potential solutions can be explored within the safe space of a model. MM can be used to guide a group of about 20 participants from vision (we all want a clean and productive urban environment) to an action plan. MM provides a flexible simulation model that can be used by participants to “benchmark” future implementation actions and guide research needs from “the next step” toward “vision”.

Spatial planning as defined in the UK:  Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning to bring together and integrate policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function. This will include policies which can impact on land use by influencing the demands on, or needs for, development, but which are not capable of being delivered solely or mainly through the granting or refusal of planning permission and which may be implemented by other means. (

Spatial planning for Auckland: Legislation passed for the creation of Auckland Council sets out spatial planning requirements as:

“(1) The Auckland Council must prepare and adopt a spatial plan for Auckland.

“(2) The purpose of the spatial plan is to contribute to Auckland's social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being through a comprehensive and effective long-term (20- to 30-year) strategy for Auckland's growth and development.

“(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the spatial plan will—

“(a) set a strategic direction for Auckland and its communities that integrates social, economic, environmental, and cultural objectives; and

“(b) outline a high-level development strategy that will achieve that direction and those objectives; and

“(c) enable coherent and co-ordinated decision making by the Auckland Council (as the spatial planning agency) and other parties to determine the future location and timing of critical infrastructure, services, and investment within Auckland in accordance with the strategy; and

“(d) provide a basis for aligning the implementation plans, regulatory plans, and funding programmes of the Auckland Council.

“(4) The spatial plan must—

“(a) recognise and describe Auckland's role in New Zealand; and

“(b) visually illustrate how Auckland may develop in the future, including how growth may be sequenced and how infrastructure may be provided; and

“(c) provide an evidential base to support decision making for Auckland, including evidence of trends, opportunities, and constraints within Auckland; and

“(d) identify the existing and future location and mix of—  

“(i) residential, business, rural production, and industrial activities within specific geographic areas within Auckland; and  

“(ii) critical infrastructure, services, and investment within Auckland (including, for example, services relating to cultural and social infrastructure, transport, open space, water supply, wastewater, and stormwater, and services managed by network utility operators); and

“(e) identify nationally and regionally significant—  

“(i) recreational areas and open-space areas within Auckland; and  

“(ii) ecological areas within Auckland that should be protected from development; and

“(iii) environmental constraints on development within Auckland (for example, flood-prone or unstable land); and  

“(iv) landscapes, areas of historic heritage value, and natural features within Auckland; and

“(f) identify policies, priorities, land allocations, and programmes and investments to implement the strategic direction and specify how resources will be provided to implement the strategic direction. (

Spatial dynamic model: A model that captures dynamic feedbacks between existing population demographics, economics, labour, transport, land use, energy and environmental (energy, water etc) models and presents dynamic changes in a two-dimensional spatial manner

Sustainable economy: an economy that can be maintained indefinitely into the future in the face of biophysical limits (Herman Daly, Economic in a Full World, Scientific American, September 2005, pp.100-107)

Stakeholders: key individuals or representatives of groups/organisations whose viewpoint is important to have in the dialogue if an acceptable solution is to be forthcoming.

Spatially explicit: Demonstrates importance of “where” in addition to “what” and “how much”

Integrated Decision Support (IDS): A range of modelling tools that can be used for long-term integrated planning and resource management.

Multi-scale: connects local, regional, national and global scales

Vertically integrated: connects different agencies/organisations operating at the same level

Horizontally integrated: connects different agencies/organisations in the existing hierarchy

Adaptive management: Adaptive management is defined as a systematic process for improving management policies and practices by systemic learning from the outcomes of implemented management strategies and by taking into account changes in external factors in a pro-active manner ( Pahl-Wostl et al., 2010).

Systems thinking:  Identifies linkages, feedbacks and (unintended) consequences of projected change

Action research: “action which is intentionally researched and modified, leading to the next stage of action which is then again intentionally examined for further change and so on as part of the research itself.” (Yoland Wadsworth, Everyday Evaluation On The Run, 2nd edition, 1997, Allen & Unwin, p. 78.) Action research requires ‘critical reflection’ to explore how and why things happened and the relevance of the assumptions underpinning the analysis.


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