Systems pluralism in infrastructure decision-making for socially connected greenfield communities



Publication Details

Pepper, M., Sense, A. & Speare, K. (2015). Systems pluralism in infrastructure decision-making for socially connected greenfield communities. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 29 (2), 129-148.


The problem in planning for relevant infrastructure in new communities is that the community doesn't yet exist and is not engaged in the planning process. As such, planners draw on available housing and demographic information and essentially 'best guess' the future community's infrastructure and social connection needs. This situation spotlights a gap in the planning literature concerning ways to 'better determine' a future community's infrastructures that enable social connection between residents. In seeking to help address that knowledge gap, the purpose of this paper is to theoretically argue for the process of and illustrate the value of, pursuing a hybrid systems thinking approach to the identification and deployment of the physical infrastructures that may help better facilitate the social connectedness of a future community in new greenfield development areas. This approach combines aspects of Soft systems methodology and system dynamics. Such a process informs the development of a decision support model for Planners' that incorporates multiple user perspectives in these local planning decisions and contributes to the structural advancement of socially connected communities.

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