Stepping into futures: exploring the potential of interactive media for participatory scenarios on social ecological systems

J.M. Vervoort, K. Kok, R.J.A. van Lammeren, A. Veldkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present a strategy for the development of interactive media scenarios to help communicate uncertainties and complexities in coupled human and natural systems. Insights arising from Complex Adaptive Systems theory advocate the need for more adaptive perspectives on natural resources management. For the collaborative exploration of future complexities and uncertainties, participatory scenario development has proven to be a powerful approach. A range of communication strategies with benefits for conveying complexity, however, has not yet been adopted by scenario developers. We present a framework of criteria with which we structurally analyze the benefits of interactive media communication. First, we consider requirements of feasibility, flexibility and stakeholder contributions. Then, we synthesize criteria for the communication of Complex Adaptive Systems. Finally, we set criteria for communicatory clarity and engagement. Using this framework, we review several science communication fields, including landscape visualization, serious gaming and visual analytics. We then develop a strategy for interactive media communication in participatory scenario development, including two work-in-progress examples. This strategy employs mixed media, micro-games and accessible stakeholder contributions in a geo-web context, and is suitable for participatory work in live settings as well as on-line, from a local to a global scale
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-616
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • landscape visualization
  • decision-making
  • climate-change
  • land-use
  • perspective
  • information
  • reality
  • design
  • gis

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