Visualization in environmental policy and planning: a systematic review and research agenda

Tamara Metze*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Visualizations are increasingly important for environmental policy and planning. They have great impact on how we perceive environmental problems, their solutions, and if we consider policies legitimate. The systematic review in this paper brings together 20 years of studies in visualization in environmental policy and planning. This review shows that over the last two decades, more and more studies have demonstrated that visualization plays a role in data-communication, influences decision making, public perception, public participation, and knowledge cocreation. Based on the systematic review, three research lines are developed that aim to better take into account the challenges of a global and active public that through internet and social media is formed around environmental and planning issues. We can do this by (1) moving beyond a knowledge deficit model (2) pay more attention to the material dimensions of visualizations and their role in opening up spaces for cocreation, and (3) include the study of found images as these contain information on public sentiment, and are a form of public accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-760
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number5
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • data-visualization
  • environment
  • planning
  • public
  • Visualization


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