Project Lead: Pete Dupen
This research project, like all good onions, is best conceptualised in layers.
In the inner core, it is about fixing a problem in current planning assessment and approval process. This process is the evaluation framework used to decide what development is to be allowed and how remaining resources will be used. In current practice, approval conditions are often given as “no more than minor impact” terms, and these qualitative planning conditions are largely unenforceable. We propose to test whether Participatory Modelling (PM) could improve engagement and understanding in early-stage proposals, and whether the augment engagement processes can help to quantify what outcomes would be acceptable and which would be unacceptable. The implications could be profound in helping to make planning rules work as they’re meant to.
In its outer shell, this PhD is about developing comprehensive and systematic records of a PM engagement process. One of the reasons that PM is not being more widely deployed (as far as we know this is the first instance of it being used within a pre-EIS engagement exercise, for example) is that it is hard to know and learn from what has already been done. Whilst there are books and papers written about a range of PM exercises, there are always unique aspects of any engagement, including the unique characteristics of the stakeholders and practitioners, and there is currently no agreed method or system of recording them – cue Records of Engagement and Decision-making (RoED).
This project seeks to harness the outcomes of a PM-augmented, closely monitored stakeholder engagement on a real mine or similar major development, and to use the collected experiences as data to develop a prototype RoED. The experience would be combined with technologies used in similar community-driven platforms to prepare standards and continuous improvement framework for future RoEDs.
Goals and objectives
To measure and monitor a PM-augmented stakeholder engagement in a manner that:
- Supports stakeholders to fairly understand the proposal, its potential impacts and benefits and what key processes and variables control these.
- Identifies and quantifies stakeholder thresholds of concern, for input into subsequent assessments in the EIA process and any subsequent approvals.
- Characterises the stakeholder’s worldviews and records the engagement process in a manner which protects identities but informs future evaluation and design of similar engagements.
- Provides data to develop a prototype Record of Engagement and Decision-making, and informs a draft standard for future RoED development.
Support and funding has been secured from community representatives (Association of Mining & Energy-related Councils), industry (NSW Minerals Council) and government (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment). With their assistance we are currently seeking a suitable early-stage proposal, in which the proponent will agree to allow UTS to facilitate a set of stakeholder engagement workshops.
- Dupen, P, Castilla-Rho, J, Kennewell, D, & Nelson, R, 2019. “Model-enabled community engagement in a mining approval process“. 9th Annual Conference on Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry. Sydney, May 2019.
- Dupen, P, Voinov, A, Castilla-Rho, J, 2019. “The Social Licence Pathway - towards a collaborative planning and approval process for the digital age”. 23rd International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Canberra, December 2019