Working with and for the citizens
Carlo Sessa* and Andrea Ricci
Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems (ISIS), Rome, Italy
(Received February 2010; final version received March 2010)
Keywords: science policy interface; participatory research; awareness-raising; complexity; integrated socio-ecological systems management; citizens’ knowledge
The challenges faced by policy-makers, managers and practitioners today are becoming increasingly complex. Solutions that address individual problems as they arise may be successful in the short term, but they may also set in motion feedbacks that come into play later. Likewise, piecemeal interventions do not prepare a system for dealing with ongoing change and future shocks. Linked systems of people and nature, especially with the extent and interconnections of today’s populations technologies and human activities, behave as complex adaptive systems. Forwardlooking analyses of these systems suggest that the transition to sustainability derives
from fundamental change in the way people think about the complex systems on which they depend, whereas the current lack of awareness, understanding and reflexivity the behaviour of the blind instead contributes to increasingly unsustainable patterns of development.
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