‘Imagine’: mapping sustainability indicators

Bell, Simon (2017). ‘Imagine’: mapping sustainability indicators. In: Oreszczyn, Sue and Lane, Andy eds. Mapping environmental sustainability: reflecting on systemic practices for participatory research. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 183–204.

URL: https://policypress.co.uk/mapping-environmental-su...


[Editors’ introduction]

Collaborating with others is central to participatory methods, as we have seen in previous chapters. However the nature of the collaboration and the role that diagrams play in the methods used also depends in part on the topic being addressed. This chapter tells the story of how a systems method for sharing perspectives on and then agreeing sustainability indicators, which makes extensive use of two forms of diagram, was conceived and then applied in a wide variety of places. Central to this method’s evolution were the intentions of its initial creators and the contributions of the different project collaborators and participants in the related workshops. Central to the method’s effectiveness are the way two diagram types are used to visualise, and make more relevant to specified communities, indicators of environmental sustainability. This chapter is also another example of the interplay between method and visualisation, both of the method and within the method, and that it can be difficult to say which the chicken is and which is the egg. They are complementary parts of an holistic and ongoing process, particularly where the main objective is action to improve people’s lives rather than research on people’s lived experiences.

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