Folder Planning Methods Structured Decision Making – Theory, Practice and Balance

Drawing on recent applications with regional planning in the north this session will explore the benefits and challenges using this value based tool.

Venue: Classroom A

Moderator: John Glynn-Morris - Public Engagement Specialist, Cottongrass Consulting Group.


pdf Decision making tools and methodology that support good decision making amongst many competing interests Popular


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Dave Snowden - Professor & Director of Centre for Applied Complexity, Bangor University, Wales

In any complex situation the nature of evidence is problematic.  With the benefit of hindsight what should have been done is often self-evident, but at the time the decision has to be made, competing hypotheses are all supported by evidence and resolution is problematic to say the least.  Hindsight rarely allows for foresight in these circumstances.

In reconciling competing interests and finding ways to create new trade offs, new commodities for negotiation and new discovery processes are key.  Prof. Snowden’s work in the Centre for Applied Complexity at Bangor University has focused on applying natural science to social systems, principally complex adaptive systems theory, cognitive science and aspects of anthropology.  That work has resulted in a body of methods and tools, including the award winning Cynefin framework, that create new approaches to distributed decision making and decision support.

This presentation will provide an overview of the theory and practice and will suggest new experimental approaches for whole of population engagement in real time decision support.  It will include recent experiments with the government of Singapore and others.  Creating human sensor networks that are motivated by the need for day to day monitoring needs but can be activated in the case of extraordinary need is one example of emerging practice in this field.

pdf Using Structured Decision Making to Support Sustainable Decisions in the North Popular


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Sally Rudd, BA., M.A. – Associate, Compass Resource Management with contribution from: Lee Failing – Principal, Compass Resource Management

Sustainability Decision Support refers to a broad category of tools to assist in balancing environmental, social, cultural, and economic values in decision making.  In the North, there’s increasing emphasis on informed and collaborative decision making,  coordination and efficiency in government processes, and transparency in the face of difficult value-based trade-offs. Structured Decision Making (SDM) has become known as one approach for making land and resource management decisions that support these principles. Based in the decision sciences, SDM encourages rigorous and transparent treatment of both facts and values in decision making.

We explore the benefits and challenges of applying SDM as a sustainability decision support tool in the North. We draw on our recent experience in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Alaska in land use planning, species recovery planning, cumulative effects management, and energy planning. We will discuss the use of SDM to support multi-stakeholder planning and consultations and to effectively incorporate scientific, traditional, and local knowledge. We will also discuss its use as a practical tool for supporting interdepartmental working groups that are charged with working beyond departmental mandates to inform senior decision makers about key trade-offs and sustainability implications.

Co-Speaker: Lee Failing – Principal, Compass Resource Management

pdf A Review of the Strategic Decision Making Process and Parameters used in the Dawson Land Use Plan Popular


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Randy Clarkson, P.Eng. Klondike Placer Miners’ Association

The Klondike Placer Miners' Association represents the 160 family based placer mines operating in the Yukon Territory as well as dozens of service industries and suppliers. The Yukon's placer industry has been the most   reliable generator of wealth and employment for over 130 years with present cumulative revenues exceeding $70   million annually. Most of the placer mining occurs in the Dawson planning region and would be directly and dramatically impacted by the Dawson Land Use plan. It is difficult to develop land use plans in areas with placer  mining as it is impossible to know where future placer deposits and other mineral deposits will be hidden under the   earth's surface. The Dawson Land Use Planning Council used the Strategic Decision Making Process to aid its efforts. The SDM   process is an analytical approach with the potential to provide fairer, more realistic and balanced approach to land   use planning. However, it is important to use realistic ranking factors in the SDM model process to avoid plans which are extremely biased against mining and other resource development. There should also be a good understanding of the existing environmental, reclamation and bonding practices and regulations. This paper presents a review of the SDM process as it was applied to the Dawson land use planning process and how it could be improved to provide a more balanced review of land use plan alternatives at an early stage in the process.