A role for low-order system dynamics models in urban health policy making

Newell, Barry and Siri, José G., (2016). A role for low-order system dynamics models in urban health policy making. Environmental International, 95 93-97

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Newell, Barry
    Siri, José G.
    Title A role for low-order system dynamics models in urban health policy making
    Appearing in Environmental International   Check publisher's open access policy
    Volume 95
    Publication Date 2016-08-21
    Place of Publication London
    Publisher Elsevier Ltd.
    Start page 93
    End page 97
    Language eng
    Abstract Cities are complex adaptive systems whose responses to policy initiatives emerge from feedback interactions between their parts. Urban policy makers must routinely deal with both detail and dynamic complexity, coupled with high levels of diversity, uncertainty and contingency. In such circumstances, it is difficult to generate reliable predictions of health-policy outcomes. In this paper we explore the potential for low-order system dynamics (LOSD) models to make a contribution towards meeting this challenge. By definition, LOSD models have few state variables (≤5), illustrate the non-linear effects caused by feedback and accumulation, and focus on endogenous dynamics generated within well-defined boundaries. We suggest that experience with LOSD models can help practitioners to develop an understanding of basic principles of system dynamics, giving them the ability to 'see with new eyes'. Because efforts to build a set of LOSD models can help a transdisciplinary group to develop a shared, coherent view of the problems that they seek to tackle, such models can also become the foundations of 'powerful ideas'. Powerful ideas are conceptual metaphors that provide the members of a policy-making group with the a priori shared context required for effective communication, the co-production of knowledge, and the collaborative development of effective public health policies.
    Keyword Wicked problems
    Transdisciplinary communications
    Low-order models
    Conceptual metaphor
    Powerful ideas
    Urban health policy
    Copyright Holder Elsevier Ltd
    Copyright Year 2016
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    ISSN 0160-4120
    DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2016.08.003
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    Created: Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 16:56:06 JST by Cheah, Swee Neo on behalf of UNU IIGH