Abstract for: Mental Models in Urban Stormwater Management

Environmental problems and solutions are often conceptualised in many different ways by different stakeholders. In order to address behaviour change and move towards more sustainable approaches in stormwater management, there needs to be understanding of and engagement with these differing perspectives. This case study uses cognitive mapping to elicit and transparently capture perceptions on stormwater problems and solution strategies in stormwater management techniques of 31 diverse stakeholders of stormwater management in Twin Streams catchment, Auckland, New Zealand. Three perspectives have been discovered and are synthesized in causal loop diagrams: conventional fixes, low impact solutions and community development. Analysis confirms that these perspectives are diverse and potentially conflicting. Moreover, each perspective has shortcomings in providing solutions that can address effectively the challenges posed by stormwater. As a result, the integration of the perspectives in a wider move of all stakeholders towards a culture of transition is proposed. The implementation of low impact solutions is essential in addressing existing environmental degradation and achieving restoration efforts in the short term. In order to realise sustainable stormwater management, however, the long term focus must be on social learning, behaviour change, the creation of effective partnerships with local authorities and community ownership.