Vermont Tourism Data Center
Participatory Modeling of Recreation and Tourism
Lisa C. Chase,
Roelof M.J. Boumans, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics
Recreation and tourism in the
conducted a series of participatory modeling workshops in selected communities
NorthernForest. Two sites were in New Hampshire, two in Vermont, and two in New York.
- Workshop participants created computer models that describe recreation and tourism
issues in their community. Experienced
facilitators and modelers used the graphical programming language STELLA, a
user friendly and transparent modeling
platform, to guide discussion at the workshops.
- We worked with community
participants to combine components of the six community models into a
general model that can serve as a base model.
the workshops were completed, the modeling processes were evaluated for
their impacts on building community capacity, including diversifying the
people who participate in decision-making and increasing knowledge of a
complex system by engaging in an analytical planning process.
Findings and Outcomes
Evaluation results indicate that the model has
potential to help communities make informed decisions about tourism development,
however the base model requires additional inputs and the user-friendly
interface needs to be further refined. Although the model itself needs to be
further developed, the modeling process has already had positive impacts
including strengthening relationships, promoting systems thinking, and helping
to build consensus. One of the most interesting results was a shift in thinking
regarding “quality of life.” When workshop discussions began, participants
were focused on how to increase tourism. As the workshops progressed, community
members shifted their focus to implications and trade-offs of this development,
and discussed how different options would be best for their communities’
overall welfare. This shift in thinking led to a model representing quality of
life, as defined by community members.
While future research is needed to evaluate the
effectiveness of the model for decision-making, the process has been shown to be
useful for fostering dialogue, gaining new perspectives, and building consensus.
A STELLA computer model with a user-friendly interface and step-by-step manual
is now available for communities in the
To view the manual for
the General Model, click here
To view regional models using Microsoft PowerPoint, click on the links below:
The general model and regional models can be downloaded. First you will need to download the STELLA software.
1. On the STELLA website, click on "Join isee Community"2. Register your contact information3. Receive password and log in.4. Select the download for your type of computer (PC or MAC).
1. Select the model you wish to review from the linked list below.2. Save this data to your computer by clicking on the link and choosing the "save to disk" option.3. Double click the file on your computer.
Choose the model you wish to download here:
For more information on the project, click here.
Last modified December 19 2008 02:48 PM