Systemic Planning (SP): A Generic Framework for Complex Decision Making
The generic framework for planning and decision support presented in this paper and referred to as systemic planning (SP) is the result of research work carried out by the Decision Modelling Group at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). More specifically, SP theory and methodology development has interchanged with practical application and testing of SP in a number of cases. SP is based on combining and operationalising five different systems thinking approaches: functional, interpretive, emancipatory, post-modern and complexity-oriented that are seen to span current systems thinking. These approaches are behind five formulated modes of enquiry (MOEs) that make up some of the iteratively interwoven steps in a formulated SP process, which is assisted by a study-specific subset of methods. These are selected from a toolbox of seven soft (qualitative) and seven hard (quantitative) operations research (OR) methods. The paper is disposed as follows: After an introduction that outlines the five systems thinking approaches and their MOEs, the paper presents SP in an overview as concerns process and tools and SP as a group proces. Then follows an application example where the potential of SP is demonstrated on the planning of a large transport infrastructure case concerning the Rail Baltica transport project, which is part of the EU’s North Sea - Baltic TEN-T corridor. The case shows how issues around growth and sustainability need to be explicitly considered in the planning of large new transport infrastructure. Finally, following a discussion of the main features of SP, some findings and a perspective are stated.