Mediated Modelling (MM)


Mediated Modeling aims to: increase the level of shared understanding among its participants, build concensus about the structure of a complex topic and its dynamics, provide a strategic and systematic foundation or backbone for investing policy, research, or management alternatives, and serve as a tool to disseminate insights gained by participants.


The foundations of mediated modeling (MM) are grounded in group model building. Group model building referring to those interventions in which a client group is deeply involved in the process of model construction. Mediated modeling however differs from group model building as it is a process where stakeholders, and not only clients, collaborate together in the development of a simulation model about a specific problem, usually in a series of modeling workshops supported by a facilitator.

The advantages of modeling and systems thinking, being the improved understanding of the dynamics of a complex problem, are combined with the gains of collaborative practices to create a shared vision of a problem. Mediated modeling is an iterative process involving stakeholder feedback between distinct stages of problem scoping, model quantification, and testing of alternative scenarios . In this process, a computer-based mathematical model serves to encourage and focus stakeholder group dialogue.

State of Development Please Select

Development Contact


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social, Cultural
Management Domains General
Steady State or Dynamic Unknown

Input & Output Data


Open/Closed Source Please Select

User Information

User Interface Please Select
Ease of Use Easy
Use in Policy Process Plan (Policy Formulation), Do (Policy Implementation), Check (Policy Evaluation), Review (Issue Identification)

Technical Considerations

Analytical Techniques Mediated Modeling
Keywords policy, research, management alternatives
Linkages to other Models
Key References

Antunes, P., Santos, R., & Videira, N. 2006. Participatory decision making for sustainable developmentā€”the use of mediated modelling techniques. Land Use Policy, 23(1): 44-52.

Metcalf, S. S., Wheeler, E., BenDor, T. K., Lubinski, K. S., & Hannon, B. M. 2010. Sharing the floodplain: Mediated modeling for environmental management. Environmental Modelling & Software, 25(11): 1282-1290.

Thompson, J. L., Forster, C. B., Werner, C., & Peterson, T. R. 2010. Mediated Modeling: Using Collaborative Processes to Integrate Scientist and Stakeholder Knowledge about Greenhouse Gas Emissions in an Urban Ecosystem. Society & Natural Resources, 23(8): 742-757.

van den Belt, M. 2004. Mediated modeling: A system dynamics approach to environmental consensus building. Washington, USA: Island Press.

van den Belt, M. 2009. Multi-scale Integrated Modelling for Sustainable Adaptive Systems. Paper presented at the The 27th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Vennix, J. A. M. 1996. Group model building: facilitating team learning using system dynamics. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons.

Associated Case Studies

IFS - Manawatu Catchment

The intent of this Mediated Modelling process was to explore big solutions in a collaborative process and use the model to structure the dialogue and the data requirements in projecting broad brush scenarios into the future.


MM - Wellington Regional Model

The Wellington Region Mediated Modelling (MM) provided an opportunity for 9 - 15 representative stakeholders to come together over a period of three workshops (April, May, October 2011) to interactively build a scoping model to link social, cultural, economic and environmental issues in one framework.