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.


MM 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.

State of Development Please Select

Development Contact


Outcome Areas Economic, Environmental, Social, Cultural
Management Domains Air Quality, Land, Coastal, Urban Systems, Natural Hazards, Biosecurity, Biodiversity, Community, Waste, Freshwater
Steady State or Dynamic Unknown

Input & Output Data


Open/Closed Source Please Select

User Information

User Interface Please Select
Ease of Use Please Select
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 development—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

    The IFS model is a scoping model constructed from a Mediated Modelling (MM) process which extended over 3 workshop days with 16-18 participants from Horizons Regional Council, Fonterra, Federated Farmers, Fish and Game, Forest and Bird, Department of Conservation, Horowhenua District Council Tarenuiarangi Manawatu Incorporated, Palmerston North City Council,  Water & Environmental Care Assn Inc and Manawatu Estuary Trust, Te Kauru (Eastern Hapu Collective Rangitane), Muaupoko Tribal Authority, Te Kauwhata and Vision Manawatu.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more