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Building with Nature Guideline > Toolbox > Systems Analysis > Identification of ecological and socio-economic components - EcoMindmap

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Identification of ecological and socio-economic components (EcoMindmap)

Type: Framework

Project Phase: all - especially Initiation, Planning and Design

Purpose: Identify the components and interactions of the studied system (ecological and socio-economic)

Requirements: Multidisciplinary group of experts; data availability on the ecosystem at hand

Relevant Software: none (Prezi website can be used)


Ecomindmap is a framework and a process guideline which helps to structure available information on the ecosystem in such a way that the most important characteristics become clear. The result will be a graphical mindmap, which shows the system’s ecological characteristics relevant to the project. Apart from giving insight into the system at hand, the result can also be used for communication purposes. In the philosophy of Building with Nature it is very important to know the system (physical, ecological, socio-economical and governance setting) in which the intervention is projected to improve the design of a project.

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How to Use

Using this tool requires generic knowledge about the type of ecosystem involved, as well as information on the system at hand. Someone with relevant ecological expertise will be able to point out the biotic and abiotic elements and processes that are characteristic for this specific ecosystem. The connection with the socio-economic and governance system can be made in a workshop with a group of people with relevant backgrounds. It is helpful if an experienced visualiser can participate in this workshop to graphically present the system and its links as discussed (also see tool Visual thinking for creative designing).

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Practical Applications

The tool has not been used for the BwN pilot experiments, but it has been applied to the Markermeer case Markermeer-IJsselmeer to test its applicability. The Markermeer Ecomindmap is shown here in a static pdf format, but the Prezi presentation this link allows navigating through it in a more dynamic way.

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