Keywords: in-depth groups, information and communication technology (ICT), integrated assessment, participatory processes
Computers, citizens and climate change: the art of communicating technical issues
Integrated assessment (IA) is emerging as an approach that is suitable for accommodating the uncertainties and complexities of issues such as climate change, sustainability and lifestyles. With the aim of exploring participatory methodologies within the context of IA, a number of in-depth groups have been conducted in Venice, as part of an EC-funded project called ULYSSES (Urban Lifestyles, Sustainability and Integrated Environmental Assessment). This paper focuses on how technical issues were conveyed to a lay audience through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), namely integrated assessment models. The issues of urban lifestyles and sustainability, particularly in relation to climate change, formed the focus of discussion, the use of ICT being explored during the sessions. We illustrate our major findings with quotations from the participants of the indepth groups, concluding with specifications for new interactive modelling tools to be used in the context of participatory processes.