Keywords: multi-scale integrated analysis, integrated assessment, multi-criteria analysis, science for governance, impredicative loop analysis, mosaic effect, complex systems, MSIA, narratives, sustainability, post-normal science, sustainable development, complexity
Multi-scale integrated analysis of sustainability: a methodological tool to improve the quality of narratives
The goal of this paper is to illustrate an innovative methodology, multi-scale integrated analysis, developed for dealing with the new challenges implied by multi-criteria analysis of sustainability: an integrated assessment of sustainability requires a multi-dimensional and multi-scale analysis (technical incommensurability); when comparing human values, it is not possible to define, in substantive terms, 'the best course of action' (social incommensurability); it is not possible to generate accurate and relevant scenarios when forecasting the future of adaptive systems evolving across scales. Part 1 introduces the epistemological challenges implied by analyses of sustainability. Part 2 uses a simple example of application to illustrate the basic rationale of the MSIA approach and the type of results that it can provide.