Bridging Boundaries: Making Scale Choices in Multi-Actor Policy Analysis on Water Management


Karstens, S.A.M.

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Management synthesizes different perspectives on scale choices (spatial boundary setting, temporal boundary setting and selection of level of aggregation) in policy analysis. Scale choices influence the content of a study (the problems on the agenda, the options found and the impacts addressed) and the process (actors involved, their dedication and criticalness). Scale choices are not politically neutral: they may have advantages or disadvantages for certain actors by putting their urgent problems and their preferred options on the agenda, while they may hide or stress positive or negative impacts of options. Yet, little is known about the specific effects of scale choices and how they are made in practice. In this research, the making of scale choices is studied in two cases in practice: the Long Term Vision Study of the Scheldt Estuary and the Water Shortage Study of the Netherlands. Scale choices appear to be an important framing instrument that can be used by the policy analyst. Therefore, framing guidelines and recommendations are provided that help policy analysts and other actors involved to make scale choices in multi-actor policy analysis processes on water management.