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The impact of visual information on perceptions of water resource problems and management alternatives

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To assess changes in human understanding and decision making, the paper examines (1) the influence of visual information on perceptions about groundwater management in Phoenix, Arizona and (2) the correlates and dimensions underlying people's views about water scarcity and mitigation strategies. While perceptions entrenched in ideologies are difficult to change, different types of information (three-dimensional versus two-dimensional) have distinct impacts on the perceived magnitude of problems compared to judgements about their causes and solutions. Overall, visual information may be especially useful for developing a shared understanding of problems and a collective vision for management alternatives. Additional implications of this study for fostering environmental awareness, policy support, and collaborative decision making are also discussed.
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Keywords: environmental perception; information visualisation; public participation; risk communication; water resource planning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA 2: Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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