Sustainability of System Dynamic Models
For the past two decades, the environment and socioeconomic dynamic have witnessed advanced development intended to offset the necessities of the humans and environment. In the 1980s, the World Conservation Strategy was released aiming to facilitate better management of resources and environment (Videira, Antunes, and Santos 2017, p.3). However, cases of disturbing abuse, an extreme burden on the environment, and its destruction on the higher level are still a major challenge, particularly in emerging economies. More importantly, these cases are activated by a search of wealth and the desire for economic prosperity witnessed by the affluent nations in the world (Dacko 2010, p.4). However, they are normally accompanied by the absence of astute reasoning and no ecological awareness on the side of ruling class and local communities. Furthermore, challenges of insensitivity or ignorance to the matters of ecology may not be endured or accepted (Antunes, Stave Videira and Santos 2015, p.10). The society that damages the environment lack comprehensive thinking, hence they are unable to promote sustainable development.
In the urban areas, the rise in the population growth leads to increase in employment opportunities, which subsequently stimulates rural-urban migration. The rising populating encourages a higher rate of housing development (Videira, Antunes, and Santos 2017, p.3). Similarly, it can stimulate further in-migration. Nevertheless, population increase contributes to rising in demand for travel, which results, to traffic congestion. On the contrary, congestion has an adverse impact on migration. Traffic congestions lead to more emissions of greenhouse gases, which damage the environment (Stave 2010, p.10). Furthermore, it produces adverse effects on business activities and hence demotivates the expansion of employment opportunities.
Sustainable management of environment demands a decision support process that pays close attention to the dynamic inter-linkage between an ecological and social system and incorporates deliberation of stakeholders with scientific analysis (Stave 2010, p.6). It also integrates different stakeholder information and promotes association among interested parties that can put up shifting environmental and collective conditions (Videira, Antunes, and Santos 2017, p.5). Since the idea of sustainable development was introduced in the processes of environmental administration, most of the persons have attempted to elucidate the aim of sustainability and pursue a way to the mission. Moreover, due to interconnected social and environmental factors, the underlying forces portray ecological issues, which contribute to demand for administration structures that enable consideration among participants and scientific inquiry in the process of policymaking. The management of environment often encompasses decision making concerning some type of social activity with the objective of influencing one or more features in the environment (Antunes, Stave Videira and Santos 2015, p.12). It is also a process of undertaking different actions to transform from an undesired state of the environment to more preferred state. However, this process provides a wide range of problems. Since decision making in the environmental management normally entails conflicting values and trade-offs, it is beneficial to include all stakeholders in the process of decision-making (Golroudbary and Zahraee 2015, p.3).
There is need to deliver a system dynamic models that can facilitate stakeholders learning concerning the viewpoints and system of other stakeholders (Stave 2010, p.5). A sustainable system dynamic model should provide a robust structure for analytic-reflection in the management of environment sustainably. It is predominantly beneficial for promoting accomplice learning around the organization, encouraging communal education and creating social capital among participants (Stave 2010, p.9). More significantly, a system dynamic model should be participatory in nature in order to engage different stakeholders in the process of problem scrutiny. The system model can be applied in waste management, transport-associated air quality, and management of water resources as well as air quality and land use (Antunes, Stave Videira and Santos 2015, p.1).
A sustainable system dynamic model is an approach that applies a computer model for analytic deliberation. For instance, the use of a procedure of integrating stakeholders especially on the decision maker and the public into decently analytic modeling progression helps to reinforce decisions concerning compound environmental demands. It is applied to involve non-scientists in the technical procedure (Golroudbary and Zahraee 2015, p.7). Stakeholders can be engaged in a lesser or greater level in the process. A complete participatory approach should be one in which accomplices assist in problem structuring, system description, establishing of an operative computer model, utilization of the prototypical to test and identify strategy intermediations and select one or more resolutions depending on the prototype analysis (Videira, Antunes, and Santos 2017, p.7).
Figure 1: Conceptual framework for Sustainability, Source (Zhang, Wu, Shen, and Skitmore 2014)
A wide range of studies has been conducted to explore the sustainability of system dynamic models. According to Van den Hof, Dankers, Heuberger, and Bombois (2013), these systems must consider different aspects of sustainability such as economic, social, human, and environment. Precisely, the researcher noted that human sustainability could be achieved through protection of human life such as healthy living or well-being. In addition, economic sustainability refers to the ability of the projected to possess adequate capital for a long time. Therefore, the consumers must ensure that the investment continues until the end a certain moment. The researchers also argued that the social element of sustainability is essential for the protection of future humankind. The project must adhere to the social values established for people’s goods (Van den Hof, Dankers, Heuberger, and Bombois 2013, p.11). Accomplishing social sustainability can assist in the conservation of people’s sustainability. Finally, the study highlighted that environmental sustainability protection of natural resources. In fact, nature should allocate time to re-generate and avoid scarcity and degradation of a natural resource. Additionally, continuous deposition and pollution of waste materials in larger levels as compared to the ability of nature to handle it.
Kovalevskyabc and Hasselmannde (2014) highlighted that a system dynamics, which encourages participatory approach, helps to achieve sustainability in terms of social, economic, human, and environmental factors. The utilization of a system dynamics where clients or stakeholders engage in some level in various phases of the process such as policy analysis, model development, policy levers identification, system description and problem definition (Kovalevskyabc and Hasselmannde 2014, p.3). Empirical evidence from Van den Hof, Dankers, Heuberger, and Bombois (2013) participatory modeling of system dynamics encompasses eliciting information from customers about the system and the problem. It incorporates establishing mutual proprietorship for the solutions, organization account, and problem analysis in various decision-making organs. The study also highlighted that the main objective of system dynamics method is to appreciate the way a dynamic design of performance is created by a scheme and to determine influence areas within the configuration of the system that has the likelihood to transform the challenging drift to a more necessary one. According to Bai, Maguire and Peng (2013) system dynamics are suitable exhibiting methods for sustainability question since the feedback dynamics and long-lasting perspective intrinsic in such questions (Bai, Maguire and Peng 2013, p. 5).
Pursuant to a study by Leopold (2016), a sustainable transportation model should be able to predict scenarios and expressive hypothesis on gasoline and oil consumption. The protection of the well-being of people should be guaranteed through protection of the environment by reducing GHG emissions (Leopold 2016, p.32). Another study conducted by Lin, Lin, and Chu (2013) highlighted that nations have adopted numerous measures intended to accomplish sustainability in the economy through real savings. For instance, the ecological measures involving human allocation of Net Primary Production (NPP), environmental space and ecological footprints. Furthermore, the socio-political mechanisms include the quality of life and the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW). Diverse measures can provide diverse information to policy makers and stakeholders determined to ensure sustainable growth (Lin, Lin, and Chu 2013, p.4). However, due to their principally empirical process, they are incapable of informing policy makers on long-term modifications to a country due to external or internal challenges. Leopold (2016) posits that one of the common ways to analyze these long-term and complicated changes is to develop quantitative models, which guarantee sustainable development. System dynamics models can assist in appreciating behavior and structure of the system with nonlinear feedback and links. Such models facilitate the better understanding of the behavior of the model as well as creating a better confidence in the model (Leopold 2016, p.33).
According to Harvey (2013), system dynamics models are utilized in examining the behavior and structure of the system as well as for planning effective policies of system management. For instance, utilizing system dynamics model for decision-making can assist in determining appropriate actions for the organization. Furthermore, such models have a substantial role in managers’ education (Harvey 2013, p.5). The scholars also noted that client and other prospective handlers often want to be certain that they can have faith in system dynamics model since the model with the substantial number of flaws can contribute to a wide range of erroneous decisions. Research conducted by Videira, Antunes, and Santos (2017) noted that tests for obtaining self-reliance in the system model dynamics which can be subdivided into behavior tests and structure test. In particular, structure tests include dimensional stability test, border sufficiency test, great situations test, parameter verification test, and structure authentication test. The main role of structure test is to relate the arrangement of the system dynamics model with the arrangement of the real classification in order to compare the each relationship between the aspects of the real p