Poster: SOC Poster and Networking Session on Monday, July 18, 2022, 12:30 PM

Room: Creative Learning

Thread: Diversity

Duration: 120 minutes

Chair: Cherie Dirk

1. Eroding Public Services: Modelling the Rise of the American Legislative Exchange Council in the United States Legislatures

Presenters: Edvin Andreasson, Jefferson K. Rajah

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a conservative lobbying group in the United States that favours corporate interest on the state level. The organisation has been referred to as a ‘bill mill’ which is an organisation that drafts model bills for state legislators to use. These bills are often drafted in cooperation with firms and businesses to make bills that undemocratically favour corporate interests. These bills are then sent to members in state legislatures and pass without much resistance. Thus, it is often critiqued for circumventing the democratic process by not considering the local mandates of politicians. This project aimed to create a conceptual model that demonstrates the mechanisms and reinforcing structure that aids in ALECs success throughout the 21st century. The findings demonstrate that ALEC uses its influence to reduce state budgets for politicians so that they do not have sufficient resources to effectively perform their duties. In turn, these politicians join ALEC as they provide said resources. The more legislative members that join ALEC the greater the access is to the political process, which in turn results in greater influence. In the analysis, different scenarios are run to find leverage points in the structure to see how potential policies can reduce ALECs influence in the United States.

2. Modelling the dynamics of mental workload and fatigue in safety-critical monitoring roles

Presenters: Bart Roets, NingYuan Liu, Hesam Mahmoudi, Kostas Triantis

In complex safety-critical systems, mental fatigue resulting from high levels of stress or boredom during monitoring tasks may lead to a higher risk of human errors and eventually accidents. However, the estimation and quantification of the operator’s mental workload have been challenging. We present a dynamic model of the suboptimality of workload and its interaction with fatigue through time in safety-critical monitoring roles. Using the context and data of the Traffic Controllers (TC) in the Belgian railway network, we have set to examine the dynamic hypotheses of mental fatigue affecting the workers’ overload and underload thresholds of TCs and consequently their comfort range of workload through time. The simulated model results show that 85-86% of work-hours in the morning and afternoon shifts are in the comfort range, in contrast with only 59% of the work hours in the night shift. This is due to the large portion of underload work-hours in the night shift, which brings about accumulated fatigue and boredom, resulting in the comfort range shrinking with an increased pace. Finally, our model takes the first leap to utilize simulation models and quantify the suboptimality of workload by considering the changes in the operator’s mental fatigue through time.

3. Growth Mental Models and Societal Well-being in Australian Urban Areas

Presenters: Shayne Gary, Graciela Metternicht, Kerry Humphreys, Juan Rios

Worldwide urban societies have advanced in terms of economic and social conditions over the last five decades, improving the living conditions of millions of people. However, several important environmental and social indicators have declined over this period, and the continued reduction will negatively impact the overall well-being of societies in the future. In this study, we used a grounded theory approach using a priori content analysis and causal map diagramming to capture the dominant policymakers’ mental models – in terms of perceived causal relationships, strategies, and decision policies. We analyse three published urban plans of Greater Sydney between 1968 and 2018. We find that policymakers’ mental models concentrate urban policy decisions on growing city areas in response to population growth through greater infrastructure and economic activity investment. Even though social and environmental indicators have gained importance in the urban planning and policymakers’ mental models, the economic dimension still represents the primary concern of Greater Sydney’s policymakers. In conclusion, collective beliefs about causal relationships influence the strategies that decision-makers formulate and the rules of thumb adopted to make decisions affecting urban development planning, societal well-being, and city sustainability.

4. PhD Thesis: Exploring our understanding of climate migration through complex systems thinking

Presenters: Emily Nabong, Aaron Opdyke

This poster presents an outline of a PhD student's intended thesis work. The thesis work is focused on migration relating to climate change through the lens of complex systems. Climate migration is multi-causal with climate affected populations considering demographic, economic, environmental, political, and social conditions when weighing their decision to move. Complex systems thinking is proposed as a means to explore how individual or households' decision-making regarding these factors can lead to emergent migration patterns. Our thesis includes causal loop diagramming and agent-based modelling as the primary methodology for examining this idea. With our results, we hope to be able to make recommendations to policy makers on leverage points in the climate migration system as well as on infrastructure needs based on future migration flows.

5. How Might (or Might Not) Food Donation Policies Improve Fresh Produce Rescue and Reduce Waste?

Presenters: Mariana Torres Arroyo, Luis Luna-Reyes, Natasha Pernicka, Stacy Pettigrew, Ben Atwood, Beth Feingold

Reducing food waste presents opportunities for increasing food & nutrition security, addressing climate change, and conserving resources. In the United States, while 13.8 million households struggle to get sufficient food, the amount of per capita wasted food doubled between 1974 and 2003. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the major share of all wasted food; this represents a significant loss of nutrients, a misuse of resources such as water and land, and contributes to global warming. Recovery of these nutritious foods and their diversion to human consumption is among the strategies to address both food & nutrition security and wasted food issues. In New York, two “farm policies” and one “waste ban” are intended to divert food away from landfills through food donation. These recent policies lack evaluation to understand how they could work for food & nutrition security and waste reduction purposes. In this research, we are building a system dynamic model to analyze policy implications on fresh produce rescue and waste. Our work relies on various data sources, including community partner data, and extends a participatory process in which group model building was used to incorporate stakeholders’ perspectives and expertise.

6. Socio-economic adaptation to ongoing Taranaki volcanism – A Co-Created System Dynamics approach

Presenter: Martyna Wala

The research focuses on understanding how communities, businesses, and government may navigate through ongoing volcanic disruption at Mt. Taranaki. The ex-ante System Dynamics approach applied to the Taranaki volcano will simulate plausible changes in the behaviour of aspects of the socio-economic system under distress and illuminate critique decision-making by key impacted stakeholders. A better understanding of the system's parts, interconnections between them, and their dependencies will tackle complex, nonlinear, and dynamic challenges, enable to ask targeted questions, and thus seek targeted solutions. This transdisciplinary topic sits at the interface of hazard, socio-economic, and decision-making science. It seeks to enhance the resilience and adaptability of people, communities, and businesses to deal with disruptions of ongoing, dynamic, and uncertain threats.

7. Exploring Local Heating System Transition Dynamics

Presenter: Hyunkyo Yu

In order to achieve energy system transition from a system where fossil-based fuel dominates to a one with renewable energy and less carbon emissions, it is necessary to implement appropriate policy measures that can facilitate the consumers to choose a better energy alternative. Cost-based energy systems modelling is a common tool to analyze and evaluate such policy measures from a system perspective however, it is hard with this approach to capture what are the important factors affecting the energy consumers’ choices when they adopt other energy alternatives. This study adopts a System Dynamics approach and presents a model of technological diffusion of 203 detached houses in a residential area of a Danish municipality Lyngby- Taarbæk. Three factors (cost, learning effect, and trust) are analyzed to investigate how fast the technological transition will happen and what are the important factors affecting the transition. Policy implications are discussed and it is found that this type of approach can support decision makers to better understand complex system and implement appropriate policy to facilitate such transition.