Towards a water-wise world Annual report 2014

Author(s): Segrave, A.J., van der Zouwen, M.W., & van Vierssen W. 

Water planning: From what Time Perspective?

20 July 2014Peer review


Integrative planning for water technology and infrastructure depends on various social, behavioral and environmental factors. Since water is a common-pool resource, water planning commonly involves addressing the views of diverse groups of people on multiple levels. Inter-group differences, especially if they go unrecognized, can be problematic for planning processes. Research into the Time Perspectives of people fulfilling different roles in the water sector worldwide revealed fascinating differences in how people perceive the Foreseeable Future. The aim was to characterize the heterogeneity so that it might be explicitly accounted for in planning. One-on-one interviews were held with 309 managers, practical workers, and scientists in the Netherlands, Ghana, Brazil, and Japan. Each interviewee’s Time Perspective was characterized using a multi-measure method. The most noteworthy conclusions concern differences in the temporal extent of the goals and events that motivate people. Scientists are motivated by objects that lie furthest into the future followed by managers and then practical workers (Group medians: 8.4, 3.5, 1.7 yrs). Across national cultures, the time horizons of the Japanese and Brazilian interviewees are longest. These conclusions are important because the time horizons considered in planning influence what problems are perceived, what questions are asked, and what solutions are sought.

In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2014;86:157-67.

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