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Using a multi-lens framework for landscape decisions

Cole, Beth; Bradley, Andrew; Willcox, Simon; Gardner, Emma; Allinson, Ewen; Touza, Julia; Hagen-Zanker, Alex; Calo, Adam; Petrovskii, Serghei; Yu, Yingyan; Whelan, Mick


Beth Cole

Simon Willcox

Emma Gardner

Ewen Allinson

Julia Touza

Alex Hagen-Zanker

Adam Calo

Serghei Petrovskii

Yingyan Yu

Mick Whelan


1. Landscape decisions are multi-faceted. Framing landscape decision-making as a governance process that requires a collective approach can encourage key stakeholders to come together to co-inform a discussion about their priorities and what constitutes good governance, leading to more holistic landscape decisions.
2. In this paper, we recognise that a suite of complementary and multi-dimensional approaches are in practice used to inform and evaluate land use decisions. We have called these approaches ‘lenses’ because they each provide a different perspective on the same problem. The four lenses are: i) Power and Market Gain, ii) Ecosystem Services, iii), Place based Identity and iv) Ecocentric. Each brings a different set of evidence and viewpoints (narrative, qualitative and experiential, as well as quantitative metrics such as monetary) to the decision-making process and can potentially reveal problems and solutions that others do not.
3. Considering all lenses together allows dialogue to take place which can reveal the true complexities of landscape decision-making and can facilitate more effective and more holistic decisions. Employing the lenses requires governance structures that give equal weight to all lenses, enable dialogue and coexistence between top down and bottom up approaches, and permit adaptation to local and granular place specifics rather than developing “one-size-fits-all” solutions.
4. We propose that formalising the process of balancing all the lenses requires public participation, and that a lens approach should be used to support landscape decisions alongside a checklist that facilitates transparency in the conversation, showing how all evidence has been
considered and critically assessed.


Cole, B., Bradley, A., Willcox, S., Gardner, E., Allinson, E., Touza, J., …Whelan, M. (in press). Using a multi-lens framework for landscape decisions. People and Nature,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 17, 2023
Journal People and Nature
Electronic ISSN 2575-8314
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Ecosystem Services, Landscape Decisions, Co-informing, Participatory Approaches, Ecocentric, Power and Market Gain, Place based Identity
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