Drawing, Role-Playing and 3D Maps Improve Land Use Planning
Jean-Christophe Castella often asks Laotian villagers to play the role of developers, conservationists, investors or farmers as they huddle around a table-top virtual village elegantly crafted from plaster bandage strips and cardboard.
Villagers move bits of string back and forth, negotiating where to clear forests to expand farmland, or where a proposed road would best traverse the landscape. Sometimes a foreign investor, played by Castella steps in and makes a generous offer for a land concession – which is not easy to refuse, the villagers admit.
The game is based on a “landscape approach” designed to balance competing demands for food, income, biodiversity and ecosystem services (such as clean water and carbon sequestration) to integrate development and conservation needs.
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