Pete Barbrook-Johnson and Alexandra S. Penn

Jan 20, 2024

Systems Mapping

How to Build and Use Causal Models of Systems

Palgrave MacMillan 2022

There is a growing need across social, environmental, and policy challenges for richer, more nuanced, yet actionable and participatory understanding of the world. Complexity science and systems thinking offer hope in meeting this need. But in their 2022 book Systems Mapping: How to Build and Use Causal Models of Systems (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022), Pete Barbrook-Johnson and Alexandra (Alex) S. Penn argue that ‘systems mapping’ is a necessary a starting point for understanding complex adaptive systems in practical, actionable, and participatory ways.

Their book explores a range of new and older systems mapping methods focused on representing causal relationships in systems. In a practical manner, it describes the methods and considers the differences between. Systems Mapping offers practical insights for causal systems mapping in real-world contexts, with tips from experienced practitioners, and a detailed guide on the realities and challenges of building and using these types of system maps.

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