A Participatory Approach to Assess the Future of the Bioeconomy in Greene County – A Pilot Study for Iowa

Grant: 07S-03
Principal Investigator: 
Monica Haddad
Student: 
Organization: 
Iowa State University
Technical Area: Renewable Energy

Objective

Planning and public policy can play decisive roles in a situation [where] pros and cons must be taken into account before making decisions. Therefore, we propose a Pilot Study to
sharpen the understanding of the opportunities and challenges posed by and to the development of the bioeconomy in Greene County, Iowa.

The main questions for this Pilot Study are: 1) What
should a county like Greene do to minimize the negative impacts that the bioeconomy may have on its territory?; 2) What are the Greene County residents’ perspectives about topics related to the Bioeconomy (such as water quality, water quantity, and livestock expansion)?; and 3) Based on the analyses and survey results, what policy recommendations can we address to provide input for Greene County elected and business leaders?

The main objectives of this Pilot Study are: 1) to analyze some spatial and non-spatial issues related to the Bioeconomy (water resources, livestock expansion, landscape conservation, farmland protection, transportation networks, and co-location and co-development); 2) to capture, by conducting a on-line survey, Greene County’s residents’ perspectives about the issues described above (public participation); and 3) to develop a snapshot of Greene County residents’ desires about the future of the Bioeconomy, providing input for Greene County elected and business leaders.

After the spatial and non-spatial analyses are completed, we will produce an on-line survey, including in some questions about maps, created during the analyses. This on-line survey will be the participatory component of our research project. For the questions that include maps, we will develop a series of scenarios (what ifs). Respondents will be able to visualize the different alternatives and trade-offs that may arise with the bioeconomy. The four stages of our research project:

  1. Future of the Bioeconomy Assessment
  2. Elaboration On-line Survey
  3. On-line Survey (Greene County Residents
  4. Elaboration Final Report

We believe that this study can serve as a model for other Iowan counties that are interested in learning more about how the bioeconomy may affect the future of their residents. The approach that will be used in this study can be replicated to other locations to better examine issues related to transportation, environmentally sensitive areas, water resources, livestock expansion, and co-location and co-development.