The human systems modeling working group is actively working towards development of a new typology for representing human decisions and actions in MSD models. A key focus of the typology is characterizing how these decisions interface with the natural and infrastructure elements of represented systems. The typology includes a general conception of actors in MSD systems and various axes of model characteristics. For the latter, the typology sets forth 15 categories of model characteristics across four general categories: 1) human system representation, 2) physical system representation, 3) spatial and temporal representation, and 4) model structure and integration.

Example axes of model characteristics applied to 3 different MSD models

The typology is applicable to a wide range of modeling approaches (e.g., systems dynamics, agent-based, bioeconomic, and equilibrium). It is intended to facilitate systematic discussion around the use of CHNS models in MSD. Specifically, the typology can assist in elucidating the unique capability of and complementary insights gained from different modeling approaches and identifying opportunities for enhancing the state of knowledge in MSD through diverse, yet concerted, CHNS model development and application.

Mapping model characteristics to modeling goals using the MSD human systems typology

The typology is the evolving outcome of the MSD Human Systems Modeling working group’s discussions. The long term scope of our working group is to better address how human system dynamics, defined broadly from individual consumer adaptation to large-scale societal transitions, can be effectively represented in MSD models.