Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental Science

First Committee Member

Krystyna Stave

Number of Pages



Government in growing cities has a difficult time responding to problems that come with growth. The combination of the complexity of the problem, fragmentation in jurisdictions and responsibilities, and regional consequences produce diverse views of exactly what the problem is, what causes it, and how it is best addressed. The organizational structure of municipal government is not conducive to collaboration. Accordingly, governments have turned increasingly to stakeholder groups to develop growth management strategies. However, these stakeholder groups are not particularly successful. They struggle to achieve consensus even when facilitated and their recommendations often go unimplemented. The question I investigate in this research is: what can be done to help stakeholder groups working on urban growth problems be more successful?;I evaluate the hypothesis: facilitating a stakeholder team working on urban growth problem using a system dynamics group model building approach will result in a greater degree success than is achieved by a traditional facilitation approach by comparing the degrees of collaboration and consensus achieved by two real-world stakeholder groups with similar tasks, contexts, and constructs. Both groups were 'professionally' facilitated, one using a system dynamics group model building approach and the other a traditional non-modeling approach; The results show the model building group achieved significantly higher degrees of collaboration and consensus than the traditionally facilitated group. I investigated the processes and found the traditionally facilitated group did not discuss causes, and mixed problem discussion of the problem and solutions. The model building group discussed problem definition, causes sequentially, and balanced amount of attention given to each. The group also used a simulation model to test alternative solutions for their effect. These results suggest the difference in success can be attributed to superiority of the group model building process to integrate the diverse views that derive from complex problems and contexts; The results support the hypothesis, and suggest that stakeholder teams dealing with complex and messy problems and problem-solving environments can increase the degree of collaboration and consensus achieved where the facilitation approach is selected in consideration of the task and context characteristics.


Assessing; Building; Developing; Effects; Group; Group Model Building; Growth; Stakeholder Teams; Strategies; System Dynamics; Urban Growth

Controlled Subject

City planning; Environmental sciences

File Format


File Size

2570.24 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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