Desired direction

Flood risk

Costs

Dams

Retention capacity

Space for water

Space for land

Agriculture

Buildings

Potential damage

Nature

Flood risk

3

3

Costs

Dams

-3

3

-3

2

-1

Retention capacity

-1

Space for water

2

2

Space for land

2

2

Agriculture

-1

-1

1

-2

Buildings

-2

-3

2

-2

Potential damage

2

Nature

2

-2

Figure 11.3. Influence matrix with weighted flows.

sistency (thus a high divisor) to compensate for a weak inconsistency, resulting in a low QSSI value.

With the addition of a set of standard stocks and a standard procedure to define flows for certain classes of systems (e.g., industrial sectors or regions) the QSSI could be extended in such a way that it allows comparisons between different systems.

Also, with methods of general network analysis it is possible to derive more system information, such as the character of stocks (active or reactive), and process additional information, such as the speed of change of stocks or the influence of different stakeholders. Any type of relevant information that can be translated into a range (e.g., from low to high), a vector of ranges, or an ordinary scale theoretically can be processed. This leaves plenty of room for refinements of the QSSI.

We based the QSSI on the SCENE approach. The QSSI is only one aspect of our broader aim to inspire methods for the qualitative understanding of systems and thus integrate quantitative and qualitative information (Grosskurth et al. 2004). Any other approach that comprehensively maps system components and the relationships between them can be used as a base. Therefore, the concept is not restricted to the three pillars of sustainability but can be adjusted to accommodate additional domains (e.g., institutional) or entirely different structures (e.g., the driving force, pressure, state, impact, response approach).

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