Increasingly, scholars engage policy makers around fundamental, complex questions on environmental change in interdisciplinary settings. Researchers attempting to develop robust contributions to knowledge that can support policymaker understandings in this context face significant inferential challenges in dealing with the spatial dimension of their phenomenon of interest. In this paper, we extend an understanding of well-defined methodological challenges familiar to applied spatial scientists by explicitly articulating the Decision-Making/Accountability, Spatial Incongruence Problem, or DASIP. Three case studies illustrate how spatial incongruences matter to researchers who work on complex, interdisciplinary problems, while seeking to understand decision-making or policy-related phenomenon: urban heat-island mitigation research in Arizona, water transfer conflicts in Kansas, and hydraulic-fracturing debates in Texas. With such examples, we aim to evoke a deeper understanding of this problem in applied research and also inspire thinking about how scholars might innovate methods for creating knowledge about environmental change that supports spatially accountable decision making.
- decision making
- geographic methods