Peck, Megan, & Luna Khirfan (2021, November). Improving the validity and credibility of the sociocultural valuation of ecosystem services in Amman, Jordan. Ecological Economics, 189(11), art. 107111. (doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107111) (Link: (Access:

Abstract: Notwithstanding the increased interest in, and development of, sociocultural valuation methods, the structure and replicability of these methods’ procedures are critiqued. To overcome this, we develop a theoretical framework based on deliberation, local ecological knowledge, and quantified values that we operationalize by adapting a conventional Q-method (a mixed-methods research approach) into a deliberative process by combining it with the qualitative focus group method. We empirically test this method in Amman, Jordan by analyzing how local experts, based on their local ecological knowledge, value urban water features amid severe water scarcity. By weighing the local experts’ competing values to better understand polarized and consensus views, our results reveal two juxtaposing opinions regarding the conception of Amman’s urban surface waters. Decision makers can use these findings to set management priorities and/or make landscape/policy interventions that reduce the likelihood of stakeholder conflict. We also recommend that the Greater Amman Municipality should integrate nature-based solutions (e.g., stream daylighting) in future decision making to capitalize on urban ecosystem services, while maintaining a high degree of human health and safety (e.g., from climatic hazards). Deliberative Q-method is adaptable to different research topics seeking to understand social preferences amid complex urban realities and heterogeneous populations.

Megan Peck <> is on the Faculty of Environment, School of Planning, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.