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Abstract

The general attitude towards the sustainable management of environmental resources is evolving towards the implementation of 'participatory' (as opposed to the classical 'command and control') and, especially at local scale, 'bottom up' (as opposed to the classical 'top down') approaches. This progress pushes a major interest in the development and application of methodologies able to 'discover' and 'measure' how environmental systems tend to be perceived by the different Stakeholders. Due to the 'nature' of the investigated systems, often too 'complex' to be treated through a classical deterministic approach, as typical for 'hard' physical/mathematical sciences, any 'measurement' has necessarily to be multidimensional. In the present report an approach, more typical of 'soft' social sciences, is presented and applied to the analysis of the sustainable management of water resources in seven Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Watersheds. The methodology is based on the development and analysis (explorative factor analysis, multidimensional scaling) of a questionnaire and is aimed at the 'discovery' and 'measurement' of a latent multidimensional 'underlying structure' ('conceptual map'). It is the opinion of the authors, that the identification of a set of 'consistent', 'independent', 'bottom up' and 'shared' synthetic indicators (aggregated indices) could be strongly facilitated by the interpretation of the dimensions of the emerging 'underlying structure'.

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