The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

Conceptual and Methodological Advances

Elgar original reference

Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay

This important Handbook presents an indispensable overview of the range of new methods and of the conceptual advances in Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Recent increased attention to social considerations has led to substantial development in the techniques useful to, and the thinking in, SIA. A distinguished group of contributors provides an up-to-date and comprehensive account of the cutting-edge in SIA development.

Chapter 15: Citizen Values Assessment

Annelies Stolp

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, environment, environmental sociology, research methods in the environment, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, research methods in social policy, sociology and sociological theory


Annelies Stolp Introduction Expert opinions of environmental values and impacts – including those of SIA practitioners – can differ from the way citizens feel about the state of their living environment (that is, where they live, work and play) and how intended activities may impact on the various attributes of that environment. Therefore, in environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and other planning procedures, it is necessary to investigate the way people judge their living environment, and how they think a planned project may affect its qualities. This may provide additional relevant information to decision makers. SIA practitioners are important gatekeepers in gaining access to local knowledge and making it available to others (see Chapter 3). Unfortunately, consideration of citizens’ value judgments is not routinely undertaken in EIA or SIA. Both EIA and SIA tend to remain technocratic in orientation, avoiding any detailed consideration of the ways people are affected (Burningham, 1995; Dale and Lane, 1994, 1995; Gagnon et al., 1993; Ortolano and Shepherd, 1995). Despite awareness within SIA of differences in perceptions between social groups, and between experts and the affected communities, the SIA literature has very little specification of the actual methods used to determine citizen values. In fact, SIA does not have many specified techniques, despite endorsement of a general procedure in the Interorganizational Committee’s Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment (ICGP, 1994) and despite the outlines provided by Freudenburg (1986), Taylor et al. (1995), Burdge and Vanclay (1995)...

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