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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We argue that infrastructure projects are complex and that evaluations of such projects need to do justice to that complexity. The three principal aspects discussed here are heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context. Evaluations that are serious about incorporating the complexity of projects need to address these aspects. Often, evaluations rely on single case studies. Such studies are useful because they allow researchers to focus on the heterogeneous, unique, and contextual nature of projects. However, their relevance for explaining other (future) projects is limited. Larger-n studies allow for the comparison of cases, but they come with the important downside that their relevance for explaining single projects is limited because they cannot incorporate heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context sufficiently. The method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) presents a promising solution to this conundrum. This book offers a guide to using QCA when evaluating infrastructure projects.

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The Evaluation of Complex Infrastructure Projects

A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

Infrastructure projects are notoriously hard to manage so it is important that society learns from the successes and mistakes made over time. However, most evaluation methods run into a conundrum: either they cover a large number of projects but have little to say about their details, or they focus on detailed single-case studies with little in terms of applicability elsewhere. This book presents Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an alternative evaluation method that solves the conundrum to enhance learning.
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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

In this concluding chapter, some of the main issues concerning the evaluation of complex infrastructure projects with QCA are revisited. First, QCA’s capacity to truly capture and study the complexity of the development of infrastructure projects is discussed. QCA’s take on complex causality is relatively static because it does not explicitly integrate the time dimension. Various strategies to integrate time in QCA are discussed, including Temporal QCA (TQCA) and Time-Series QCA (TS/QCA). The different strategies have their strengths and weaknesses and they relate to different research steps (i.e., the case, the calibration, and the comparison) involved in QCA. Second, the deployment of QCA in real-world evaluations and various issues evaluators may run into are discussed. These issues include learning and political accountability, the presentation and visualization of results, and the transfer of lessons learned.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain and demonstrate how the researcher can identify recurring patterns across cases on the basis of the calibrated data matrix, in a systematic and transparent way. The comparative process in QCA consists of three main steps. First, the calibrated data matrix needs to be transformed into a truth table. In the truth table, the cases are sorted across the logically possible configurations of conditions. Second, the truth table has to be minimized. This is done through the pairwise comparison of truth table rows that are considered to agree on the outcome and differ in their score in but one of the conditions. The result of the minimization is a solution formula. Third, the solution formula needs to be interpreted. Two common issues in the truth table minimization are limited diversity and logical contradictions. We present various strategies for dealing with these issues.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain why it is important to research specific cases and how exactly cases are to be understood and studied using QCA. Cases allow the researcher to account for the heterogeneity, uniqueness, and contextuality of projects. Whereas the term ‘case’ is often used indiscriminately, in QCA it is a clearly defined and important building block. In QCA, cases are conceptualized as configurations of conditions. This configurational nature highlights the complexity of the case. Cases can be researched in two principal ways: case-driven and theory-driven. The case-driven route is decidedly grounded in empirical material, with the boundaries and aspects of cases being constructed during the empirical research process. In the more theory-driven route, the boundaries and aspects of cases are defined by prior theories. Both routes constitute dialogues between data and theory. The chapter explains the concrete research steps involved in both routes.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain and demonstrate how the selected cases have to be prepared for the actual comparison. This involves a serious effort with regard to the interpretation of the case materials. In QCA, this process of interpreting data is guided by calibration, where raw (qualitative) case data are transformed into quantitative values. Calibration is important because it systematizes interpretation and makes it transparent. There are three principle types of calibration in QCA: crisp-set QCA, fuzzy-set QCA, and multi-value QCA. We explain and demonstrate the different types of calibration using real examples. We also discuss good practices that will help the researcher in making sound decisions when calibrating. The calibration results in a calibrated data matrix, which forms the input for the formal comparison in QCA. Having completed this chapter, the researcher will be able to start the comparison.

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John Stanley, Janet Stanley and Roslynne Hansen

What makes for a great city in the 21st century? If one aspires to a vision like that of Vancouver, as we do, what does it actually mean and how can a city best realise its vision? Questions such as these are the reason for this book, focusing on cities in highly developed western economies and working from a perspective that sees the idea of integrated planning as a core starting point. This chapter outlines some of the important trends we have observed in urban land use transport planning in recent years, such as: a growing sustainability focus; more attention being paid to structural economic changes and how they affect the spatial structure of cities; the growing importance of neighbourhood, adding a local lens to strategic planning; the interest in compact settlement patterns and in how knowledge of built form and travel interactions can be used to promote this settlement pattern; putting transport in its place, as a servant of land use, rather than letting it determine wider urban outcomes ; and, an increased interest in governance and funding. Our interest is in identifying how the growing knowledge base in such areas can be brought together more effectively, to deliver better urban outcomes. This underlines the vital role we see for a broader, more integrated approach to strategic urban land use transport planning. Subsequent chapters explore improved practice in some detail, with extensive use of case study material.

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John Stanley, Janet Stanley and Roslynne Hansen

This chapter starts with a discussion of vision and goals for city strategic land use transport planning, then looks at the visions and goals set by a number of cities we regard as demonstrating best practice: Vancouver (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), London (UK), Malmö (Sweden), Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) and Portland (US). A triple bottom line sustainability approach is common to these cities, which all see themselves as ‘green’, but more interesting is the distinctiveness that emerges. Review of practices in the case study cities suggests some key ingredients of a ‘good city’, in strategic land use transport planning terms, such as: engaging the community throughout all stages in the planning process in a meaningful way, as a matter of rights and to achieve better outcomes; using transport to support land use development intentions; integrating ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches to planning; linking land use planning to structural economic change, to enhance productivity growth and enable a better sharing of the benefits of this growth; embedding planning for housing affordability within integrated land use transport planning for compact mixed-use urban growth; planning being aimed at building strong communities, social capital and individual wellbeing; and recognising the importance of a sustainable environment for both present and future generations (and for survival of other species).

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John Stanley, Janet Stanley and Roslynne Hansen

This chapter draws on material from previous chapters to suggest ways of tackling the many complexities in strategic land use transport planning that have been identified. A good understanding of community goals or aspirations, the achievement of which is the main planning purpose, is the starting point, including a focus on clearly understanding what is distinctive about the particular city. More compact settlement patterns are seen as fundamental drivers of land use development directions, with transport priorities framed to support land use intentions. The chapter has a particular focus on the four areas that the book has identified as ‘new’ elements in good practice strategic land use transport planning: economic productivity (and job accessibility); social inclusion; affordable housing; and urban environmental performance. The key requirement is that long-term land use plans and transport plans, together with strategic plans for other sectors that are closely connected with land use and transport development, are prepared in an integrated way, paying close attention to interactions between these fields of activity and using these interactions to advantage. Implementation plans are discussed, including a focus on governance and funding arrangements, and KPIs for monitoring and performance assessment are identified. The chapter closes by summarising some of the main conclusions from the book.