Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay
Robert Rattle and Roy E. Kwiatkowski Introduction Human activity continues to exert increasing environmental pressures, and this has produced widespread undesirable consequences for many individuals and groups. Every eﬀort must be made to ensure that development activities meet the needs of the present generation without harming people or compromising the needs of future generations. Only if this is achieved can we be certain that development activities are sustainable. Many diﬀerent deﬁnitions and interpretations of sustainable development have materialized in recent years. Often these focus on speciﬁc elements rather than the varied and complex relationships that describe quality of life and wellbeing. One simple process cannot express the complexities of quality of life and sustainable development and their interrelationships. A holistic or multidisciplinary approach is necessary. Thirty years or so ago, environmental impact assessment (EIA) did not exist. Today, it is a formal process used in many countries and organizations to help decision makers consider the environmental consequences of proposed actions. It is considered a valuable tool to meeting sustainable development objectives. The results of an EIA may suggest important, indeed essential, interventions which may mitigate, reduce or prevent undesirable consequences and enhance the beneﬁcial eﬀects of development activities. Once the results are applied, they may improve the quality of speciﬁc proposals and help achieve sustainable development. An International Study of the Eﬀectiveness of Environmental Assessment (Sadler, 1996) identiﬁed social impact assessment (SIA) and health impact assessment (HIA) as areas that are...
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