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Conceptualising social impacts


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Vanclay, F (2002) Conceptualising social impacts. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 22 (3). pp. 183-211. ISSN 0195-9255

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The conceptual framework based on environmental function evaluation of Slootweg et al. [Impact Assess. Proj. Appraisal 19 (2001) 19–28.] is used as the basis for conceptualising social impacts. Existing lists of social impact variables, such as those of the Interorganizational Committee for Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment, are examined and found to be inadequate and contradictory. A new listing of some 80-odd indicative social impacts is developed reflecting a change from project-based thinking to inclusion of the impacts of policies and programs, from thinking only about negative impacts to including positive benefits, and from thinking about unintended consequences to including intended consequences. The importance of differentiating between social impacts and social change processes is highlighted. Many of the variables typically measured in social impact assessment (SIA) studies are not in themselves impacts, but rather represent the measurable outcomes of social change processes, which may or may not cause impacts depending on the situation. Caution is expressed in the use of the list of impacts as a checklist.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social impact assessment, SIA; Scoping; Social impact variables; Social indicators
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Impact Assessment Review
Page Range: pp. 183-211
ISSN: 0195-9255
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/S0195-9255(01)00105-6
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2007 03:01
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:25
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