Inaugural lecture: Mr. F.M.D. Vanclay, 16.15 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Title: Enhancing the effectiveness of Social Impact Assessment in managing the social issues of planned interventions
Faculty: Spatial Sciences
Social Impact Assessment is now considered to be the process of managing the social issues of development – or formally defined as “the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions”. Rather than the traditional focus on the ex ante prediction of (negative) impacts, the current paradigm seeks to maximise positive outcomes to communities while minimising harm. It does this by being an ongoing process of managing the social issues of development, from pre-establishment to post-closure. While there is consensus that SIA can make an effective contribution to sustainability, unfortunately its potential contribution is not being fully achieved. Increasing general understanding about SIA and increasing awareness of the benefits of SIA is necessary. Strengthening the link between SIA and value from each stakeholder perspective will result in more effective initiatives, ultimately leading to increased credibility being built amongst stakeholders, commitment to social sustainability investments being reinforced, and social and environmental outcomes being achieved. Where decision-makers are willing to enter into collaborative power-sharing partnerships, this can lead to better outcomes for the decision-makers and the community. Thus, SIA can give substance to the basic tenet of democracy, providing citizens with the opportunity to influence the decisions that impact them. SIA can be an effective tool to promote collaboration and to enable communities to be active agents in their future. Through innovation in its practice, SIA seeks to improve the individual and community wellbeing that flows from projects and policies that accelerate spatial transformation.
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