Social Impact Assessment And Social Impacts

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Social impacts are the consequences of change in societies and cultures (Basa, 2007) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) methods are used to study these consequences. The scope of SIA and the methods used have widened considerably in recent decades (Esteves et al. 2012), with SIA developing concepts and tools to assess the social impacts of development projects on people and their livelihoods (Asselin and Parkins, 2009; Tang et al., 2008; Vanclay, 2003, 2006). In the United States, the National Environmental Protection Act 1969 (NEPA) provided strong legislative impetus for the development of procedures for environmental impact assessment, and early references to SIA came in the 1970s regarding the impact of pipeline development on indigenous …show more content…
SIA seeks to answer the following question: Will there be a measurable difference in the quality of life in the community as a result of the proposed action? (Barrow, 2000). SIA has also been defined as “the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action which are related to individuals, organizations and social macro-systems” (Becker, 2001, p 311). SIA considers what would happen if the proposed development project does or does not take place, explores ways of avoiding or mitigating adverse (especially irreversible) impacts and flags likely or apparent beneficial impacts and opportunities (Barrow, …show more content…
SIA has considerable potential to give social criteria their rightful place alongside economic and environmental criteria in decision making (Stolp et al., 2002; Taylor et al., 2004; Burdge, 2004) and its holistic perspective provides a useful mechanism to increase the awareness of planners, decision-makers and the whole community about the social and cultural aspects of a specific planned development project (Sairinen and Kumpulainen, 2006; Ahmadvand et al., 2009). This results in better management of development projects and a more inclusive process by involving key stakeholders. Additionally, it makes projects more socially sound by minimizing or mitigating adverse social impacts, maximizing social benefits, ensuring that projects are designed to “fit” the target populations and is part of a democratic process in which equity, transparency and ownership are ensured through public participation (Francis and Jacobs, 1999; Vanclay, 2012; Pisani and Sandham, 2006; Sairinen et al.,

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