Social impact assessment: Politically oriented approaches and applications

Donna Craig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


This paper adopts a broad definition of SIA as applied policy analysis and planning activity. The legal requirements for undertaking SIAs in the United States, Australia, and Canada are discussed. The wide variety of SIA approaches is characterized as predominantly technically oriented or politically oriented. The former approach predominates in Australia and is a useful extension of project-specific EIA. However, politically oriented SIA is necessary as well, particularly when SIA is part of policy making. SIA is an essential part of understanding the process of social change and giving it direction. Politically oriented approaches to SIA are underdeveloped, and this paper explores how they can be further developed and applied in broader contexts (such as community-based studies, regional planning, and in cross-cultural policy). Emphasis is given to how politically oriented SIA can evaluate subjective factors such as cultural and quality of life impacts and have them reflected in relevant decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1990


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