Impact assessment is a prominent instrument for managing the local, regional, national and international environment, within the broad goals of sustainability. The simple idea is to consider implications of a decision that might affect people and the wider environment before committing to it. It takes various forms around the world, depending on local legislative requirements, but also on whether it is used at the project level (e.g. environmental impact assessment) or the policy level (e.g. strategic environmental assessment). In addition, specific forms of impact assessment have evolved to address particular impact types, such as health impact assessment, social impact assessment, ecological impact assessment, and so forth.
This paper uses a generic model that unites all forms of impact assessment, based on the research literature that has grown over the last 30–40 years. It emphasises the importance of making methodologically sound decisions when planning and implementing impact assessment activities in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of the process. Topics covered include scoping and prediction, public participation, evaluating the significance of impact, and reviewing for quality control. Teaching is by lectures, practical workshops, and group work. The paper is relevant to students from all backgrounds who have an interest in managing the natural, physical and social systems that make up our environment in more sustainable ways.
The origins and principles of impact assessment (IA); the international state of IA; recent changes in New Zealand; methodology and IA; problems with IA practice, their causes and possible remedies.
Impact assessment is the most widely used environmental management process around the world, but its effectiveness is often limited by weak practice. This paper seeks to improve practice by developing a theory-based model of impact assessment relevant to its use in ecological, social, cultural, health and policy contexts. The paper is as relevant to international students as it is to New Zealand students, as the emphasis is on shaping impact assessment processes relevant to the decision-making context.
|Paper title||Impact Assessment and Sustainability|
|Teaching period||Semester 2 (On campus)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,348.60|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$5,967.53|
- The paper is available to students at or above 400-level across the campus. A background in some aspect of environmental or social/political science is preferable.
- More information link
- View further information about GEOG 471
- Teaching staff
Course Instructor: to be advised
- Paper Structure
Topics covered include scoping and prediction, public participation, evaluating the significance of impact and reviewing for quality control. The paper is relevant to students from all backgrounds who have an interest in managing the natural, physical and social systems that make up our environment in more sustainable ways.
Assessment is 50% internal (on-going during the semester) and 50% external (final examination)
- Teaching Arrangements
2 x 2 hour lectures per week (includes practical workshops and group work)
- Text books are not required for this paper.
Readings are prescribed as required.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research,
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- On completion of the paper students should be able to:
- To develop an understanding of the intentions and role of IA and, in particular, to identify who benefits from the process and how
- To emphasise the different levels and forms of impact assessment
- To highlight the importance of methodology in IA activities and to clarify the relationship with scientific studies
- To increase the understanding of the New Zealand IA processes
- To emphasise the role and importance of public involvement in the IA process
- To develop practical skills and confidence in undertaking impact assessment studies