Opportunity-Threat, Development, and Adaptation: Toward a Comprehensive Framework for Social Impact Assessment1


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    An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the International Association of Impact Assessment in Urbana, Illinois, in 1991. This research was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Interior, Minerals Management Service. All analyses and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be taken to represent the views of the Minerals Management Service or any other component of the U.S. government.


Abstract Partly because of the field's efforts to deal first with the kinds of impacts that have been the most obvious and pressing, the traditional focus of social impact assessment has been on the impacts taking place during the most intensive phases of developmental activity. Recently it has become increasingly clear that a number of predictable, significant impacts take place both before and after the periods of most intense activity; these impacts are missed by social impact assessment approaches that are excessively narrow in focus. This paper offers a conceptual framework that is relatively simple but that deals with impacts both across time and across potentially affected systems of the human environment, doing so in such a way as to improve the promise of social impact assessment to become more nearly comprehensive.