|Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (United Nations University, 1999, 375 p.)|
|9. Emerging developments in EIA|
|9.6 Social impact assessment|
SIA variables point to measurable changes in human populations, communities, and social relationships resulting from a development project or policy change. After research on local community change, rural industrialization, reservoir and highway development, natural resource development, and social change in general, we suggest a list of social variables under the general headings of: (1) population characteristics; (2) community and institutional structures, (3) political and social resources, (4) individual and family changes, and (5) community resources.
Population characteristics means present population and expected change, ethnic and racial diversity, and influxes and outflows of temporary residents as well as the arrival of seasonal or leisure residents.
Community and institutional structures mean the size, structure, and level or organization of local government including linkages to the larger political systems. They also include historical and present patterns of employment and industrial diversification, the size and level of activity of voluntary associations, religious organizations, and interest groups, and finally, how these institutions relate to each other.
Political and social resources refer to the distribution of power authority, the interested and affected publics, and the leadership capability and capacity within the community or region.
Individual and family changes refer to factors which influence the daily life of the individuals and families, including attitudes, perceptions, family characteristics, and friendship networks. These changes range from attitudes toward the policy to an alternation in family and friendship networks to perceptions of risk, health, and safety.
Community resources include patterns of natural resource and land use, the availability of housing and community services to include health, police, and fire protection, and sanitation facilities. Keys to the continuity and survival of human communities are their historical and cultural resources. Under this collection of variables we also consider possible changes for indigenous people and religious subcultures.
At this point in discussion of an SIA model, we demonstrate a conceptual procedure for both examining and accumulating information about social impacts. We also outline a matrix which demonstrates that social impacts will be different depending upon the project type and the stage of development. The next step in the development of the SIA model is to suggest the social impact variables for each stage in project development given different project types and settings.