Policy-related research in general, and impact assessments in particular, are too loosely connected to decision-making processes. The result is often sub-optimal or even undesirable, as one of two situations arises: (1) much research is done; however, those with the real power to make decisions do not make use of all of the resulting information, or (2) advocates of contrary opinions struggle with each other, using policy-related research as ammunition. To avoid these unwanted situations, the connection between the world of knowledge and the world of decision-making should be carefully constructed, by connecting the process of decision-making to the academic research and carefully developing research goals in response to the demands of decision-makers. By making these connections in a stepwise manner, knowledge may generate new insights and views for involved decision-makers and stakeholders, thus changing perceptions and problem definitions. In this way, these actors learn about the possibilities of several alternatives as well as each other's perceptions, and thus can make educated decisions leading to the most desirable and socially acceptable solution. The way this proposed method works is illustrated using two cases in The Netherlands: the project “Mainport Rotterdam” (the enlargement of the port of Rotterdam), the project “A fifth runway for Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol)”.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2003
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