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Title: Theoretical underpinnings of the other social effects account
Authors: Marstel-Day, LLC
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Institute for Water Resources.
Dunning, C. Mark
Durden, Susan
Keywords: Four accounts
Human dimensions
National economic development
Other social effects
Quality of life
Social factors
Publisher: Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/CHL SR ; 07-1.
Description: Special report
ABSTRACT: While water resources planning has primarily been focused on enhancing economic well-being as portrayed in the National Economic Development (NED) account, well-being is a multifaceted concept grounded in human needs that includes distributive justice, social connectedness, equality, and health and safety considerations, in addition to economic well-being factors. Information on these multiple dimensions of well-being is increasingly being used by Federal agencies, the World Bank, and other countries to provide a more comprehensive understanding of quality of life and livability issues. A water resources planning process that incorporates a multidimensional conception of well-being positively influences the degree to which water resources solutions will be judged as effective, acceptable, and fair. The planning process envisioned in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering Circular on collaborative planning is consistent with the conceptions of well-being portrayed in this paper. To be most effective in this emerging planning framework, social factors information addressed in the “Other Social Effects” (OSE) account should be integrated into the planning process to provide information about social issues of concern to help shape planning objectives, develop and evaluate alternatives, and work toward solutions. The role of the OSE practitioner should be one of “action researcher,” helping all interested parties to use OSE information to contribute to decision-making. A number of actions will be needed to ensure that OSE information is substantively used in water resources planning. Training and policy clarification forums will be necessary to overcome the lack of understanding and skepticism among planners steeped in NED-centric planning about OSE information and its value. Frameworks will need to be evaluated and defined which incorporate OSE in the decision-making process. Establishing an OSE center of expertise within the Corps of Engineers would also help in raising the profile of human factors information and would establish a base for advancing water resources-oriented human factors knowledge. Finally, the Corps needs to re-engage with the growing body of practice in human dimensions, social factors, and quality of life work located in other Federal agencies, the World Bank, the European Union, other organizations, and academia.
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