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E&S Home > Vol. 16, Iss. 3 > Art. 20 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Deliberative Democracy, Institution Building, and the Pragmatics of Cumulative Effects Assessment

John R Parkins, University of Alberta

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04236-160320

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Abstract

Cumulative effects assessment is a process of scientific analysis, social choice, and public policy development, yet the linkages among these domains are often less than transparent. Limits to scientific and technical assessment, issues of power and control of information, and episodic forms of civic engagement represent serious challenges to meaningful understanding of cumulative effects assessment and land-use planning. In articulating these challenges, I draw on case studies from Ontario's Lands for Life and Alberta's Land-use Framework to illustrate current limitations to cumulative effects assessment on public lands in Canada. As a partial remedy for these limitations, insights into a pragmatic approach to impact assessment, in contrast to decisionistic and technocratic approaches, offer a way forward through a more robust integration of scientific information, civic engagement, and public policy development. I also identify a need for longer-standing institutions that are dedicated to regional planning and cumulative effects assessment in Canada.

Key words

case study; environmental sociology; Land-use Framework; Lands for Life; regional planning; social imaginary
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087