2008 Conference Papers

"A longitudinal, catchment-wide, research base for strategic and project social assessments"
- Nick Taylor, Harvey C Perkins & Lee Maynard

Paper prepared for the International Association for Impact Assessment Annual Meeting, Perth, 3-9 May 2008.

Strategic and project social assessments benefit from longitudinal research into regional social change. Often, assessments are undertaken with limited understanding of their wider social-environmental context, arising from a combination of planned interventions and unplanned and unforeseen social changes. A review of social research over 40 years relating to the Waitaki River in New Zealand offers an example of the research base that can be utilised for assessment purposes. This catchment provides a major component of the country’s hydro-electricity production. It is also important for farming, dry-land and irrigated, recreation, tourism and nature conservation. The review found considerable utility in the integrating function of a catchment- system perspective, to organise the extensive base of applied, academic and community research. The review provides a longitudinal understanding of regional characteristics such as population, employment, land-use, economy and community. Actual and potential applications to social assessment include hydro electricity and irrigation projects, cumulative effects of tourism development, changes in cultural landscapes, recreation planning, district land use plans, and regional natural resource plans. The thematically organised findings demonstrate how social assessors should utilise fully the existing research base, or ensure key stakeholders build one beyond the needs of particular assessments.

"If we have a City Plan, why do we still allow retail developers to suit themselves - at a community’s cost?"
- James Baines & Nick Taylor

Paper prepared for the International Association for Impact Assessment Annual Meeting, Perth, 3-9 May 2008.

Christchurch City (New Zealand) has had for some time a City Plan incorporating a centres-based approach to urban development. Despite this, there have been some recent examples where the Council has allowed retail investors to develop new retail premises well outside established centres. How did this come about? What role did impact assessment play in these outcomes? In one case, the City ultimately commissioned a Social Impact Assessment after the out-of-centre development had been permitted to occur and a new supermarket had opened. This paper describes the main findings of the SIA and its implications for future resource consent decisions.