The potential contribution of social impact assessment to megaproject developments

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Megaprojects have considerable potential to generate social impacts as well as environmental impacts. These social impacts occur at all phases in project development. Megaprojects tend to cause the displacement and resettlement of people, as well as induce inmigration and local inflation. They stimulate speculative behaviour which often has detrimental outcomes. They produce anxiety, distress, uncertainty and sometimes fear. Megaprojects are often wicked problems in that: they are often outside the normal experience of impacted communities; the issues and people’s perceptions of the issues change over time; and it is impossible to reach solutions acceptable to all stakeholders because the issues are seen and framed in different ways by the various stakeholders. Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is now understood as being the ongoing process of managing the social impacts of projects. This chapter discusses the essential contribution SIA should play in the implementation of megaprojects. A key position of SIA and this chapter is that projects should engage with communities in a respectful way and should obtain broad-based support and a social licence to operate before proceeding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocioeconomic Evaluation of Megaprojects
Subtitle of host publicationDealing with Uncertainties
EditorsMarkku Lehtonen, Pierre-Benoît Joly, Luis Aparicio
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315622125
ISBN (Print)9781138656116
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Social impact assessment
  • megaprojects

Cite this