Equity Measures for Selecting Sustainable Projects

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by Sam Matheson,
Barbara Lence, (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water:

Abstract: Once implemented, a project may result in social, ecological, and economic impacts on both spatially and temporally distributed groups. Sustainable project selection requires that distributional equity be considered for a longer planning horizon, that is, for an inter-generational planning horizon, and a larger spatial scale. In the context of project selection and implementation, distributional equity refers to a fair allocation of the impacts of a project among various groups or individuals. Over lengthened planning horizons, changes may occur in: 1) the distribution of project impacts, 2) the distribution of impacts that is considered fair, and 3) the composition and location of the affected groups. In this work, approaches for evaluating intra-generational equity are described, and major considerations and a framework for evaluating inter-generational equity are proposed. This framework includes possible measures for evaluating distributional equity over long planning horizons. These measures may be useful for practical sustainable decision making.

Subject Headings: Sustainable development | Frames | Social factors | Ecosystems | Economic factors | Spatial distribution | Decision making |

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