Abstract Title

Session S-10F: Understanding and Communicating Salish Sea Human Dimensions and Ecological Health

Proposed Abstract Title

Power of Information at Different Levels: Measuring Human Well-Being for Integrated Ecosystem Management

Keywords

Planning Assessment & Communication

Location

Room 602-603

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Description

U.S. federal regulations, such as NEPA and Stevens-Magnuson Act require that regulatory agencies conduct social impact assessment. Yet, it is not clear how social impacts should be measured. More specifically, does it matter at what level is the information collected? Is it appropriate to analyze human well-being and impacts of environmental management at the county or a community level? How can we determine the appropriate scale? This paper addresses the above questions by examining human well-being indicators in coastal areas in Washington State over the last 30 years. Coastal areas are key to the U.S. economic success with more than half of the U.S. GDP being created in coastal areas. Yet, indicators of human well-being need to include more than economic indicators. This study employs the framework defined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and conceptualizes human well-being in terms of the following elements: health, basic material for a good life, good social relations, security, and freedom of choice and action. These concepts are operationalized using the U.S. census data. When available, the data are disaggregated by race and gender. The paper analyzes the above measures at two levels: county and community. The study includes 12 coastal counties and 335 communities (based on census place). The paper proposes criteria for deciding appropriate level of measurement for each of the above constituent parts of human well-being.

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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Power of Information at Different Levels: Measuring Human Well-Being for Integrated Ecosystem Management

Room 602-603

U.S. federal regulations, such as NEPA and Stevens-Magnuson Act require that regulatory agencies conduct social impact assessment. Yet, it is not clear how social impacts should be measured. More specifically, does it matter at what level is the information collected? Is it appropriate to analyze human well-being and impacts of environmental management at the county or a community level? How can we determine the appropriate scale? This paper addresses the above questions by examining human well-being indicators in coastal areas in Washington State over the last 30 years. Coastal areas are key to the U.S. economic success with more than half of the U.S. GDP being created in coastal areas. Yet, indicators of human well-being need to include more than economic indicators. This study employs the framework defined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and conceptualizes human well-being in terms of the following elements: health, basic material for a good life, good social relations, security, and freedom of choice and action. These concepts are operationalized using the U.S. census data. When available, the data are disaggregated by race and gender. The paper analyzes the above measures at two levels: county and community. The study includes 12 coastal counties and 335 communities (based on census place). The paper proposes criteria for deciding appropriate level of measurement for each of the above constituent parts of human well-being.