A participatory approach to social impact assessment: The interactive community forum

Dennis R. Becker, Charles C. Harris, William J. McLaughlin, Erik A. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The Interactive Community Forum is a method of social impact assessment that seeks community members' judgments of social impacts resulting from project alternatives in an environmental impact assessment. The method employs a participant-driven description of the social system along with a set of community constructs to guide in the identification of anticipated social impacts. A diversity of participants with different areas of community involvement are exposed to a structured small group process where information is shared and community-level impacts are deliberated. Based on group discussion, participants project social impacts and identify measures necessary for their mitigation. The Interactive Community Forum thereby provides a means to integrate local knowledge into an Environmental Impact Statement and inform environmental decision-making through a modified public involvement process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-382
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the financial support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Resources For The Future in the development and subsequent examination of the Interactive Community Forum methodology. We are also appreciative for comments provided by Lewis Carter and Matthew Carroll, and for the fieldwork assistance of graduate students and faculty in the Department of Resource Recreation and Tourism at the University of Idaho.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Public involvement
  • Public judgment
  • Small group processes
  • Social impact assessment


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