A values-based approach for generating localized social indicators for use in sustainability assessment and decision-making test case of brownfield soft reuse in Nigeria

Elijah C. Odii, Chike C. Ebido, Marie K. Harder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sustainable development is a global aim, aided in many ways by the use of indicators for assessment in its social, environmental and economic domains. However, there are significant weaknesses and needs for improvement in social indicators, and we show here that the bolt-on use of a values-based approach can meet those reported needs for the specific case of a widely used decision support framework used in sustainable land remediation to rank candidate development options. The decision-support framework developed by Sustainable Remediation Forum UK (SuRF-UK) is widely used internationally, incorporating considerable scope for local stakeholder input into its basic framework of indicators, with five categories provided in each of the three domains as a default ‘check-list’. However, as in sustainability tools in other fields, the indicators emphasizing social issues have problems of being difficult to localize; difficult to measure; difficult to connect to intangible local needs; thus, being less commonly used, and thus leading to assessments unbalanced across the three domains. Here we trial an unrelated approach named WeValue InSitu which has developed reliability in ‘crystallizing’ local shared values into tangible proto-indicators, as a bolt-on approach to produce localized social indicators for insertion into the SuRF-UK process. We use a hypothetical scenario analysis for a real community in villages near a derelict Salt Lake in Nigeria. Results show the approach resolves the challenges, does not introduce any new issues, and in addition provides a route for wider participation and auditability. The study shows that red flag boundaries may need to be introduced to allow veto of unacceptable breaches of social issues by scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 135045
Number of pages36
JournalScience of the Total Environment
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2019

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social indicator
decision making
sustainability
remediation
bolt
saline lake
sustainable development
stakeholder
village
test
economics
indicator
need
decision

Keywords

  • SuRF-UK
  • WeValue InSitu
  • Localization
  • Mmahi Salt Lake
  • Okposi Okwu
  • Sustainability assessment

Cite this

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title = "A values-based approach for generating localized social indicators for use in sustainability assessment and decision-making test case of brownfield soft reuse in Nigeria",
abstract = "Sustainable development is a global aim, aided in many ways by the use of indicators for assessment in its social, environmental and economic domains. However, there are significant weaknesses and needs for improvement in social indicators, and we show here that the bolt-on use of a values-based approach can meet those reported needs for the specific case of a widely used decision support framework used in sustainable land remediation to rank candidate development options. The decision-support framework developed by Sustainable Remediation Forum UK (SuRF-UK) is widely used internationally, incorporating considerable scope for local stakeholder input into its basic framework of indicators, with five categories provided in each of the three domains as a default ‘check-list’. However, as in sustainability tools in other fields, the indicators emphasizing social issues have problems of being difficult to localize; difficult to measure; difficult to connect to intangible local needs; thus, being less commonly used, and thus leading to assessments unbalanced across the three domains. Here we trial an unrelated approach named WeValue InSitu which has developed reliability in ‘crystallizing’ local shared values into tangible proto-indicators, as a bolt-on approach to produce localized social indicators for insertion into the SuRF-UK process. We use a hypothetical scenario analysis for a real community in villages near a derelict Salt Lake in Nigeria. Results show the approach resolves the challenges, does not introduce any new issues, and in addition provides a route for wider participation and auditability. The study shows that red flag boundaries may need to be introduced to allow veto of unacceptable breaches of social issues by scenarios.",
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