The role of social impact assessment in urban planning, a case study of Wolseley School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Dobchuk, Douglas
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This practicum is an examination of the role which social impact assessment (SIA) can play in urban planning. The intention of this exercise was to explore the applicability of social impact assessment methods to issues of urban planning utilizing a local school planning issue as an illustrative test case. The opening chapters present an introduction to social impact assessment and illustrate some of the parallels and commonalties between SIA and urban planning. These chapters include a description of social impact assessment identification of its defining characteristics, an overview of its historical development and theoretical basis and an exploration of the basic methodology involved in social impact assessment. Chapter 5 is the case study of the situation at Wolseley School. The case study is an attempt at linking the methodological and theoretical components presented in the opening chapters to a practical application. The study is intended to be an illustration of what a social impact assessment could be in relation to an urban planning issue and is in and of itself not a definitive social impact assessment. Chapter 6 contains conclusions drawn from the case study. The process established by the School division for situations such as that at Wolseley School revealed several areas of weakness, most notably in the area of public accessibility. The weaknesses were addressed by the application of social impact assessment principles and theory, resulting in the development of several recommendations for changes to the School Divisions' process. The recommendations centre around the development of a Social Impact Assessment Committee which would play a central role in investigation and decision making on future projects. The conducting of the case study SIA and the subsequent development of the recommendations for change illustrated the positive contribution of social impact assessment methods to the field of urban planning.