Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment: introduction to a special issue

Elsa Joao, Frank Vanclay, Lea den Broeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of impact assessment (IA), ‘enhancement’ refers to deliberate attempts taken in the design and subsequent phases of projects, programmes, plans and policies to ensure the success of a wider range of direct and indirect positive outcomes to communities and/or the biophysical environment.
This can be in the form of opportunities for social and community development, improved health and wellbeing, improved biodiversity, restored ecosystems and landscape character, and protected and respected cultural heritage. This first ever special issue on enhancement advocates that all forms of IA should consider opportunities for enhancement. Specific reference is made to strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA) and health impact assessment (HIA). The paper presents views from IA practitioners regarding perceptions of the
barriers to greater use of enhancement in IA and suggestions for possible solutions to those barriers. Investment in enhancement initiatives contributes to sustainable development and resilience, and is consistent with corporate social responsibility obligations of proponents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalImpact Assessment and Project Appraisal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • enhancement
  • mitigation
  • resilience
  • social outcomes
  • positive impacts
  • offsets


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