Trade off Analysis in Environmental Decisionmaking: An Alternative to Weighted Decision Models

Albert Herson

DOI: 10.2190/D526-5YH0-24EN-2FBW


This paper reviews the weighting and aggregation of project impacts in weighted decision models commonly employed for environmental decisionmaking, and proposes an alternative method, the systematic analysis of project impacts, for certain decision problems. Advantages of weighted decision models include the explicit quantification of decisionmaker values and the usefulness of systems analysis techniques for optimizing decisions. Disadvantages include the assumption of unanymity of values among affected publics and unresponsiveness to the needs of many participants in the decisionmaking process. For controversial decision problems with substantial implications for different social groups, explicit analysis of trade offs among impact areas or project goals is advanced as a method superior to the quantitative weighting and aggregation of impacts.

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