Tues/Thurs 2:30-3:50     110 Marshall
                John Felleman                 108B Marshall
                felleman@esf.edu            http://www.esf.edu/es/felleman/602Syl'00.html
                                                                        last revised: 1/13/00



The processes of public agency decision making are a major determinant of our environment's
character and quality. In twentieth century America, three enfolded decision dimensions have
interacted to frame these processes. These include: our understanding of environmental and
social systems, (the scientific "What?" question); the actors that participate,(the democratic
"Who?" question); and the methods utilized (the management analysis "How?" question). Each
dimension is dynamic. Together they generate a punctuated co-evolution of decision processes,
with periods of incremental change followed by rapid (sometimes chaotic) transformation.

In the first third of this century, a progressive reform revolution replaced the political abuses of
cronyism and paternalism with professionalized public bureaucracies. These groups embraced
the private sector's emerging "Modern" decision theory which was grounded in rationalism and
institutionalized as technocracy. This approach complemented the then dominant mechanistic
view of the environment as a set of independent natural and infrastructure resources to be
exploited and managed for human consumption, economic development, and public health.

The mid-third of the century included decades dominated by world scale changes, depression,
world war, and boom. Bureaucracies embraced objective-based economic return on investment,
an efficiency optimization approach that had become the foundation of private sectorproductivity. Engineering and applied natural and social sciences were focused to address
predictive/control issues. Decision making was typically a two-step process. Legislative
political allocations, such as authorizing a new dam or Interstate highway, were subsequently
rationalized and implemented by closed technocracies.

In the last third of the century, all aspects of this once unified decision approach have undergone
rapid transformation in response to fundamental shifts in both scientific understanding and
societal values. Emerging environmental knowledge has demonstrated the vast extent of our
devastation and disruption of natural systems. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1970,
(NEPA, 42U.S.C.4321), and related legislation can be seen as a critical shift toward a more
open, participatory democracy. The traditional set of construction-focused implementation
alternatives has broadened to include regulatory, educational, and other information-based
management strategies. The overarching societal goal of material "progress" through economic
development has been partially expanded to include long term sustainability concerns. Economic
rationales are now challenged to incorporate non-market factors, long term biodiversity
objectives, equity, and individual will. Narrowly framed numerical optimization methods are being replaced with multi-objective approaches.

These ongoing transformations have fundamentally torn the underlying legislative and public
social contract which for generations had delegated environmental decisions to the public
agencies. This shift reflects the erosion of public confidence in technocracies resulting from the
continued revelation of environmental systems complexity and degradation, and the
distributional inequities of costs and benefits.

Each set of critiques has generated disjointed amendments or partial replacements to the original
decision schema of "rational decision making". As a result, no unified approach currently exists.
Today the environmental professional is faced with a spectrum of decision methods that often
lack a unified logical and normative basis.

From this milieu, a variety of emerging trends are discernable. Risk assessment and systems
analysis are transcending the artificially deterministic predictions of prior years. Evaluation
approaches are being developed which incorporate non-market values, and qualitative attributes.
Pluralism and negotiation are making headway toward the goals of equity and justice.
Monitoring and information systems are shifting the focus from simplistic one-stop decisions to
long term multiparty stewardship, with adaptive management seen as a means for achieving the
end of sustainability.

This continuing evolution places a major responsibility on environmental professionals to
develop both an understanding of traditional decision making, both strengths and critiques, and a
capacity to situationally integrate diverse new concepts and methods.


-Establish a robust decision making vocabulary;

-Provide an historical twentieth century perspective of rational decision making;

-Develop a conceptual understanding of traditional economic determinism as exemplified by
     Benefit/Cost analysis;

-Review the major critiques of rationalism and benefit/cost:
      alternatives; evaluating the future; non-market goods; equity/utilitarianism; and limits
      of scientific knowledge;

-Introduce emerging approaches to a more comprehensive decision framework: pluralism;
       multiple objectives; risk assessment; and information systems.


-Lecture/discussions will be the primary class vehicle;

-Extensive readings will supplement the lectures and provide the basis for discussions, and Glossary;

-A few computer labs and assignments will illustrate analytical methods;

-A term paper will provide opportunity for topical depth.

Class Date Topic Readings/Ques.
    I. Foundations  
 3 T    25  BUREAUCRACY   3
 5 T   2/1  RATIONALISM II   5
     II. Multi-Criteria/Single Objective  
*** initial Paper Topic Due
 7 T    8  BENEFIT COST- I   7
 8 Th  10  BENEFIT COST- II  8
 9 T    15  B/C EXCEL Lab    * 323 Baker   9
 11 T    22  ALTERNATIVES   11
 13 T    29  OPTIMIZATION  13
 14 Th 3/2  ****Exam  
 15 T     7  LINEAR WEIGHTING     IDRISI LAB  *324Baker   15
     III. Multi Criteria/Multi Objective  
 16 Th  9  EQUITY   16
    IV.Role and Limits of Science  
  ***Initial Outline and Annotated Biblio. Due
 20 Th 30  PREDICTIVE MODELS    EXCEL LAB   * 303 Baker   20
     V. Emerging Directions  
 23 T   11  RISK ANALYSIS  23
 24 Th 13  ERROR PROPAGATION    @RISK LAB  *303 Baker  24
 26 Th 22  NEGOTIATION   26
 29 T  5/2  Roundtable Discussion of Term Papers
  ***Final Glossary Due
  M  5/8  Term Papers Due  

Readings and Questions

2. handouts: Caro

    While reading Caro sketch and label an Actor/Stakeholder diagram. These will be discussed and assessed in class, and  handed in (not graded). Don't be frustrated if you can't figure out some historical terms. Make a guess and enter into the diagram with a question mark "?"
    Why did it take until 1975 for anyone to fully understand this important decision?
    What does the Sterngold article say about "open" decisions?

3.   Weber (in Gerth)
    Many students find reading primary sources like Weber a challenge. Identify the key functional attributes of modern bureaucracies. How are decisions made? Are bureaucracies inevitable in government? What problems do they pose?
    The excellent sociology web site (above) has good stuff on Weber, both related to Bureaucracy and to his larger research agenda.

4. Text Ch. 1-4,p.80

    This first section of the book provides some common foundations for the substance of the course. Much of this should be review material. Identify basic concepts and terms that are unfamiliar.
    We will make extensive use of diagrams to visualize processes. Compare and contrast Fig. 1.1 and 5.2

5. Simon
        FedLaw  http://www.legal.gsa.gov
    look up: National Environmental Policy Act in the  U.S.Code Title 42 Ch.55, Secs: 4331,4332;
    and Code of Federal Regulations:
            40CFR1500.2 ; 1502.22 ; 1502.23 ; 1502.24 ; 1503.03
NOTE  that in searching the CFR database 40 is the "Title", 1500 is the "Part", and 2 is the "Section"

   The idealized bureaucracy, central to our Progrssive era governmental reforms, was supposed to be purely objective. H. Simon developed the first sytematic investigation of this model. What were his basic findings?
    The rational/objective model underlies our basic environmental policy. Review how NEPA follows or deviates from our standard Environmental Decision Making Diagram. What about Actors and Stakeholders? We will revisit some of these CFR sections in upcoming topics.

6. MacIntyre
For most of this century a dominant ethic in public agency decision making has been economic efficiency. This is so universal that its frequently not even discussed. MacIntyre challenges this assumption. Starting with the Regan Administration, both parties have supported some variation of using economic analyses in major environmental regulatory decisions. Morgenstern reviews the EPA experience.
The originator of this entire field was J. Bentham. Visit the web site and learn some more about utilitarianism.

7. Text Ch.5-6
Ch. 5 is a good overview to a rather complex, but critacal section of the course. For Ch. 6, some of you may need to review basic economics.

8. Text Ch.7-8
We'll do some numerical problems to "ground" Ch. 7. Be sure to have a good grasp of the basic critiques of BCA contained in 5-7.

9. Handouts.

10. Sorg
Sorg provides one of the classic early examples of analysis non-market goods in BCA. Bishop and King introduce you to some of the continuing controversy surrounding this field.

11. Bonine
          also review NEPA in the USC and CFR from class #5
The Bonine reading can be quite challenging as it skips around. Use sketch Actor-Stakeholder diagrams to visualize the cases.
Davidoff presents a strong (Pre-NEPA) case for empowering Stakeholders.

12. Hodge
            go to :  www.nap.edu     find: Ranking Hazardous-Waste Sites for Remedial Action (1994)  Read: "Conclusions"
Hodge is both critical and optimistic about the use of numerical indicies, is he convincing?
Simonson is a typical example. Were Hodge's concerns hollow? are biologists oblivious?

At the NAP site, don't frustrate yourself trying to print pages. Read it on-line, take selective notes. We can't clean up all haz-waste. Are index approaches helping us use our scarce resources effectively?

13.  Stokey
This is a basic text used widely in graduate Public Admin. programs.Carefully follow method and the critical discussion.

15. Text Ch. 11
          Bur. Outdoor Rec.
          Go to:    http://www.esri.com/library/userconf/proc99/proceed/papers/pap350/p350.htm
            Review the basic decision logic. Compare McHarg's suitability analysis with the later GIS-based route selections methods.

16.  Lucy
           EPA Journal
            Go to: http://es.epa.gov/oeca/main/ej/index.html    Review the roots of "environmental justice", including the Executive Order. Is this "racism"?

17.  Text Ch.9
We have much to learn from other countries. England was not tied to Benefit-Cost. Compare the pros and cons of B/C, PBS, and GAMS.

18.  Harker (in Golden);
            Go to: http://www.expertchoice.com/

check out Annie Person: "What Annie Stands For", and "Annnie Person Can Go To
School" . Does formalizing the value judgements make them "legitimate"?. Can this approach be adapted to wide open citizen participation?

19.  Text Ch.11
          Go to: http://books.nap.edu/books/0309047994/html/index.html
 and read the Executive Summary of Ground Water Vulnerability Assessment

20.  handouts

21.  White

22.  Dziegielewski;Wilson;Dzieg.

23.     Morgan (in Glickman);
          Go to: http://www.cnie.org/Cong.Research Service Reports  Review:****

24.  handouts

25.  Schwarz

26.  Dotson

27.  Schrader-Freechette

28.  Go to:


The course utilizes a readings-discussion-writing-critique format. As many new and potentially
ambiguous concepts will be central to the course, it is imperative that an up to date glossary of
terms be maintained and utilized in course communications. All students are expected to have
reviewed the assigned readings prior to class. For each unit of readings, the course web page has some questions to help focus your studying. Each (non-lab) class will have two designated
"discussion leaders" to help facilitate the discussion of the assigned readings.

Within one week of the class, the "leaders" will e-mail post a draft glossary of new terms. All students are expected to constructively discuss/critique these postings via e-mail. Each student will individually expand and integrate these initial postings into a comprehensive Glossary.

The text for the course is: D. McAllister. Evaluation in Environmental Planning. Cambridge:
MIT, 1980. It has been ordered at the Follett Orange Book Store in Marshall Square Mall. A required reader of selected papers is available at the Syracuse Copy Center (next to Post Officein the mall), Reader #4941. In addition some topics make use of internet resources. The day's readings should be brought to class for reference.

Many decision resources are now available on the Internet. Students are expected to become
familiar with:

National Center for Environmental Decision-Making Research


National Academy (of Sciences) Press

Resources for the Future

Committee for a National Institute for the Environment


Term Paper

The paper provides an opportunity to engage course material in depth. As a semester-long
undertaking, it represents a significant integration of course concepts and the literature.

Students have two options for selecting a topic:

A. Choose a lecture topic (or two related topics) which is of direct interest to your work. Based
on course materials, texts, journal articles, and web postings develop a constructively critical
argument for a fundamental re-examination of traditional decision making; or

B. With the concurrence of your major professor or another faculty member, prepare a Case Study critical analysis of the decision making associated with a recent controversial bureaucratic decision. Resources for this alternative must include some primary materials, such as project documents or interviews, in addition to applicable course readings.

Paper format includes: title page, abstract, table of contents, intro/body/conclusion (approx.20
pg.), glossary of those decision making terms used (not all the course terms),and final annotated
bibliography of sources cited. All papers will make use of figures as discussed in class. The
introduction will include a concise review of the selected course concept(s), and the criticalframework to be used. The conclusion will re-engage this critical framework, and include constructive recommendations.


The full range of graduate grades: A,B,C will be utilized.
    Exam                 30%
    Participation     10
    Glossary            30
    Term Paper       30