Tues/Thurs 2:30-3:50 110 Marshall
John Felleman 108B Marshall
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
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
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
-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:
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.
|1||T 1/18||INTRODUCTIONS; ACTORS/STAKEHOLDERS|
|2||Th 20||HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES||2|
|4||Th 27||FOUNDATIONS OF RATIONALISM I||4|
|5||T 2/1||RATIONALISM II||5|
|II. Multi-Criteria/Single Objective|
|6||Th 3|| UTILITARIANISM
*** 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|
|10||Th 17||PRICING NON-MARKET GOODS||10|
|12||Th 24||MEASUREMENT SCALES||12|
|15||T 7||LINEAR WEIGHTING IDRISI LAB *324Baker||15|
|III. Multi Criteria/Multi Objective|
|17||T 21||MULTIPLE OBJECTIVES||17|
|18||Th 23||ANALYTICAL HIERARCHY PROCESS||18|
|IV.Role and Limits of Science|
|19||T 28|| NATURAL PROCESSES
***Initial Outline and Annotated Biblio. Due
|20||Th 30||PREDICTIVE MODELS EXCEL LAB * 303 Baker||20|
|21||T 4/4||CARRYING CAPACITY||21|
|22||Th 6||SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEMS||22|
|V. Emerging Directions|
|23||T 11||RISK ANALYSIS||23|
|24||Th 13||ERROR PROPAGATION @RISK LAB *303 Baker||24|
|25||T 18||PLURALISTIC VALUES/PUBLIC PARTICIPATION||25|
|27||T 25||KNOWLEDGE BUILDING||27|
|28||Th 27||INFORMATION SYSTEMS||28|
|29||T 5/2|| Roundtable Discussion of Term Papers
***Final Glossary Due
|M 5/8||Term Papers Due|
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?
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
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
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.
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?
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?
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
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
National Center for Environmental Decision-Making Research
National Academy (of Sciences) Press
Resources for the Future
Committee for a National Institute for the Environment
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
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.
Term Paper 30