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Methodological advances in neighborhood impact studies: contributions to urban environmental management

Grant number: 15/03449-4
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2015 - March 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Urban and Regional Planning
Principal Investigator:Renata Bovo Peres
Grantee:Renata Bovo Peres
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Andréia Márcia Cassiano

Abstract

This Research Project intends to study one of the main urban environmental planning tools known as Neighborhood Impact Study (NIS), in order to understand related concepts, its origin, diffusion and the legal and institutional framework for its implementation in the national and international context, from proposals based on similar laws. Furthermore, this Project will assess its implementation in Brazilian municipalities to identify the main stages in the neighborhood impacts assessment process, the main analysis methods used for environmental impacts, as well as mitigation and compensation measures proposed in the NISs. Finally, from the studies and evaluations performed, the objective of the Research Project is to indicate strategies for an enhanced inclusion of the evaluation process of neighborhood impacts in the municipal public administration, verify the interfaces of the instrument with the environmental impact assessment (EIA), in addition to proposing structured procedures and guidelines for preparing the NISs. The NIS is a study that addresses the positive and negative effects of a new project or activity in terms of the quality of life of the resident population in the area and its vicinity, including the analysis of population density; urban and community facilities; land use and occupation; real estate valuation; generated traffic; the urban landscape and natural and cultural heritage, among other aspects. This is a potentially important tool for environmental protection and conservation, especially due to its prevention principle. From a scientific point of view, this tool has not yet been studied in depth, considering that many studies have been critical of its formulation, legalization and application. However, few studies have indicated systematic procedures to improve the insertion of NIS in the activity of public administration, including associating it to other urban and environmental management instruments. Analogously, there are few studies that have proposed guidelines, criteria and methodologies for the development of these studies so that they become useful for entrepreneurs as well as for the public administration which evaluates them. Following the methods of qualitative research, the Project makes use of two general approaches. The first approach refers to the bibliographical and documentary research which will investigate new concepts, methodologies and similar instrument models. The second approach will analyze case studies in order to demonstrate the evolution in applying this tool for integrated urban environmental management. This field research will entail: i) visits and meetings to carefully observe the daily activities, ii) in-depth interviews, and iii) collecting documentation of interest, reading and analyzing Neighborhood Impact Reports.The Research results will be evaluated in biannual Project assessment seminars; discussion of results with the technicians, municipal managers and specialists, and also the development of scientific articles. The results will be disseminated by way of a workshop of NIS concepts and experiences, by presenting papers at conferences, publishing articles in specialized journals and by preparing the Research Project with Education and Extension developed in the area. The Research will therefore strive to fill a knowledge gap in order to study and reflect on the Neighborhood Impact Study, understand it at national and international levels, assess its implementation, analyze its contribution to the environmental protection of the municipal territory, rethink it and propose new methodologies for the implementation of this important urban planning and environmental management instrument. (AU)