‘Multi-facetted Evaluation for Sustainable Development: Managing the Intermix of Mind, Artefact, Institution and Nature’
Journal article, 2008
Implementing the vision of sustainable development imply a need for multi-dimensional evaluations. The discussion in this paper is based on experience from two evaluations of Swedish national funding programmes – the Local Development Agreements and the Local Investment Programmes – and a thesis focusing on how urban design and planning are related to the changes in so-called exposed suburban metropolitan areas in Sweden.
In the last mentioned evaluation the aim was to link environmental aspects and social aspects, scrutinizing this relationship with a special focus on eight environmental and seven social themes related to the evaluation questions. For this purpose the evaluation was designed inspired by case study evaluation, including ten projects in housing areas from the sixties and seventies in the study. The empirical material consisted of four different types of information – an environmental matrix; a mass media study; interviews with tenants and employees; and statistical data about the housing areas. The theories we applied for analysing the empirical material – the MAINtetra – has been developed to facilitate for the understanding of complex problems coming from an ambiguous reality. The model, thus, facilitates for relating different knowledge areas and building up an understanding of how they are related to each other in the perspective of sustainable development.
Utilizing the MAINtetra as model for systematizing and analysing empirical material showed to be helpful when evaluating projects from the perspective of linking social and environmental effects. First, because the model implied a consciousness of how the empirical material was related the broad vision of sustainable development. Second, the model implied that we were influenced to focus on how the conflicting perspectives presented by different local actors related to the broad vision of sustainable development. In the concluding chapter we also present some difficulties we experienced when using the MAINtetra, additionally some limitations of the software Hyper Research.
linking social and environmental effects