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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Space for action: How practitioners influence environmental assessment

Kågström, Mari; Richardson, Tim


This article contributes to understanding of how change occurs in the field of environmental assessment (EA). It argues that the integration of new issues in EA, such as human health, is significantly influenced by how practitioners' understandings shape their actions, and by what happens when those, possibly different interpretations of appropriate action are acted out The concept of space for action is developed as a means of investigating this relation between understanding and action. Frame theory is also used, to develop a sharper focus on how 'potential spaces for action' are created, what these imply for (individuals') preferred choices and actions in certain situations, and what happens in practice when these are acted out and 'actual spaces for action' are created. This novel approach is then applied in a Swedish case study of transport planning. The analysis reveals the important work done by practitioners, revealing just how EA practice is decisively shaped by practitioners. Analysis of practice using the lens of spaces for action offers an important new perspective in understanding how the field adapts to new challenges. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Environmental assessment; Frame theory; Space for action; Practitioner; Human health

Published in

Environmental Impact Assessment Review
2015, volume: 54, pages: 110-118

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Richardson, Tim (Richardson, Tim)
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)