The Boston Indicators Project : the role of indicators in supporting environmental efforts in the Boston metropolitan region
Author(s)Wells, Anna K. (Anna Katherine)
Role of indicators in supporting environmental efforts in the Boston metropolitan region
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Judith A. Layzer.
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Community indicators projects are an increasingly popular way to measure, track, and, advocates claim, make progress. The commonly held belief is that indicators provide residents, governments, private entities, and community groups with the information they need to make "wise choices." Many studies have documented the benefits that can arise from indicators projects as a function of community members coming together to choose indicators and discuss ideas of "sustainability" or "quality of life." However, it is unclear whether the information contained in the indicators influences decisions, actions, or policy in ways that improve performance on the indicator. This thesis examines the environmental sector of the Boston Indicators Project, in Boston, Massachusetts. First, I examine previous studies of indicators project outcomes, two competing theories of information use in behavior change and decision-making, and emerging strategies for fostering pro-environmental behavior.(cont.) Then, through interviews with participants in and coordinators of the Boston Indicators Project as well as decision/policy-makers in local organizations who could be influenced by the project, I investigate whether and how the information contained in the indicators has prompted them to change their perceptions, behavior or policy. I argue that people are not necessarily learning from or becoming informed by the indicators, but rather use the indicators to tell stories to bolster their existing claims or desired policy interventions.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (p. 61-63).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.