Decision-making in environmental projects requires consideration of trade-offs between socio-political, environmental, and economic impacts, and the process is often complicated by various stakeholder views.
Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) emerged as a useful tool to compare all advantages and disadvantages associated with available investment alternatives, in order to select and justify the most suitable option. Especially for environmental decision making, MCDA can play a vital role for concluding complex decision-making processes.
A monitory value is then assigned to each available option in accordance to each benefit (the four available urban planning options we have in our example are Landfilling (LF), Landfilling with Landfill gas recovery (LF with LFG recovery), anaerobic digestion with rejected waste incineration (AD with RDF) and incineration of 100% waste. These monitory values are then multiplied with associated benefits and summed up to analyze most feasible option (shown in figure 2). The MCDA tool features vary according to the ground condition of project, however, the simplest process of decision-making is to enlist benefits associated with all available options and then assign weights to these benefits according to their effectivity as shown in figure 1 (column 2).
Ideally, summation of all associated benefits and monitory values should be 100 in order to evaluate most justified results. In our example, AD with RDF treatment of waste management is most feasible with 50.36% feasibility, when compared to the other three options.
Do you think MCDA should be adopted as a vital decision tool for governmental urban planning projects and/or councils should utilize MCDA in order to select and justify the best investment option, while taking into consideration all related issues, concerns, benefits and drawbacks?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.