Environmental impact assessment of infrastructure projects: a governance perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Cheryl S F Chi
  • Inkeri Ruuska
  • Jianhua Xu

Research units

  • Tongji University
  • Peking University
  • Tsinghua University


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been promoted as an instrument for preventive environmental management in construction projects, but its performance in safeguarding the environment through influencing project decision-making is questioned. This paper probes the underlying reasons from a governance perspective as an important supplement to the regulatory and technical perspectives. A framework, with process integration, professional governance, and public engagement being its key components, is proposed to analyze the governance arrangements that enable or inhibit the effective functioning of EIA, based on which a comparative study of three infrastructure projects in China, the United States and Finland was conducted. The results reveal that, while the level of process integration and public engagement of EIA determines the degree to which EIA influences project decisions, it is the professional governance that controls the accountability of EIA. The paper has implications on institutionally where efforts should be directed to improve the performance of EIA.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-413
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • cross-national comparative studies, environmental impact assessment, project governance

ID: 1569902