Decision-Making on Transport Infrastructure and Contested Information: A Critical Analysis of Three Approaches
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SourceEuropean Planning Studies, 22, 3, (2014), pp. 648-666
Article / Letter to editor
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European Planning Studies
SubjectShaping and Changing of Places and Spaces
Information is highly contested in virtually all decision-making processes on large infrastructure projects, leading to the delay or cancellation of projects. Contested information has two characteristics: uncertainty and ambiguity. The uncertainty of information refers to the lack of reliable knowledge about the characteristics and future effects of infrastructure projects. The ambiguity of information means that different actors have different (legitimate and valid) perspectives on the characteristics and effects of infrastructure projects. Information is contested if both uncertainty and ambiguity apply. In this paper, we develop a theoretical framework based on different perspectives on rationality and the role ascribed to information in decision-making. We then use this framework to analyse three approaches aiming to deal with the contested nature of information. The analysis shows that none of the approaches can fully deal with the contested nature of information, because no practically feasible approach has yet been developed to effectively address the ambiguity of information. We end with a brief discussion of the possible responses to this finding.
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