Communicating with citizens: The power of photosimulations and simple editing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is considerable evidence that Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) may be failing in one of their chief aims- communicating information about proposed environmental changes to citizens. This paper proposes and tests two relatively simple techniques for making EISs accessible to members of the general public. We presented three versions of the project description portion of an EIS for flood control measures on the Hickory Creek in Joliet, Illinois, US, to 373 Joliet citizens. After reading the materials, each citizen answered a number of questions about the proposed project and its environmental consequences. The original project description yielded almost no understanding, but the two modifications had consistently positive and substantial effects on understanding. These findings, in combination with the low cost of the techniques, offer considerable hope for more effective public participation in the EIS process, and therefore, more viable public projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-310
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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