The understanding of subjective perceptions of wellbeing, that is, the perceived needs and current levels of satisfactions of people, could provide valuable information for policy and decision makers. It would allow for the mapping of the envisaged impacts of policy against things that people value and care about, thus providing information about the positive and negative potential of different policy options to impact upon human welfare. In this book, Dr Silva Larson takes us on a journey of explorations into the things that are important to people. She argues that an approach which takes into account both what people value most and how satisfied they are with the current state of affairs would assist decision makers with identifying perceived regional priorities. Further, she proposes and describes one such approach, that of using a quantitative composite value that combines both types of information, and demonstrates, using two shires in the Great Barrier Reef region of Australia as examples, how this can be done. The resulting action lists identify and quantify the unsatisfied needs of most importance to most people in the region, that is, factors that have high potential to improve the quality of life of residents, if restored.
About the Author: Dr Silva Larson, PhD (Econ), is a Chartered Environmentalist and has more than twenty years of experience with environmental, social, strategic and vulnerability assessments, in particular with policies and in the water and mining industry. For the last seven years, she has been working as a Socio-economic Researcher with the CSIRO Division of Ecosystem Sciences. She also holds an Adjunct position with the James Cook University School of Business in Queensland, Australia, and has published widely on the subjects of institutional arrangements, human wellbeing and policy assessment. Her recent publications include a number of journal papers, as well as chapters in books such as North Australian Political Economy: Issues and Agendas (edited by R. Gerritsen, CDU Press 2010); Adaptive Capacity: Building Environmental Governance in an Age of Uncertainty (edited by D. Armitage and R. Plummer, Springer 2010) and Transforming Markets in the Built Environment: Adapting for Climate Change (edited by S. Roaf, Earthscan 2010). In 2007 Silva co-edited Sustainable Resource Use: Institutional Dynamics and Economics (Earthscan), which featured a chapter by last years' Nobel Prize in Economics winner Dr Elinor Ostrom. Silva enjoys working in the rural and remote regions of both developed and developing countries, and her current projects include subjective wellbeing assessments across northern Australia, as well as in five countries of the Mekong River Basin, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.