This paper concerns the meaning of and interplay between trade-offs, interactions, externalities, values and knowledge. It takes some examples of topical issues then reflects on corporate and personal responses, especially in the context of "sustainability". Knowledge is a vital component of informed trade-offs. The examples discussed in the paper concern current arguments about access management, the misrepresentation of study findings on sustainable local design, and the statistical validity of evidence supporting the claimed causal relationship between car use and population density. These illustrate that "knowledge" is not value free, that trade-offs cannot be said to be made if the facts of a matter are not known to decision makers. The question is posed: do decision makers really want full and accurate information? Would it make any difference to urban policy decisions? The paper concludes that current proposals seem unlikely to have any significant effect on travel demand and its impacts, at least partly because they are not soundly based. There is potentially an important role here for those with technical and system knowledge of cities, who could make a valuable contribution to urban affairs by recognising and affirming the relevance of their individual values and life views. (a) For the covering abstract of this conference see IRRD abstract no. 861222.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 161-76
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 17
    • Issue Number: 1

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00715724
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB Group Ltd.
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 31 1996 12:00AM