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The Monitoring and the Reporting of Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts of Megaprojects

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 2772

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Management, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Interests: sustainable development; megaprojects; sustainability accounting and reporting; universities; CSEAR
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, 10124 Turin, Italy
Interests: NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome; local oppositions; technoscientific controversies and conflicts; environment, communication, and society

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Guest Editor
Department of Management, University of Turin, 10124 Turin, Italy
Interests: critical management; alternative forms of organizations; sustainable management models; democracy; inclusivity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The scope of this Special Issue is to shed light on the monitoring of social and economic impacts linked to a megaproject that is a topic mainly explored by project management literature (Winch 2017). Holistic and multidisciplinary studies on megaprojects’ social responsibility are rare as scholars have mostly explored that topic using a single perspective (Lin et al. 2017; Ma et al. 2017). For instance, while sociologists have deeply investigated the not in my backyard (NIMBY) movement, environmental economists and engineers have worked more on the evaluation of environmental impacts, while medical scientists have investigated the impact of health and safety for the population following a megaproject construction. 

On a practical level, the planning, monitoring, and measurement of social, economic, and environmental impact is a relatively underexplored research field both in terms of process and results achieved. Legal constraints and regulations could greatly vary, especially using geographical criteria, and the management of social, economic, and environmental impacts strictly depends on the nature of the business (private companies, public initiatives, or public–private initiatives).  

Quire recently, the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations has shed light on the topic of sustainable infrastructure, defined as building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation (World Business Council for Sustainable Development Urban 2014). Consequently, the concept of sustainable development applied to megaprojects has been hyped in the activity of designing, planning, and properly mapping those risks that have a high probability of being turned into impacts in the long run.

As clarified before, norms to manage the impacts on the ecological environment and people’s health are well established in some geographical context, but they can significantly vary in the same regions and countries. Additionally, managing economic and social impacts, theory, and practices is mostly based on proactive approaches (Littau et al. 2015), and companies tend to disclose their data using their private communication channels, while internal processes and strategies are not usually publicly disclosed. 

Considering that megaprojects have different peculiarities (some of them are structural, others are organizational or geographical), the rationale of this Special Issue is to collect studies that can serve as a theoretical advancement and a possible guide for practitioners involved in megaprojects.

Topics that should be further investigated could be (but are not limited to):

  • Multidisciplinary studies on megaprojects’ impacts on societies, environment, and economic systems;
  • Case studies on the design, execution, and monitoring of social, economic, and environmental impacts of megaprojects;
  • Critical issues and ethical dilemma of megaprojects’ social responsibility, time constraints, budgets, usefulness, corruption, bribery, mafia, etc.;
  • Interdisciplinary approaches and innovative methodological implication for the study of megaprojects’ social responsibility;
  • Contribution of a specific discipline concerning or in a union with other disciplines for a social, environmental, and economic impact of megaprojects;
  • SDG implications for the design and assessment of a megaproject;
  • Governance implications of megaprojects about international standards and movements supporting sustainable development;
  • Sustainability of unsustainable megaprojects (by definition);
  • Taxonomies of megaprojects and related social, environmental, and economic concerns.


Lin, Han, Saixing Zeng, Hanyang Ma, Ruochen Zeng, and Vivian W.Y. Tam. 2017. “An Indicator System for Evaluating Megaproject Social Responsibility.” International Journal of Project Management 35 (7): 1415–26.

Littau, Paul, Ivana Burcar Dunović, Louis-Francois Pau, Mauro Mancini, Ana Irimia Dieguez, Carmen Medina-Lopez, Konrad Spang, Agnese Travaglini, Raffaello Colombo, and Maja-Marija Nahod. 2015. “Managing Stakeholders in Megaprojects-The MS Working Group Report.”

Ma, Hanyang, Saixing Zeng, Han Lin, Hongquan Chen, and Jonathan J. Shi. 2017. “The Societal Governance of Megaproject Social Responsibility.” International Journal of Project Management 35 (7): 1365–77.

Winch, Graham M. 2017. “Oxford Handbooks Online Megaproject Stakeholder Management,” no. November: 1–27.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development Urban, WBCSD. 2014. The Urban Infrastructure Initiative. Pureprint.

Prof. Laura Corazza
Prof. Giuseppe Tipaldo
Dr. Daniel Torchia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • megaprojects
  • megaproject social responsibility
  • social impact of megaproject
  • social accounting in megaprojects
  • environmental impact
  • economic impact
  • sustainability of megaprojects
  • sustainable infrastructures

Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 3331 KiB  
Using Forest Compensation Funds to Reverse Biodiversity Loss: A Case Study of Turin–Lyon High-Speed Railway Line
by Irene Piccini, Marco Pittarello, Fabrizio Gili, Alberto Dotta, Riccardo Lorizzo, Cristina Magnani, Pia Grieco, Michele Lonati, Sandro Bertolino and Simona Bonelli
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4411; - 7 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2031
Megaprojects radically change the landscape due to their large-scale and high investments. Forests are often one of the most affected habitats, as they are frequently included in megaproject construction sites. These habitats support rich animal communities that the new settlement may threaten. Among [...] Read more.
Megaprojects radically change the landscape due to their large-scale and high investments. Forests are often one of the most affected habitats, as they are frequently included in megaproject construction sites. These habitats support rich animal communities that the new settlement may threaten. Among all species present in any construction site, those listed in the Habitats Directive (92/43/CEE) deserve particular attention as they are protected throughout Europe. Here, we present a case study related to the expansion of an industrial site, part of the megaproject Turin–Lyon high-speed railway, where forest compensations were used to reverse biodiversity loss. The site expansion scheduled for 2020 included mature forests and clearings that used to host a butterfly species and at least 15 bat species protected by the Habitats Directive and other taxa of conservation concern. Forest compensations are usually used to finance tree plantations and forest improvements. In this case study, for the first time, we used them to maintain local biodiversity, which otherwise would have been severely compromised by the site expansion. Indeed, our approach has made it possible to allocate forest compensation funding to restore or improve habitats to favor biodiversity. This approach may be exported to other megaprojects to support local biodiversity. Full article
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