Evaluation of public usefulness of selected facilities
July 8th, 2016
Attention is paid to selected types of facilities whose usefulness is analysed from the perspective of the general public. The article compares perceived benefits of infrastructure projects (like e.g. motorways), buildings where services for the public are provided (e.g. schools or hospitals) and private buildings that interact with the public environment (especially office buildings).
The Institute for Evaluation and Social Analyses (INESAN) conducted research entitled “Perception of Environmental Risks and NIMBY Effect” in May 2013, focusing, among others, on the acceptance of selected facilities and on evaluation of their usefulness. As part of the research, trained interviewers conducted 706 face-to-face interviews. Respondents, aged 18 to 74, were included in the sample by means of quota sampling method. The sample represents the target population in terms of gender, age, size of settlement and region. Sampling method was designed using the current data from the Czech Statistical Office.
Research results indicate that the most useful facilities from the public viewpoint are those that develop the infrastructure of services for the public. Hospitals and schools represented these investments in this research. Their rating is very similar: 85 % of respondents (or 83 % for schools) considers such buildings useful, whereas they are considered undesirable for 5 % and 4 % of respondents, respectively. About one out of ten respondents is undecided. There are no major differences among different sub groups of respondents in this respect; therefore it can be said that the general public agrees as to the importance of such facilities.
For linear structures such as motorways, the evaluation differs within various sub groups of respondents. The public benefit of such structures is recognised by approximately one half of respondents (52 %) while one-fifth (19 %) considers linear structures undesirable. These are primarily respondents older than 50 years, 29 % of whom consider motorways undesirable. By contrast motorways enjoy the greatest support in the Zlín Region (74 %).
As far as private projects are concerned, their evaluation depends on their purpose. In terms of public benefits, office buildings are accepted by 38 % of respondents while 25 % consider them undesirable. Office buildings are usually opposed by people from the lower social strata (whose jobs are typically other than administrative or office work) and by the citizens of medium-sized settlements (with 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants). By contrast, more than three-fifths (62 %) of respondents consider shopping and commercial centres useful. 13 % of respondents evaluate them as undesirable. Respondents from Prague, women and members of the higher social strata (generally people who tend to use shopping centres the most) consider these projects useful to a greater degree.