Reframing public participation strategies for the 21st century

Reframing public participation strategies for the 21st century

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Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Download by: [University of Zululand] Date: 26 July 2016, At: 06:48 Planning Theory & Practice ISSN: 1464-9357 (Print) 1470-000X (Online) Journal homepage: Reframing public participation: strategies for the 21st century Judith E. Innes & David E. Booher To cite this article: Judith E. Innes & David E. Booher (2004) Reframing public participation: strategies for the 21st century, Planning Theory & Practice, 5:4, 419-436, DOI: 10.1080/1464935042000293170 To link to this article: Published online: 02 Oct 2007. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 5096 View related articles Citing articles: 248 View citing articles
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Planning Theory & Practice, Vol. 5, No. 4, 419–436, December 2004 Reframing Public Participation: Strategies for the 21st Century JUDITH E. INNES & DAVID E. BOOHER A BSTRACT This article makes the case that legally required participation methods in the US not only do not meet most basic goals for public participation, but they are also counterproductive, causing anger and mistrust. Both theory and practice are dominated by ambivalence about the idea of participation itself. Both struggle with dilemmas that make the problems seem insoluble, such as the conflict between the individual and collective interest or between the ideal of democracy and the reality that many voices are never heard. Cases are used to draw on an emerging set of practices of collaborative public engagement from around the world to demon- strate how alternative methods can better meet public participation goals and how they make moot most of the dilemmas of more conventional practice. Research shows that collaborative partici- pation can solve complex, contentious problems such as budget decision making and create an improved climate for future action when bitter disputes divide a community. Authentic dialogue, networks and institutional capacity are the key elements. The authors propose that participation should be understood as a multi-way set of interactions among citizens and other players who together produce outcomes. Next steps involve developing an alternative practice framework, creating forums and arenas, adapting agency decision processes, and providing training and financial support. Introduction: Failures of Public Participation It is time to face facts we know, but prefer to ignore. Legally required methods of public participation in government decision making in the US—public hearings, review and comment procedures in particular—do not work. They do not achieve genuine partici- pation in planning or other decisions; they do not satisfy members of the public that they are being heard; they seldom can be said to improve the decisions that agencies and public officials make; and they do not incorporate a broad spectrum of the public. Worse yet, these methods often antagonize the members of the public who do try to work with them. The methods often pit citizens against each other, as they feel compelled to speak
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