- The participatory planning paradigm shift: Comparing disciplines and methods   click here to open paper content374 kb
by    Le Roux, Jan Hendirk & Cilliers, Elizelle Juanee | 21655405@nwu.ac.za   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Public participation has experienced a paradigm shift over time with
contrasting approaches emerging from it. These approaches are visible in
different professions and disciplines. By comparing different disciplines
it is possible to create best-practice scenarios for effective public
Public participation is a process where the public is involved in decision-
making, regarding planning aspects that interests and affects them. There
are various benefits for Town Planners and other professions when
increasing the inclusion of the public in the decision-making process,
especially in terms of development issues and creative thinking. Advantages
include the improvement of the effectiveness of plans, the resolving of
conflict by enhancing consensus between stakeholders and the building of
social capital (Smith, 2003:25). Along with the advantages are also certain
challenges and limitations, regarding public participation, Town Planners
have to deal with the choice of participants, practical implementation of
theoretical ideas and in certain cases dealing with the unrealistic
expectations of the communities.

This study firstly focuses on the paradigm shift public participation has
experienced over time and the contrasting approaches that emerged from it
(Smith, 2003:22). This study further focused on how public participation is
defined and executed in different professions and disciplines. The
opinions, methods and problems, regarding public participation, as used in
Planning, Health Sciences and Geography in South Africa, was evaluated and
compared. International methods and approaches were also taken into
consideration in an attempt to create best-practice scenarios. Lastly the
application of new and computerized methods within the public participation
arena was investigated (Al-Kodmany, 2001:10). The pros and cons of these
methods were compared with traditional methods to derive whether
computerized methods are beneficial within Town planning.

The research concluded with recommendations to enhance the successfulness
and effectiveness with regards to the current public participation
approaches in South Africa, based on the collective results and findings
from the various perspectives and disciplines, as well as the findings
regarding the effect of computerized methods on participatory processes.

Reference list:

Al-Kodmany, K. 2001. Visualization tools and methods for participatory
planning and design. Journal of urban technology, 8(2):1-28.

Smith, B.L. 2003. Public Policy and Public Participation: Engaging Citizens
and Community in the Development of Public Policy. Atlantic Regional
Office: Health Canada:22-36.
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