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Thesis Defense Presentation

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Amos Stoltzfus

on 30 April 2013

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Transcript of Thesis Defense Presentation

Top Down
Technical Expertise
"Objectivity" Bottom Up
Local Expertise
Facilitator Static,
websites Interactive,
content What constitutes meaningful participation in urban planning? How can communication technology be used to create space for meaningful participation? "The right to the city always implied more than the right of access to and use of the central city by those who could not afford to live there. It implied the right to influence the form and development of the city and the meaning of place (that is, the right to a voice) as well as the right to transgress bourgeois forms of urban life and to rebel against the rationalized and alienated patterns of everyday life dictated by the capitalist machine and to reassert the importance of play, spontaneity and festivity."
-Leonie Sandercock Public participation is the “interactive and iterative processes characterized by deliberations among citizens with the purpose of contributing, in meaningful ways, to specific public policy decisions in a transparent and accountable manner" (Phillips & Orsini, 2002). Why is public participation important in urban planning? Communication Technology & Public Participation in Urban Planning:
Who is speaking up in Austin and who is listening? Why is public participation important in urban planning? 1909 Plan of
Chicago Standard
Act Housing
Act 1926 Standard
Act 1929 1949 1954 Urban
Act 1960 War
Poverty 1964 Economic
Act 1966 Model
Cities Three responses by civil society: A crisis of representative democracy A critique of expert knowledge Representative vs. direct democracy Communicative action planning A concern for social justice The poor have a right to the city Early History of Participation in Planning How is communication technology reshaping cities? Planners can use the Internet to... Enhance Democracy by promoting deliberative online spaces Elicit Local Expertise through crowdsourcing Pursue Social Justice through horizontal communication Marketing Strategy to Convince Public Public can express opinions and concerns through public hearings (with advanced notice) and citizen planning commissions Advisory boards, used for cooperation Attempts to include poor in decisions that affect them "Maximum Feasible Participation" Widespread Participation Characteristics of participants Meaningful Participation Criteria Discourse of participation Participation opportunities Participation outcomes Characteristics of Participants
Internet usage
Involvement in government SpeakUpAustin Users who completed their profiles are:
Young than the average Austinite
Higher education levels
Are slightly more likely to be white
Are involved in or interested in government issues.
Consider themselves advanced Internet users. Discourse of Participation
Idea proposed for a bike share program
Proposed regulation to ban plastic bags Focus Group Themes:
Characteristics of participants
Website design
Purpose of website
Impact of website/transparency Characteristics of Participants
Ranged in age from college students to retirees
From different neighborhoods throughout City
Very engaged with the City through other venues
Concerned about how accessible the website is to marginalized communities Purpose of website
Participants were not clear of the website's purpose
Different reasons for engaging with the site
City responsiveness vs. interference Website design
Appreciation for general functionality
Difficult to navigate to topics of interest
Confusion about categories of web pages
No archiving function Access
All posts are in English
Lack of background information Dialogue
Viewed as safe space to express opinions
General lack of dialogue
Impact of website/ transparency
No clear connection to planning decisions
Empowerment or input?
No clear criteria for which projects the City will implement and which it will not
Liberal Individualist Communitarian Low Threshold Forms of Participation Digital Divide Recommendations Characteristics of Participants Encourage more users to complete their profiles Find ways to increase activity on the website Increase access to the website Participation Discourse Clarify the purpose of the website Facilitate conversations to increase deliberation Increasing promotion of the website, particularly among residents not currently engaged with the City Including more background information on City-initiated topics Participation Opportunities Clarify the participation opportunities available on the site Help participants move from low to high threshold forms of engagement Involve residents in the ongoing development of SpeakUpAustin Participation Outcomes Strengthen the connection between the website and decisions made by the City Improve the responsiveness of City staff on the website Review the resources allocated for the site Provide more opportunities for residents to collaborate with each other In my view, meaningful participation:
Promotes deliberation;
Provides convenient ways of participating;
Values the knowledge of participants;
Is accessible to all stakeholders;
Utilizes the results of participation. Promotion
General lack of promotion
Lack of activity on site
In conclusion... Questions? Discourse Findings:
Contained elements of deliberation
Dominated by individual expression
Lack of questions
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