Exploring public participation in planning: a case study approach

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University of Alabama Libraries

The level of public participation in environmental planning and decision-making was examined using content analysis of specific case studies. Municipalities around the country recently have undertaken many projects in which citizens were unhappy with their involvement in the overall planning process. The objectives of this study were to identify existing laws pertaining to public participation; review the methods of public participation; and determine the extent to which the public was involved in the planning process. Two cases were reviewed with a focus on filtering out lessons in public participation that could be used by community planners elsewhere. Tuscaloosa implemented only four of the nine methods of public participation that Chattanooga also used: form citizen groups or task forces, use outside consultants for new ideas, educate the citizens, and ensure that information is accessible. Visioning proved to be the difference in public participation methods for Chattanooga. Tuscaloosa removed the citizens from the design aspect of its riverfront plans. Downtown revitalization is a prime opportunity for citizens to participate and voice their opinion on the design and function of their city, which would create an opportunity for cooperation with city officials. These missed opportunities for citizen input severely impair a citizen's trust of municipality operation and management of funds, citizen concerns, and natural resources, all of which directly impact the lives of an entire region.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental management