Emotional Mapping in Local Neighbourhood Planning: Case Study of Příbram, Czech Republic

Emotional Mapping in Local Neighbourhood Planning: Case Study of Příbram, Czech Republic

Jiří Pánek (Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic) and Vít Pászto (Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJEPR.2017010101


City planning, decision-making and participation in local administration can be sometimes elitist, closed to the public and non-participatory processes. Citizens are frequently a neglected part of these activities and are usually only involved and considered prior to elections. Yet citizens have a relevant role in the processes of town planning and administration. This paper describes the implementation of a web-based crowdsourcing tool for the collection and visualisation of emotion-based and subjective information on maps. The tool was used in a case study of neighbourhood development consultation in the city of Príbram, the Czech Republic. Visual, textual and statistical analyses showed a similar spatial distribution of some topics within the Križáky neighbourhood and provide results, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in the process of e-participation in urban e-planning. The results presented in this paper allow replication of the research methodology in other areas as well as its implementation.
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In the Czech Republic, as in other Central and Eastern European countries, decision-making in relation to city planning and local government has historically been elitist, closed to the public and non-participatory (Galdós, 2010). Citizens have often been a neglected part of the processes involved and are only considered prior to elections (Galdós, 2010). Distrust of politicians has increased as many corruption scandals have occurred. Furthermore, membership of political parties has never reached the levels of their western counterparts. Therefore, political scientists are discussing political de-alignment and political demobilization (Howard, 2003). The neglect of citizens as participants is slowly changing as local political representatives start to understand that citizens have a relevant role in the processes of town planning and administration (Čermák & Vobecká, 2011). There has been limited research in the region of Central Europe concerning the use of subjective and emotional maps as part of the processes of local planning, and almost no practical implementation of such approaches in local government administration. Nevertheless, some examples (Jankowski, Czepkiewicz, Młodkowski et al., 2015; Pánek, Pászto, & Marek, 2017) of citizens acting as an advisory body in the e-planning process have been observed.

Reflecting on the historical context of the planning process in the Czech Republic, the authors support the idea that new participatory institutions could help regain people’s trust in democratic government. A set of innovative instruments such as participatory budgeting (Bhatnagar, Rathore, Moreno Torres, & Kanungo, 2003; Cabannes, 2004; Shah, 2007; Sintomer, Herzberg, & Röcke, 2008), emotional maps (Pánek et al., 2017), participatory urban planning (Kahila & Kyttä, 2009; Kahila-Tani, Broberg, Kyttä et al., 2015), open data (Jäppinen, Toivonen, & Salonen, 2013) and other measures to enhance transparency, could all contribute to democratic renewal across European cities. If democratic renewal primarily occurs on a local government level, its effects may also reach the level of central government. Citizens in municipalities which employ participatory and deliberative methods of planning tend to have better civic skills and thus accept democratic principles and act accordingly (Geissel, 2012).

Participatory mapping can have an empowering effect because members of the community have the opportunity to think spatially about their environment and they can literally put their community on the map. The process of creating the data triggers feelings of belonging to the community and ownership of the process. Ownership empowerment starts and leads to sustainable development, driven and run by the community itself (Vlok & Pánek, 2012).

Nevertheless, as with almost every measure, it has to be applied with caution (Botes & Rensburg, 2000). Furthermore, Ghose and Elwood (2003) explored how local contextual factors can shape the PPGIS process in the United States. In their case study of Milwaukee, the authors found that the local political context is not the only factor in the successful application of PPGIS:

PPGIS must be assessed as a complicated set of interrelated relationships among multiple government and non-governmental institutions, positioned at different levels, that play an interconnected role in shaping the processes of participation and PPGIS production. (Ghose & Elwood, 2003, p. 17)

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