Citizen Science Perspectives on E-Participation in Urban Planning

Citizen Science Perspectives on E-Participation in Urban Planning

Caren Cooper (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, USA) and Ashwin Balakrishnan (Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4169-3.ch010
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Abstract

Citizen science is a method for an interested public to share information in order to co-create scientific knowledge, typically drawing on games and hobbies and employing electronic media such as web-based data-entry forms and online social networks. Citizen science has emerged in many fields of science (e.g., ecology, astronomy, atmospheric studies, anthropology) and advanced to produce important research findings based on high-quality, reliable data collected, and/or processed, by the public. In turn, participants have increased their interest in, and understanding of, topics related to citizen science projects, and experienced greater civic engagement and social capital. Urban planning initiatives seek to engage people in activities from data gathering to community discussions. The authors review the history of urban planning models and highlight how e-participation can overcome some of the limitations in traditional planning. The authors review how information and communication technologies (ICT) for Citizen Science methods can facilitate public participation in data collection and co-creating knowledge useful to planning decisions. The authors suggest that such efforts can ensure a collaborative rather than adversarial type of public participation and have added outcomes of increasing involvement of an informed public in other aspects of the planning process.
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Progressions To E-Participation In Urban Planning And Citizen Science

Planning decisions have direct consequences for the day-to-day life of residents in cities, towns, and suburbs. In an ideal, healthy democracy, the residents of planned localities should expect to be involved in physical, social, economic, and environmental planning to ensure their communities are safe and livable. In order to build plans that are responsive to the needs of the citizens, planners must use public participation tools and processes that capture the unique knowledge and experience of residents and provide them with information about the planning process (Berry et al., 1993). When local residents are actively involved in the planning of their communities, they are more likely to be involved with and support the implementation of planning projects (Evans & Crowley, 2006; Potapchuk, 1996).

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