Improving Urban Planning Information, Transparency and Participation in Public Administrations

Improving Urban Planning Information, Transparency and Participation in Public Administrations

Beatriz Santos (Technical University of Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5646-6.ch004
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In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the involvement of citizens in all public affairs that is also extended to urban planning. Spanish Public Administrations have made important changes and progress trying to get urban and spatial planning closer to the citizen. Firstly, a significant effort has been made to generate knowledge services providing citizen access to urban planning information. Secondly, administrations try to involve citizens in urban planning through participation programmes by using the new channels that information and communication technology offers. This paper analyses different instruments and web-based participation systems implemented in Spain in order to check the result of these developments concluding that there is still a long considerable way to go since information and communications technologies offers a lot of options and tools to improve these processes.
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Literature Review

There is a growing body of literature about citizen participation. Authors explore its outcomes (Irvin & Stansbury, 2004), new requirements and roles for Administrations (Lyn & Martin, 1991; King, Feltey & O’Neil, 1998), techniques to improve it (Crosby, Kelly & Schaefer, 1986; Thomas, 1995), particularities about the planning process (Day, 1997) and distinct styles of approach (Benwell, 1980). Papers focus on the need to reframe this issue (Booher & Innes, 2002; Booher & Innes, 2004) concluding that participation must be collaborative and effective methods should involve collaboration, dialogue and interaction among citizens and other stakeholders.

Web-based participation complements the traditional technique (Stern, Gudes & Svoray, 2009). Many authors explore the possibilities of ICT tools to promote participation in the planning process (Padgett, 1993; Conroy & Evans-Cowley, 2006; Hanzl, 2007), analysing the adequacy of visualization tools for the different phases of the process (Al-Kodmany, 1999), including GIS (Peng Z-R, 2001; Sieber, 2006), social media (Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010), digital games (Gordon, Schirra & Hollander, 2011) and mobile applications (Ertiö, 2015) whose impact has been modest but is expected to increase.

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