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Democratic assessment of collaborative planning practices

Shakeri, Moozhan (2012) Democratic assessment of collaborative planning practices.

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Abstract:Keywords: Collaborative Planning, Urban Democracy, Democratic Evaluation Over the past several decades, collaborative planning as communicative and interactive nature of planning practices has been increasingly emphasized (Forester, 1989; Friedmann, 1973; Healey, 1992; Innes, 1996). Considerable attention has been given to developing guidelines and tools while collaborative planning evaluation field is not so elaborated (Laurian & Shaw, 2009). Some efforts have been done for devising comprehensive practical assessment frameworks (Frame, Gunton, & Day, 2004; Innes & Booher, 1999; R. D. Margerum, 2002; Moote, McClaran, & Chickering, 1997; Susskind, Wansem, & Ciccareli, 2010; Wondolleck & Yaffee, 2000) but as Agger and Lofgren (2008) discuss, they ignore specific democratic values essential for any collaborative practice as part of urban democracy. “Democratic Assessment Framework” as an alternative approach tries to fill this gap by suggesting a conceptual structure based on Dahl’s theory of democracy (Agger & Löfgren, 2008). This framework is premised on five norms of access, public deliberation, adaptiveness, accountability and political identity and evaluates to what extent different phases of collaboration (input, process and outcome) meet those democratic norms. Although this framework provides planners with a comprehensive conceptual structure, for being practical it lacks well-defined criteria. Hence defining criteria for different norms and phases of this framework is the main aim of this study. In this study some criteria were defined based on ideals of collaborative planning practices extracted from literatures on urban democracy, collaborative planning guidelines and principles with the idea that instead of consensus, the ideal outcome of these processes should be unmasking power relations. Other criteria were developed using concepts extracted from literatures on evaluation frameworks for democracy in large-scale governance. The main adopted concept for these set of criteria is rule of law; Existence of ground rules and urban laws which support the collaborative process which is considered to be part of democratic nature of the process. To make a practical framework a methodological framework for evaluating each criteria and interpreting final results is developed. The final status of each project is represented in a range from non-democratic to fully democratic. Application of this framework for evaluation of different cases from different types of collaboration (decision-making and consultation) with different used methods and techniques reveals that by only using this structure one cannot thoroughly evaluate and explain the collaboration process so a set of explanatory criteria should be investigated in each context. Furthermore difficulty in finding those involved in the process and relevant documents necessary for evaluation of specific criteria may reduce efficiency of this framework. Hence improving the criteria and methods for final interpretation can be subject for further studies.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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