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Public participation? The influence of characteristics of projects on the role of stakeholders and design changes

Middelkamp, Jasper L.G. (2011) Public participation? The influence of characteristics of projects on the role of stakeholders and design changes.

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Abstract:After two flood peaks in 1993 and 1995 the normative discharge of the river Rhine was raised from 15.000 m3/s to 16.000 m3/s to comply with legal safety norms. To deal with this increased discharge the Dutch Government initiated the ‘Room for the River’-programme. This programme concentrates on improving river discharge capacity rather than on strengthening dikes. Measures that improve discharge capacity have an impact on spatial planning. These measures along with various preconditions were appointed in a spatial plan composed by the Dutch Government. After formal consultation by stakeholders the final plan (called PKB ‘Room for the River’) was approved in 2006 and includes 39 projects (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 19-12-2006). Since 2006 the programme is implemented and the programme was in its final planning stage when this research started. An important aspect of the ‘Room for the River’-programme is the involvement of stakeholders. This study examines behaviour of stakeholders in ‘Room for the River’-projects. The research aims to understand the influence of decisions stated in the PKB on stakeholders. The influence is investigated by analysing stakeholder characteristics and effects on the design. For examination independent and dependent variables are distinguished. Independent variables are set before the process starts, undergo no change throughout the process and some are mentioned in the PKB. The contrasting dependent variables can be adapted during the process. This study focuses on three independent variables mentioned in the PKB and their influences on stakeholders: land use after realisation, the type of measure and the type of initiator. The phase concerned is the SNIP 3 phase, which is preceded by composition of a Preferred Alternative and ends by granting the permits needed for realisation. This research connects decisions made by politicians and the impact these decisions have on a specific phase of the design process. The outcome of this study may be used to take into account the influence of political decisions for process management and stakeholder involvement. Four projects are selected and thoroughly analysed on their initial situation, stakeholder characteristics and adaptations in the design. Stakeholder characteristics are formed by interests, power and their relations. Similarities between various cases are distinguished to show which factors were not influenced by the distinguished independent variables. Case selection is done in such a way that a broad range of the independent variables is analysed. Depoldering the Noordwaard was the first case studied, followed by analysis of the construction of a high water channel between Veessen and Wapenveld. The third case is the floodplain excavation project ‘Ruimte voor de Lek’ near Vianen and Nieuwegein, while excavation of the Huissensche Waarden floodplain forms the last case. In each case a comparison is made between two designs to distinguish changes in the design made in SNIP 3. This is followed by an analysis of stakeholder characteristics. After these individual analyses three bilateral comparisons are made to identify influences of the independent variables. The influence of proposed land use is studied by comparing Noordwaard and Veessen-Wapenveld. The type of measure focuses on differences between inner and outer dike measures, by comparing the Noordwaard and ‘Ruimte voor de Lek’-cases. Differences resulting from choosing a public or private initiator are studied with the ‘Ruimte voor de Lek’ and Huissensche Waarden projects. First of all this research points out the programmes of Ecological Main Structure and Natura 2000 influenced appointment of land use after realisation, resulting in a focus on nature development. Investigation of initial phases showed early involvement of stakeholders in the preceding phase resulting in more collaboration, provided that stakeholders perceive influence on the design. Similarities in stakeholder characteristics show identical interests of the various governmental parties in all cases, combined with a high power position of these stakeholders. Furthermore some general interests with case-specific application are seen amongst other stakeholders. Secondly, this research shows that stakeholder characteristics are mainly influenced by the type of measure and the type of initiator. The power and relation characteristics were most affected by independent variables. Differences were noticed between different kinds of public initiators, visible in the way they handle conflict situations. Local governments tend to maintain aspects in the design favouring their interests, while other governments compensated stakeholders that were negatively influenced by changes. Changes in the design resulted from interests that were widely supported amongst stakeholders. This indicates a rather limited influence of power and relations compared to stakeholder interests. By concluding that independent variables mainly influence power and relations, it is found that the distinguished independent variables had little effect on changes in design. It can also be concluded that several particular facets can introduce changes in the design. One of these aspects results from the requirements needed for granting the permits for the design, induced by governments. Because the SNIP 3 phase ends by granting the permits, the accompanying design must meet the demands for permits. This explains several changes that were implemented in the design. Other particular parts that induce changes in the design have a contextual character, like the location of the measure. Scale of the changes generally depends on the amount of collaboration between stakeholders in earlier phases. More collaboration in earlier phases result in changes that have a more detailed character, while projects with little collaboration in preceding phases show bigger changes.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Arcadis
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:43 environmental science
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61319
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