Critics Argue Against Public Participation

Public participation is an important part of the urban planning process, says Michael Hooper, as "it improves project outcomes and the likelihood of project success." But lately, some prominent people are saying that it hinders the planning process.

There has always been an ongoing debate whether public participation is necessary in the planning field. Recent criticism against participation has come from prominent urbanists like Tom Campanella and Andrés Duany. They argue that it only slows down the planning process.

What is needed is a return to a time when decisions were made more quickly, Duany argues. He claims that "...basically, we can't get anything done." Campanella has said that "...just as China could use more of the American gavel of justice and democratic process, we could certainly use a bit more of that very effective Chinese sledgehammer."

Both have come to these conclusions by "focusing on the construction phase of projects – whether they are built and how quickly," said Hooper.

On the other hand, Hooper quotes folks who tout the benefits of participation, who say that it has "positive spillovers through fostering democratic norms and development of social capital, both of which are important societal objectives."

Full Story: Public Participation: More than an “Orgy of Public Process”

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