WIT Press

The Effectiveness Of Community Participation In Planning And Urban Development


Free (open access)





Page Range

549 - 556




333 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C. van Empel


Contemporary planning theories acknowledge the value of community participation in the development processes of our built environment, suggesting that community involvement has the potential to achieve a more sustainable outcome. Research in this field indicates that citizen participation can generate trust, credibility and commitment regarding the implementation of policies. This paper investigates tools to measure the effectiveness of public participation and their influence on urban development processes. Based on a literature review, a framework of indicators was developed, which has been used to analyse the community participation process in the development of the ‘Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy’, a collaborative initiative to develop a growth strategy for the Christchurch region in New Zealand. Results from this case study suggest that there is a relationship between the various indicators and the main findings can be summarized as follows: (i) Most sectors of the community appear to have an interest in their built environment and urban planning processes, provided that their involvement is encouraged by stimulating information and expertise is provided to support their contributions. (ii) Although no conclusions on the motivation of the various participants in the process were reached, the professionals involved appear to have a strong interest in networking and the sharing of expertise. (iii) A commonality in the views of the public was observed, with a focus on the ‘big picture’ rather than selfinterests. (iv) Collaborative planning was experienced as an effective technique for consensus building between professionals. (v) The quality of resources and allocation of time appear to be influential in a community participation process. (vi) Indications were given that process and product outcomes should not be evaluated separately. Keywords: community participation, collaborative planning, urban development, public consultation.


community participation, collaborative planning, urban development, public consultation.