Stakeholder Participation in North-West Europe: Lessons Learnt from Green Infrastructure Case Studies

Wilker, Jost and Rusche, Karsten and Rymsa-Fitschen, Christine (2015) Stakeholder Participation in North-West Europe: Lessons Learnt from Green Infrastructure Case Studies. REAL CORP 2015. PLAN TOGETHER – RIGHT NOW – OVERALL. From Vision to Reality for Vibrant Cities and Regions. Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 883-888.

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Participation and governance approaches gain more relevance to improve the quality, acceptance and legitimization of planning and implementation. There is a need for strategies that unite public, private, scientific and community sector stakeholders for working jointly on innovative, sustainable solutions. This is especially important as local authorities are facing significant cuts with relation to staff and finance. Thus, considering and embedding stakeholders’ input is becoming increasingly difficult, while it is at the same time becoming more and more relevant to give all groups of society the opportunity to have a say in planning to ensure that it meets their requirements and is carried out most effectively. Increased efficacy in participation is highly needed under the given circumstances and only achievable by advancing planners` understanding with local stakeholders’ expertise (Mackrodt & Helbrecht, 2013; Young & McPherson, 2013; Faehnle et al., 2014). In Europe there is not one sole planning system and thus, participation is carried out differently with regard to the planning culture in each country. The international focus is very important as many parallel approaches to participation in different countries need to be taken into account within the context of their respective planning culture. Furthermore, as participation is still an ongoing process and in development in theory and in practice always new aspects and methods appear, it is getting more and more complex, but needs always to be adapted context-wise. So, to learn from best practices in other countries, it is important to keep the planning backgrounds in mind when transferring promising approaches from other national contexts. One of the most relevant planning topics in this sense is green infrastructure, “defined as a strategically planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, which is designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings” (EU Commission, 2013:7). Strategic approaches for green infrastructure are still rare and institutionalization efforts of environmental or “green” governance are underdeveloped. However, in the case of GI planning stakeholders’ preferences and values regarding their environment are valuable information for decision making and their integration in green infrastructure planning is hugely relevant as green infrastructure`s multiple benefits for society are not rewarded enough. The consideration of adequate stakeholders at the right phases of green infrastructure planning processes and the choice of suitable participation tools are essential for a sufficient provision of public resources (Luyet et al. 2012). This paper investigates examples of different green infrastructure case studies in Belgium, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and evaluates their participation concepts considering the case studies` planning families. Thus, country and planning family similarities and differences related to participation in green infrastructure investments are identified and explained with the evolved planning culture in each country. By this means, we want to highlight the relevance of the planning-cultural context for efficient participation related to the example of green infrastructure. To address the need for more effective participation we illustrate GI stakeholders` views on the projects` participation concepts. This means that a key element in our investigation is to look at the difference between participation desired by stakeholders and the opportunities offered by local administration.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: planning families, European case studies, green infrastructure, participation, spatial planning
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2016 09:09
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2016 09:09

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