THE NATURE OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Public participation has diverse nature and the diversity of its nature and interpretability has made it popular for the policy planners and authors alike. Public participation is an inclusive rather than exclusive process as more and more stakeholders are involved where only a few planners used to make plan for the multitude of population.
Moreover, a number of studies have determined that the majority of those who choose to attend hearings actually represent organized interests with significant economic stakes in the outcome (Fiorino, 1990). Although public participation is voluntary but often is guided by the motives of the interest groups except where a legal requirement specifies otherwise for the initiation of the process and to the implementation.It may be a complement to legal requirements, but cannot conflict with legal provisions in force, in particular with ownership and user rights.
As Kenney (1999:498) expresses:  “While local governments and stakeholders are often tangentially involved in these programs through mandatory public participation processes, many of the most salient regulatory programs channel decisions almost exclusively through federal agencies and, eventually, through federal courts where the influence of national interest groups is paramount.”
It is fair and transparent to all participants and follows agreed basic rules applicable to all. It is based on participants acting in good faith for the betterment of the community at large. It does not guarantee or predetermine what the outcome will be as it involves a great degree of consensus building and persuasion to common agenda.After understanding the nature and forms of the public participation, now let’s look at the basic benefits associated with public participation process and exercise.

Shashikant Nishant Sharma

Urban Planner

{Courtesy: Sharma, S.N. (2012), Participatory Planning in Plan Preparation: A Case of Delhi, Graduate Thesis, Department of Physical Planning, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi}

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