Essay on Community involvement in planning

Essay on Community involvement in planning

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The first two levels in the sequence demonstrate ‘non-participation’ which exists through manufacture by those in power, consequently substituting genuine participation. Assumed is the notion that the genuine aim is to not to facilitate participation, it is instead to enable power holders to ‘educate’ participants. Third and fourth in the sequence progress toward a ‘symbolic effort’ that establishes vocal opportunities for participants, yet paralleling the first two levels, when implemented by those in positions of power, citizens are indeed heard, however, subordinating these conditions proposes that participants remain unable to ensure their opinions are regarded. In the latter stages are levels of citizen power with an increasing degree of influence in the decision making process. Level six provides the opportunity for citizens to negotiate and participate in trade-offs with traditional power holders. At its highest level citizens assume the majority of decision-making power.
Evaluation of Arnstein’s typology highlights an important yet simplified view of participation. The ladder of citizen participation juxtaposes the powerless with the powerful, therefore demonstrating the disparities between them. The justification for utilising the simplistic ‘ladder’ model is that the powerless frequently regard the powerful as monolithic and holding power as those with authority habitually observes a community as a group of anonymous people with little comprehension of their acquired set of unique interests.
Tritter and McCallum (2006) indicated that policy makers ought to be conscious of applying Arnstein’s model, as this may hinder certain options. Similarly, an overemphasis on ensuring numerical representativeness in community inv...


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...period of these publications indicates that we must progress debate forward, whereby specific observations are developed, exploring how communities and other actors negotiate around power. For example, by what method does participation act to challenge assumptions and actually refigure local governance or attempts at co-option through somewhat ritualised or formulaic consultation? Moreover, debates have emerged within policy structures regarding the requirement, extent, appropriateness, resourcing and method of varying participatory opportunities and processes. These paradigms have assisted in influencing policy output since the 1990s with the advent of New Labour’s ‘active citizenship’ agenda, an agenda that is likely to continue in some respect for several years, especially considering the Coalition Governments ‘Big Society’ ideology (Brownhill and Parker 2010).

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