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Building Communities While Building Plans: A Review of Techniques for Participatory Planning Processes

Author: MARY ENGLISH, JEAN PERETZ, and MELISSA MANDERSCHIED
Published in PAQ, Vol. 28 No. 2

There is no single recipe for a successful planning process.
Instead, communities must take advantage of the ingredients at their
disposal. A variety of techniques, both high- and low-tech, can be
used. None is failsafe; each has pros and cons. Typically, their success
will depend on both the community’s resources and its resourcefulness.
In this review, we briefly describe and assess techniques that can be
used to aid five phases of a participatory planning process: those
concerning goals, information, options, decisions, and monitoring. We
conclude with recommendations for ways to build, not simply a plan,
but a stronger social fabric. In particular, we argue that participants in
a planning process should be treated, not primarily as representatives of
vested interests, but as citizens with the responsibility and capability to
plan for the common good.

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