Planning Through Technology: A Case Study of a Local Government Community Summit
It is widely contended in the academic and practitioner worlds that modern democratic society will only reach its potential when citizens individually and collectively are able to use their knowledge and capabilities to shape their lives through participation in public-sector decision making. Greater involvement of citizens and communities in government processes is becoming standard feature of many democratic systems nationally and internationally, and is a mandated principal for local governments by the Victorian Government in Australia. This paper presents a case study of how one local government used technology to enable a full-day meeting of in excess of 750 residents to devise the main elements for a ten-year community plan. As a participant-observer, the author describes the objectives, activities and outcomes of the engagement and reactions of some fellow participants and local government politicians and managers. Whilst the technology solution exceeded expectations - with a printed draft of the main elements of the ten-year plan handed to participants as they left – subsequent citizen participation exercises were problematic.
Keywords: Citizen Participation, Community Engagement, Local Government, Planning
Dr. Peter Demediuk
Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting & Finance