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How Has the Internet Influenced the Nature of Community Involvement in Development Decisions in Urban Planning - Assignment Example

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How has the Internet influenced the nature of community involvement in development decisions (about urban planning)? Usually the Government of a particular place formulates the decisions regarding the urban development of that location. However, the Government arrives at these decisions through a series of interactions with the community of that area…
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How Has the Internet Influenced the Nature of Community Involvement in Development Decisions in Urban Planning
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"How Has the Internet Influenced the Nature of Community Involvement in Development Decisions in Urban Planning"

Download file to see previous pages According to the International Association of Public Participation IAP2, any method which involves the public in making decisions or solving problems is known as a stakeholder engagement. The Internet has contributed significantly in increasing stakeholder engagement in the urban planning process. This paper attempts to investigate how far the Internet has been successful in doing so. Urban Development Planning The Planning Authorities formulate development plans for the urban, semi-urban and rural sectors. The entire development planning process involves the services of a wide range of professionals. They include civil engineers, architects, environmental engineers, geographers, real estate and property managers, surveyors, cartographers, community association managers, surveying technicians and also market and survey researchers (U.S Department of Labor, 2008, p. 222). The Role of the Internet The Internet has primarily been used to computerize the existing processes of communication between the Government and the community people. Citizens have used the e-mail to exchange information with the Government officials instead of writing hard copies of letters. The Community people have accessed information regarding urban development activities, on specific websites instead of reading pamphlets and reports. They could download this information from the Internet as a digital copy if they required it. Many urban planning bodies have posted an extensive amount of information regarding their plans and programmes on these websites. Earlier there used to be newspaper notices and official records regarding the same. The citizens can access a wide variety of planning related documents on the internet which sometimes also includes the agendas of urban planning board. Many planning agencies have adopted Geographic Information Systems (GIS) on their websites which have allowed the citizens to access GIS data and design their own maps. In 2004, a survey was conducted on the websites of 582 cities of the U.S.A which had recorded a population of 50,000 or more in the 2000 Census. It was found that 55% of the websites posted the urban plans of the Civic Authorities and 35% of them provided an e-mail address for the citizens to communicate. 37% of the websites also enumerated the major points of discussion of planned meetings with the community people. (Goodspeed 2008 p29; Conroy & Cowley, 2004) Brody, Godschalk and Burby have identified five areas where the Internet has played a significant role in facilitating community participation in urban planning and development. Some of these areas still offer considerable scope for the Internet to function as a significant medium of communication (Goodspeed, 2008). 1) Providing Information to the Community and Providing them with Opportunities to influence Planning Decisions: There are urban planning websites that have a provision for the citizens to write their views in an open forum where the planning authorities can clarify these opinions following a process of exchange of views. The website of PlanNYC (a student run site concerning urban planning) has allowed website visitors to post their comments. Similarly, blogs have been launched on the internet by some communities that have the provision for the residents to post their opinion on a variety of topics relating to urban development planning. A group called E-Democracy.org has launched a forum which facilitates ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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