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Doctoral thesis, 2009

E-deltagande i fysisk planering

Östlund, Niclas;


Planning of landscape use has long traditions. Over the course of history, views on the role citizens are to play in the planning process have moved along a scale between two opposites: from a modest and passive role to a more significant and active one. Since the 1960s, there has been awareness that the problems of society are too vast for a minority of experts to comprehend and solve. One idea that has emerged is that the best way to acquire knowledge for tackling our common problems is to engage and communicate these issues to the public to a greater extent. Planning theorists have called this the communicative turn in planning. An important development allowing physical planning to address these ideas is the convergence of Internet communication and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The present thesis explores a web-based public participation GIS (PPGIS) intended to engage the public in defining experienced qualities in the landscape. Community mapping is one way to let individuals’ local knowledge, of importance for the planning, become public in a collective map to thoroughly illustrate planning problems. The objective of the thesis is to investigate the nature of citizens’ and local authority representatives‘ views on the possibilities of e-participation in the physical planning process as well as their expressed need for Internet tools for communication. The aim is to analyze the benefits and drawbacks of using web technology for communication in planning as these benefits and drawbacks are experienced by study participants. The participants also contribute important feedback on the web-based mapping tool used in the study. Four studies have been conducted in three municipalities in southern Sweden. Different methodological approaches have been used in the studies: focus group interviews, in-depth interviews, and web-based surveys. The common basis for discussion and practice has been a webGIS developed specifically for the studies. The present studies contribute to the research in this area by elucidating the need for developing complementary tools for e-participation in the planning process in order to address the call for participation - independent of time and space. Participants’ feedback on the web-based PPGIS identifies use problems based on actual practice, which gives directions and identifies areas of improvement and development for future applications. The present research also sheds light on problems associated with participation and on the conflict between planning theory and planning practice.


e-democracy, e-participation, e-consultation, e-planning, Participatory Planning, Collaborative Mapping, PPGIS, Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI), Physical Planning

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae

2009, number: 2009:55
ISBN: 978-91-576-7402-9
Publisher: Department of Landscape Architecture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Landskapsarkitektur

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Media and Communication Technology
Human Geography

URI (permanent link to this page)