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Proceedings (editor), 2005

Communicating Physical Planning - Expanding Democracy via Internet

Östlund, Niclas
Östlund, Niclas (ed.)


Physical planning affects everyone in society, regardless of age or background. It affects our choices concerning where to live and how to commute to work, our chances to visit parks and nature and it affects our health. Dialog is therefore essential if we are to plan a society in which we all feel at home and in which we all feel involved. Thus far, such dialog has mostly taken place during physical meetings, such as consultations and exhibitions. The objective of this project is to study the possibility of using the Internet to manage dialog concerning physical planning.

Sweden is one of the most computer-dense countries in the world, with relatively small differences in the distribution of computer and Internet technology across the population with respect to age, education, gender and income. Statistics from Statistics Sweden (SCB) show that the possibilities to explore what online public participation can offer have never been better.

The hypothesis of my PhD thesis is that citizens, politicians and civil servants do want to be able to take part and discuss planning matters over the Internet. The response from citizens is expected to improve through Internet use, because they are more prone to answer and leave their opinion at a time and place convenient for them. Four municipalities in southern Sweden are included in the study, and public participation focuses on initiating dialog over the Internet concerning analysis of green resources using web-GIS. The green resources are analysed and identified using a method developed by Patrik Grahn (AgrD/Landscape Architect, Associate Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), which describes eight basic characteristics of the landscape that are essential to humans and beneficial to human health. The study attempts to identify what citizens, politicians and civil servants need and require from a web-based dialog service for physical planning and what they expect from such a service. This information will serve as a guideline for designing the user interface.

KEYWORDS: Public participation, Internet, GIS, graphic survey, communication, dialog, democracy, physical planning


Public participation; Internet; GIS; graphic survey; communication; dialog; democracy; physical planning

Published in

Publisher: National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP)

      SLU Editors

    • Östlund, Niclas

      • Department of Landscape Planning Alnarp, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economics and Business
    Social Sciences
    Landscape Architecture

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