How public participation in river management improvements is affected by scale

CM Maynard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The importance of extending physically based approaches to catchment management to include social considerations has recently been highlighted alongside increasing legislative pressure to utilise public participation in river management processes. Nine water managers, operating at varying geographical scales, from the UK and north‐west Europe were interviewed to determine their approach to, opinion of, and success in utilising public participation for decisionmaking. The results indicate that despite variations in approaches to, and perceptions of, participation, one dominant factor constrained the use of higher level participation: scale. The results demonstrate that the degree of participation and influence for ‘non‐certified’ experts was inversely proportional to the scale of the project. This was attributed to issues of practicality in communicating between a large number of individuals, but also to underlying factors such as availability of financial support and governing regulations that differ between organisations of different sizes. The findings were used to consider the role of Callon's public education, public debate and co‐production of knowledge models of scientific knowledge production (Callon 1990). It is suggested that, for practical application, traditional models be developed into more reflexive approaches that account for the complexity of real‐world situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalArea
Volume45
Issue number2
Early online date15 Mar 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

river management
river
participation
management
coproduction
process management
knowledge production
public education
education
catchment
public participation
expert
manager
regulation
water
public

Keywords

  • Public participation
  • Participatory action research
  • Water management
  • Intermediaries
  • Knowledge production
  • Knowledge controversy

Cite this

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How public participation in river management improvements is affected by scale. / Maynard, CM.

In: Area, Vol. 45, No. 2, 06.2013, p. 230-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - The importance of extending physically based approaches to catchment management to include social considerations has recently been highlighted alongside increasing legislative pressure to utilise public participation in river management processes. Nine water managers, operating at varying geographical scales, from the UK and north‐west Europe were interviewed to determine their approach to, opinion of, and success in utilising public participation for decisionmaking. The results indicate that despite variations in approaches to, and perceptions of, participation, one dominant factor constrained the use of higher level participation: scale. The results demonstrate that the degree of participation and influence for ‘non‐certified’ experts was inversely proportional to the scale of the project. This was attributed to issues of practicality in communicating between a large number of individuals, but also to underlying factors such as availability of financial support and governing regulations that differ between organisations of different sizes. The findings were used to consider the role of Callon's public education, public debate and co‐production of knowledge models of scientific knowledge production (Callon 1990). It is suggested that, for practical application, traditional models be developed into more reflexive approaches that account for the complexity of real‐world situations.

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