Inderscience Publishers

Citizen participation for integrated assessment: new pathways in complex systems

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Citizen or community participation is a guiding principle for environmental decision-making, but in practice it is often compromised and contradictory. Two themes in participation can be defined. One is in the "product" or outcome of decision-making, and aims for more effective and appropriate evaluations and decisions. The other is participation in the "process", where devolved decision-making itself can serve wider social and economic goals. Although both strands are crucial for the practice of "integrated assessment" in environmental governance, a clearer view is needed of the scope and limits of such participation. This paper explores such scope and limits by applying a conceptual "integrated assessment" framework. This is drawn from a major case study on sustainable development for a city-region in the north of the UK. Such a framework helps to identify the many roles of citizen participation from a complex systems perspective. Selected examples of current practice highlight the problems and opportunities for citizen participation in environmental governance.

Keywords: citizen participation, governance, integrated assessment, sustainable development

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