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Environmental Management

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 254–267 | Cite as

How Preferences for Public Participation are Linked to Perceptions of the Context, Preferences for Outcomes, and Individual Characteristics

  • Seth Tuler
  • Thomas Webler
Article

Abstract

Practitioners and stakeholders involved in environmental and risk assessment and decision-making efforts have access to a growing list of policies and guidance for implementing good process. The advice is often general. There is little understanding of how situation specific features are relevant in new circumstances. In a series of ten case studies we investigated how people’s (a) perceptions of the context, (b) preferences for outcomes, and (c) affiliations, experiences and motivations are related to their preferences for process features in a particular situation. The cases are in three policy areas: watershed management, forestry management, and clean-up and public health management of radioactively contaminated sites. We conclude this paper with a discussion of how the results can inform process design. Process design should be based on a diagnostic approach that specifically assesses relevant situational characteristics.

Keywords

Public participation Decision-making Evaluation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the people who agreed to participate in our case studies and our collaborators in each case: Victoria Sturtevant (Applegate Partnership), Monica Hunter (Morro Bay NEP), Larry Fisher (Finger Lakes NF), Caron Chess (Raritan Basin), Judith Bradbury (Rocky Flats), Rob Moir (Boston Harbor Islands NPA), Stephen Depoe (Fernald HES), Brian Cottam (Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership), Gina Margillo (Livermore NL), and Ann Seiter (Dungeness River). We also thank Will Focht of Oklahoma State University for his advice on Q methodology. Finally, the astute comments of the reviewers were also helpful in improving earlier drafts. This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #0114784) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (Cooperative Agreement #831219-01-3). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation or the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social and Environmental Research Institute, IncGreenfieldUSA

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