Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 267–277 | Cite as

Public and Stakeholder Engagement and the Built Environment: a Review

  • Kevin M. LeydenEmail author
  • Amanda Slevin
  • Thomas Grey
  • Mike Hynes
  • Fanney Frisbaek
  • Richard Silke
Built Environment and Health (MJ Nieuwenhuijsen and AJ de Nazelle, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Built Environment and Health


Purpose of Review

We review 50 articles from 2015 and 2016 that focus upon public and stakeholder engagement as it pertains to the built environment. Our purpose is to understand the current state of the literature and approaches being used to better enable public and stakeholder engagement. As part of this review, we consider whether recent digital and mobile technologies have enabled advances for stakeholder and public participation.

Recent Findings

The literature suggests some positive and some challenging developments. Researchers clearly suggest that most policy-makers and planners understand, and to some extent, aspire toward enabling more inclusive participatory planning processes. That said, there is far less consensus as to how to make meaningful inclusive participatory processes possible even with digital, as well as more traditional, tools. This lack of consensus is true across all academic disciplines reviewed.


We discuss these issues as well as current solutions offered by many scholars. We find that no single solution can be applied to different situations, as contextual factors create different problems in different situations, and that the participation process itself can create biases that can—intentionally or unintentionally—benefit some participants over others. We conclude with a series of questions for practitioners and researchers to consider when evaluating inclusive engagement.


Built environment Stakeholder Engagement Public participation Planning Urban 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kevin M. Leyden, Amanda Slevin, Thomas Grey, Mike Hynes, Fanney Frisbaek and Richard Silke declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin M. Leyden
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amanda Slevin
    • 2
  • Thomas Grey
    • 3
  • Mike Hynes
    • 4
  • Fanney Frisbaek
    • 5
  • Richard Silke
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Political Science and SociologyNational University of Ireland, GalwayGalwayIreland
  2. 2.School of Political Science and SociologyNational University of Ireland, GalwayGalwayIreland
  3. 3.TrinityHaus Research Centre, School of EngineeringTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  4. 4.School of Political Science & SociologyNational University of Ireland, GalwayGalwayIreland
  5. 5.SEEE Solutions LtdJessheimNorway
  6. 6.School of Political Science and SociologyNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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