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Facilitating PSS Workshops: A Conceptual Framework and Findings from Interviews with Facilitators

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Planning Support Systems and Smart Cities

Abstract

Recent research has emphasized the importance of workshops as a venue where planning support systems (PSS) are used in planning processes. Empirical studies of these workshops have previously largely overlooked facilitation, in particular the role of a moderator (steering the discussion) and/or a chauffeur (steering the PSS). Drawing on existing facilitation research, we identify four main categories of facilitation interventions: substantive, procedural, relational, and tool-related. We use these categories to develop a novel conceptual framework for facilitation at PSS workshops. We test and develop this framework through semi-structured interviews with eight experienced facilitators of PSS workshops in the US and the Netherlands . The interviews confirm the validity of the intervention categories, but also revealed a wider range of PSS-specific workshop outcomes. We conclude that successful facilitation of PSS workshops requires two different types of facilitation interventions: some to encourage PSS use, and others to prevent PSS domination of the group discussion. Facilitating PSS workshops is mainly about finding the delicate and context-dependent balance between these two extremes.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We do not mention the names of our interviewees to allow them to reflect freely on their experiences.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the eight professionals who made this chapter possible by providing their time and insights, as well as the helpful comments from two anonymous reviewers and the book editors. This research was supported in part by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) through the CESAR project and the Sustainable Accessibility of the Randstad program.

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Correspondence to Robert Goodspeed .

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1 Appendix 1: Overview of Interventions Mentioned by Facilitators of PSS Workshops

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Pelzer, P., Goodspeed, R., Brömmelstroet, M.t. (2015). Facilitating PSS Workshops: A Conceptual Framework and Findings from Interviews with Facilitators. In: Geertman, S., Ferreira, Jr., J., Goodspeed, R., Stillwell, J. (eds) Planning Support Systems and Smart Cities. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18368-8_19

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