User participation in Public Park Administration


User participation in public park administration, management and maintenance is a common phenomenon in Sweden. Users participate in both decision-making and maintenance aspects. In some rare but important cases users have played a prominent part in the development of new kinds of public parks. But user participation is talked abour almost exclusively because of its role in the planning process at the overall planning level. Three basic questions are asked in connection with user participation in public park administration, management and maintenance:

1. What does participation mean to the users?

2. What does it mean to park departments?

3. Does participation have other meanings?

This paper focuses on two case studies and a questionnaire directed to all local authorities in Sweden (the park departments). The case studies involved qualitative interviews and participants' observations.

User participation could have at least three different meanings for the users:

1. the physical shape of the park could be changed as a result of user participation

2. participation could be perceived as a good thing (or on the contrary, as a burden) in itself.

3. seeing (or knowing that) other users participate in the planning process may lead to a different perception of public parks.

For the public park administration, user participation stresses the need for a change of view. User participation emphasisies the ability to co-operate, rather than the capacity to produce professional solutions and neat park spaces. In some ways it challenges professionalism and values that have been inherited through education and practice. Participation is a concept that changes meanings in different contexts. But those meanings are in some way connected with each other. If you ignore one aspect of participation it might lead to difficulties in fulfilling another aspect of participation.






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Home Street Project - Net or Trap
Tim Delshammar
Avd. f. park- och trädgårdsteknik, Box 66, 230 53 Alnarp

Communication in
Urban Planning

Göteborg Conference Papers - Oct 1999

Workshops for Environmental Innovations (Eijk et al)

Communication and Urban Green (Lindholm)

Integrating Biodiversity (Gyllin)

User participation in Public Park Administration (Delshammer)

Making Outdoor Places for Children (Kylin)

The Home Street (Staffans)

Identification of ecological potentials (Guldager et al)

Evaluation and Dialogue (Sager)

A Communicative Planning Methodology (Stromberg)

Rationality Revisited (Lapintie)

Planning deconstructed and rebuilt as discourse analyses


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent"





European Research Network - Urban density and Green Structure

Proceedings of the Gothenburg Conference:
Communication in Urban Planning - Oct 1999

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