The integration of the technocratic and democratic approaches, particularly in natural resource management, has led to an increasing sense of frustration and futility for both the public and the government agencies involved Kaplan and Kaplan, According to Lang, interactive planning is based Citizen participation essay the assumption that open, participative processes lead to better decisions.
Technocratic Decision Making The technocratic approach to decision-making has historically been applied in most Forest Service decisions.
Democratic Decision Making Democratic decision-making, in contrast to bureaucratic or technocratic decision making, is based on the assumption that all who are affected by a given decision have the right to participate in the making of that decision.
Yet, many citizen participation programs are initiated in response to public reaction to a proposed project or action. Experts are increasingly becoming a part of our decision-making structures in both the public and private sectors DeSario and Langton, The existing policy structure within the agency mandates that targets or the endswhich are tied directly to funding, are set by Congress.
Well-planned citizen involvement programs relate the expectations of both the citizens and the planner. Citizen participation essay rational planning and policy analysis processes typically have five or six steps.
Further, in certain polarized issues an effective public participation program may actually save time and money by insuring that the proposed solution is acceptable to all of the interested stakeholders. They are most effective when combined with feedback mechanisms which inform participants of the extent to which their input has influenced ultimate decisions.
As such, the role of citizen participation in the traditional policy analysis process is minimized. Lang, suggests that traditional comprehensive and strategic planning processes are insufficient for current resource management planning and advocates a more interactive approach to planning.
Natural resource management decisions frequently affect social values. When these techniques are effectively utilized, each participant has the opportunity to express his or her views, respond to the ideas of others, and work toward consensus.
Techniques and methods applied by experts are most effective when considering technical decisions as opposed to value or mixed, decisions.
Strong arguments can be made in favor of a technocratic decision approach. Following is a summary of their discussion. Table provides a comparison of interactive versus conventional planning.
Technocracy or the technocratic approach is defined as the application of technical knowledge, expertise, techniques, and methods to problem solving. These can be intrinsic to the involvement through the very act of participation or instrumental resulting from the opportunity to contribute to public policy.
These are organizational, political, and personal Lang, p A key argument is that trained staff "experts" are best suited to make complex technical decisions. Citizens choose to participate because they expect a satisfying experience and hope to influence the planning process.
However, it is unlikely that a purely technocratic top-down approach will continue to be appropriate given the number and diversity of public interests who have a stake in forest management decisions. Although scientific information can provide guidance with respect to value decisions, it is rarely the sole determinant DeSario and Langton, Cogan provides the following description of each of the forms of public involvement follows Cogan, et al.
Principles Of Citizen Participation A great deal of literature exists on the subject of citizen participation. Two broad decision-making structures are defined and analyzed: For a number of reasons, a purely rational decision-making process is difficult.
Public involvement is means to ensure that citizens have a direct voice in public decisions.
Success in interactive planning is measured by the extent to which balance can be achieved among competing interests and consensus is reached on appropriate actions Lang, p However, Nelkin concluded that scientific and technocratic approaches "not only failed to solve social problems but often contributed to them" Nelkin, Cogan and Sharpep.
These techniques can be graphically presented as a continuum that ranges from passive involvement to active involvement Figure A The Ladder of Citizen Participation Clearly, citizen participation programs can increase costs and the amount of time a project takes.
However, Cogan suggests that citizen participation programs can make the planning process and planners more effective by: Kantrowitz identified three separate types of policy decisions: Value issues involve normative determinations of "what should be".
Democracy, as defined by DeSario and Langton, refers to citizen involvement activities in relation to government planning and policy making DeSario and Langton, p. In other works, ends should be chosen democratically even though the means are chosen technocratically Kweit and Kweit, p.
An integrated approach to resource planning must provide for interaction with the stakeholders in the search for relevant information, shared values, consensus, and ultimately, proposed action that is both feasible and acceptable Lang, p Essay on The need for citizen participation in Zimbabwe Citizen participation in policymaking Pal as quoted in Zhou and Zvoushe.
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