Planners’ perspectives on using technology in participatory processes
This study examined potential opportunities and constraints related to the development and deployment of technology in participation processes, including resources available, benefits and outcomes of technology, and technology implementation. On the basis of a survey of planners relative to eleven technology scenarios, varied access to staff, hardware, and software resources was reported. Potential perceived benefits of technology use included providing information and, to a lesser extent, fostering discussion and attracting additional participants. The findings suggest the greatest potential is for more basic technologies including websites that provide information, as opposed to more advanced technologies that would have greater potential to enhance collaborative and interactive participation approaches. Concerns about equitable access to technology for both planners and participants are also noted by survey respondents. The findings emphasize the importance of using technology as an enhancement to, rather than a replacement for, more traditional participation efforts.
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