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Refining a Practical Approach to Participatory Decision Making: An Example from Coastal Zone Management

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Participation in the coastal zone management decision-making system by expert and nonexpert stakeholders has a broadly acknowledged potential, but in practice the implementation of participatory roles varies greatly from country to country. The traditional "linear" model by which expert information is deemed to lead directly to enhanced awareness and convergent decisions/actions is largely discredited. An alternative and more flexible system, based on a series of equal-status roles that are adopted by stakeholders in relation to their needs at a specific time, is proposed. It is suggested that coastal management practice in the United Kingdom currently tends towards the conventional and conservative interpretation of participation and thus fails to exploit the full potential of a broader arrangement. The importance of a practical model through which to engage stakeholders in what has until recently been an expert-led process remains a worthwhile but challenging target.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow Pool, United Kingdom 2: School of Geography, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, United Kingdom

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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