TitleWhat to tell the public?
NameLebeaux, Pamela M. (author), Fischer, Frank (chair), Andrews, Clinton (internal member), Noland, Robert (internal member), Aakhus, Mark (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectPlanning and Public Policy,
Communication planning--United States,
Political participation--United States,
Transportation--Public relations--United States,
Disclosure of information
DescriptionProviding information to the public is a widely recognized function of planning. Yet little attention has been paid to how expert information is characterized for citizens participating in a planning process. The text, maps and images used to tell the story in a planning process can help to bridge the divide between experts and citizens, or act to reinforce it, depending on interpretive design choices. This study examines current practices and norms for designing public information for corridor projects, including open house displays and project websites. Data sources include sample materials from 32 projects and practitioner interviews. A series of tests were devised to gauge the degree to which sample materials show efforts to facilitate citizen inquiry and joint discovery of problems and possibilities. The tests were based on normative criteria drawn from theoretical work by Fischer (2000, 2003, 2009), Forester (1989, 1999), and Healey (1996) and were also used to analyze the interview data. The study found that while information design practitioners take steps to bridge the expert/citizen divide, their efforts are uneven. Most still tend to seek reactions to proposals, rather than encouraging dialogue about options or collaboration on problem definition. Information designs strongly emphasize project features (the "what" and "where" of a project) over the reasons for a project (the "why"). Factors accounting for these limitations include a widespread "project delivery" model of decision-making, procedural constraints, and agency reluctance to disclose tentative information, which inhibits exploration of options. Other factors include the subordinate position of facilitators on many project teams and the lack of standards of practice or training for facilitative information design. Potential means of overcoming these limitations include applied research to develop new models of practice, improved professional guidance, and changes in planning and engineering education.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Pamela M. Lebeaux
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.