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Participation through place-based e-tools: A valuable resource for urban green infrastructure governance?
- Møller, Maja Steen, Olafsson, Anton Stahl, Vierikko, Kati, Sehested, Karina, Elands, Birgit, Buijs, Arjen, van den Bosch, Cecil Konijnendijk
- Urban forestry & urban greening 2019 v.40 pp. 245-253
- Internet, citizen participation, communications technology, governance, green infrastructure, natural resource management, planning, spatial data, sustainable development
- Digital communication tools for information sharing are being increasingly used in governance, including green space governance and natural resource management and planning. Citizens’ resources in the form of knowledge, skills, as well as their collaboration with authorities have been identified in the governance literature as crucial elements in sustainable development. Technical advancement in internet communication technology (ICT) presents novel opportunities for engaging and leveraging civic knowledge and skills into different levels of governance. These options are still largely unexplored in governance research on urban green infrastructure (UGI). In this paper, we analyse three different digital tools (e-tools) from the perspective of a Scandinavian planning context. We explore how e-tools can support UGI governance and the perceived barriers. The e-tools explored are three digital platforms with a focus on public participation related to UGI. The three e-tools are map-based, i.e., users share information on digital maps: so-called Volunteered Geographic Information. Here, we call them place-based e-tools.We explore and analyse their adoption into UGI governance, the institutional contexts that affect them and also discuss potential of e-tools in place-based governance. Our findings indicate that the analysed tools all facilitate UGI governance in terms of engaging citizens in use, management, and planning of UGI. However, there are challenges to be aware of, such as the digital divide and the importance of clear participatory frameworks. We conclude that place-based e-tools have potential for UGI governance and that there is potential to strengthen links to ‘place’, while continuously testing and challenging new opportunities as technology rapidly develops.