Citation
Participatory plan making

Material Information

Title:
Participatory plan making
Alternate title:
Whether and how online participatory tools are useful
Creator:
Afzalan, Nader ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (259 pages) : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Political participation ( lcsh )
Local government -- Citizen participation ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
Local governments and planning organizations are increasingly using Online Participatory Tools (OPT) for engaging citizens in plan-making processes. However, our understanding of whether and how planners find these tools useful and what factors influence the tools’ usefulness is still limited. This dissertation examines the usability of OPTs in plan-making processes. ( ,,,,,,,, )
Review:
I surveyed 107 planners (58% response rate) to ask about the purposes for which the tools are used and the factors that influence the OPTs’ performance and overall value. In addition, I interviewed more than 40 of the surveyed planners for more detailed exploration of ways in which the OPTs have influenced plan-making process and plan polices.
Review:
Employing a multilevel mixed-method design, I analyzed why and how OPTs are used in plan making, what factors influence the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making, and how OPTs influence plan making processes and policies. To explore these questions, I used methods of statistical analysis, descriptive statistics, semi-structured content analysis, and interpretive discourse analysis.
Review:
The performance and technical capabilities of OPTs in facilitating social interaction and knowledge generation highly influence their overall value and usability in plan making. In addition, the performance of OPTs is mainly related to the ways in which they are incorporated in and managed in plan making processes, and less to the type of the plan or organization.
Review:
While about half of the planners do not find the OPTs’ generated information different from the information that they get from other sources, most of the planners find the OPTs valuable to develop and test scenarios, validate their ideas, and avoid possible conflicts. OPTs do not solve the everlasting challenges of participatory planning, but can facilitate participatory process by empowering planners technically and politically. On the other hand, the instrumental use of OPTs by planning organizations creates challenges and concerns for effective participatory planning processes.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of Colorado Denver
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Nader Afzalan.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
945931887 ( OCLC )
ocn945931887
Classification:
LD1193.A735 2015d A49 ( lcc )

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Full Text
PARTICIPATORY PLAN MAKING: WHETHER AND HOW ONLINE PARTICIPATORY
TOOLS ARE USEFUL,
by
NADER AFZALAN
B.Sc. University of Tehran, 2005
M.Sc. University of Tehran, 2007
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Design and Planning Program
2015


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Nader Afzalan
has been approved for the
Design and Planning Program
by
Raymond McCall, Chair
Brian Muller, Advisor
Jennifer Evans Cowley
Fahriye Hazer Sancar
Thomas W. Sanchez
Willem van Vliet
11/18/2015


Afzalan, Nader (Ph.D., Design and Planning)
Participatory Plan Making: Whether And How Online Participatory Tools Are Useful.
Dissertation directed by Associate Professor Brian Muller
ABSTRACT
Local governments and planning organizations are increasingly using Online Participatory Tools
(OPT) for engaging citizens in plan-making processes. However, our understanding of whether
and how planners find these tools useful and what factors influence the tools usefulness is still
limited. This dissertation examines the usability of OPTs in plan-making processes.
I surveyed 107 planners (58% response rate) to ask about the purposes for which the tools are
used and the factors that influence the OPTs performance and overall value. In addition, I
interviewed more than 40 of the surveyed planners for more detailed exploration of ways in
which the OPTs have influenced plan-making process and plan polices.
Employing a multilevel mixed-method design, I analyzed why and how OPTs are used in plan
making, what factors influence the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making, and
how OPTs influence plan making processes and policies. To explore these questions, I used
methods of statistical analysis, descriptive statistics, semi-structured content analysis, and
interpretive discourse analysis.
The performance and technical capabilities of OPTs in facilitating social interaction and
knowledge generation highly influence their overall value and usability in plan making. In
addition, the performance of OPTs is mainly related to the ways in which they are incorporated in
and managed in plan making processes, and less to the type of the plan or organization.
While about half of the planners do not find the OPTs generated information different from the
information that they get from other sources, most of the planners find the OPTs valuable to


develop and test scenarios, validate their ideas, and avoid possible conflicts. OPTs do not solve
the everlasting challenges of participatory planning, but can facilitate participatory process by
empowering planners technically and politically. On the other hand, the instrumental use of OPTs
by planning organizations creates challenges and concerns for effective participatory planning
processes.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Brian Muller
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I am very grateful to have met and been supported by several positive and smart people, who
ultimately shaped my dissertation committee, during my Ph.D. studies.
I express my immense gratitude to Dr. Brian Muller, who helped me think critically about the
importance and structure of my dissertation and find my own voice in shaping my research. His
extreme openness and support in trying new ideas and his comments on guiding my dissertation
towards exploring planning-focused questions, were very helpful in shaping my research. His
patience in going through different parts of the dissertation over and over again has had a major
influence in shaping this research. Professor Mullers creativity in merging different planning
ideas, methods, and techniques helped me engage novel ideas in my research while tackling
critical planning problems.
I am very grateful for the tremendous support and guide that I got from Dr. Fahriye Sancar, my
first dissertation adviser, from the first day that I started my Ph.D. studies. Although she did not
continue serving as my main adviser after her retirement, she was still very helpful in all different
aspects of my dissertation. I very much appreciate all the long-hour meetings we have had to help
me shape my research and discuss its implications. Her critical and detailed comments have
definitely helped me engage critical thinking more effectively in my work. I am so grateful that I
have had her support, as a great example of a hard-working scholar who never gives up.
I deeply appreciate my other committee members, Dr. Ray McCall, Dr. Willem van Vliet, Dr.
Jennifer Evans Cowley, and Dr. Thomas Sanchez, for their valuable support during my Ph.D.
studies. Ray has been always a model of creative thinking for me by providing fresh ideas about
new lines of research. Willems availability, support, and patience has taught be how to work as
an effective professor. Undoubtedly, he has been one of my strongest supports during the
challenging times of my academic life at the University of Colorado. As a brilliant role model,
v


Jennifer has been always supported and guided my research by her big picture ideas and critical
comments regarding how to make my research more connected to the planning practice. I was so
lucky to have her in my committee. Jennifers guides definitely shaped my academic identity as a
pragmatic planning scholar. Toms patience, availability, and creativity supported my research at
different stages. His futuristic point of view regarding the influence of new technologies on the
future of planning helped me think critically about the implications of my research. His emotional
support provided me comfort and made me more confident about my research and the importance
of its implications in planning practice and pedagogy.
I also appreciate all the planners who patiently participated in my survey and interviews. Some of
them have spent more than two hours to respond to my survey and interview questions. I hope
they find this research helpful in their planning practice.
Last but definitely not the least, special thanks to my beloved wife, Sahamaz Mirzazad, for her
devotion, patience, support, and love. She has been my strongest motivation for continuing and
finishing my studies.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION AND OUTLINE.............................................................1
1.1. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions......................................1
1.2. Significance of the Study and Contributions......................................2
1.3. Structure of the Study...........................................................5
II. PARTICIPATORY PLAN MAKING AND ONLINE TOOLS..........................................7
2.1. Participatory Plan Making........................................................7
2.1.1. Plan Making................................................................8
2.1.2. Considerations of Stakeholder Participation in Plan Making.................13
2.1.2.1. Participation for collaboration and managing power imbalances..........16
2.1.2.2. Participation for engaging local knowledge.............................21
2.1.3. Challenges of Participatory Plan Making: Prom Organizations to Communities
Adoption 24
2.2. Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning...............................27
2.3. Technology for Participation....................................................32
2.3.1. The Promises of Information Technology and Social Media....................33
2.3.1.1. Online planning technologies for collaboration: opportunities and concerns.... 34
2.3.1.2. Online planning technologies for engaging local knowledge: opportunities and
concerns 39
2.3.2. Organizational Use of New Technologies: Considerations and Challenges......42
2.4. Discussion......................................................................49
III. RESEARCH METHODS AND CASES........................................................58
3.1. Overview........................................................................58
3.2. Research Design.................................................................58
3.3. Dissertations Conceptual Diagram...............................................60
3.3.1. Planning Process and Environment...........................................62
3.3.2. OPTs Performance.........................................................63
3.3.3. Overall Value and Planners Satisfaction of OPTs...........................65
3.3.4. Plan Making Process and Plan Policies......................................65
3.4. Tool and Case Selection.........................................................65
3.4.1. Tool Selection.............................................................65
3.4.2. Case Selection.............................................................69
3.5. Research Methodology............................................................71
vii


3.5.1. The Survey Instrument.......................................................71
3.5.2. Interview Protocol..........................................................77
3.6. Analysis Methods.................................................................80
3.7. Introduction to the Cases and Plan Making Environment............................81
3.7.1. Case Introduction...........................................................81
3.7.2. Plan Making Environment.....................................................86
3.7.3. The Plans Locational Distribution..........................................89
3.7.4. The Plans Scale and Focus..................................................89
IV. THE SURVEY AND INTERVIEW RESULTS..................................................91
4.1. Survey Results: Descriptive Analysis.............................................91
4.2. Interview Results: Content Analysis.............................................104
4.2.1. The Content Analysis Results of the Planners Responses to Predefined Interview
Questions............................................................................105
.....................................................................................107
4.2.2. The Content Analysis of the Planners Comments.............................107
V. ANALYSIS..........................................................................109
5.1. Question 1. How And Why are OPTs Used and Incorporated in Plan Making Processes?...
.......................................................................................109
5.1.1. Why OPTs are Used in Plan Making...........................................109
5.1.2. How OPTs are Incorporated in Plan Making...................................Ill
5.1.3. Summary....................................................................117
5.2. Question 2. To What Extent have Planners Found OPTs valuable in Plan Making?....118
5.3. Question 3. Which Factors Influence the OPTs Value and Performance?............119
5.3.1. Which Factors are Related to the Overall Value and Planners Satisfaction of
OPTs? 122
5.3.2. How Do the Performances of OPTs influence the Overall Value and Planners
Satisfaction of OPTs?..............................................................125
5.3.3. Whether and How do Planning Processes and Environments Influence the
Performance of OPTs?................................................................128
5.3.3.1. The influence of plan making environments on OPTs performances........129
5.3.3.2. The influence of the OPTs incorporation in plan-making on OPTs
performance.......................................................................132
5.3.4. Summary of the Results.....................................................135
5.4. Question 4. How do OPTs Influence Plan Making Processes and Plan policies?......137
5.4.1. Whether and how do OPTs Influence Plan Making Processes?...................138
5.4.1.1. Facilitating the Participatory Process.................................138
viii


5.4.1.2. Building Consensus................................................146
5.4.1.3. Generating knowledge..............................................149
5.4.2. Whether and how does the Use of OPTs Influence the Plans Policies or Features?
163
5.4.2.1. OPTs influence in changing or refining plans.....................163
5.4.2.2. OPTs influence in validating scenarios, actions, or processes....168
5.4.3. Summary...............................................................172
5.5. Summary of the Results of the Research Questions...........................173
VI. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS.................................................175
6.1. OPTs for Empowering Planners...............................................175
6.1.1. Political Empowerment.................................................176
6.1.2. Technical Empowerment.................................................177
6.1.2.1. Generating local knowledge........................................177
6.1.2.2. Building consensus and resolving conflicts........................178
6.1.2.3. Forming or evaluating decisions and scenarios.....................179
6.2. OPTs for Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning: Opportunities and Threats
180
6.2.1. OPTs for Multi Stakeholder Engagement.................................180
6.2.2. OPTs for Multi Scale Engagement.......................................181
6.3. Considerations for Using Online Participatory Tools Effectively............181
6.4. Limitations the Study......................................................186
6.5. Future Research............................................................187
6.5.1. Applying New Research Designs or Methods..............................188
6.5.2. Engaging New Ideas....................................................190
6.6. Concluding Note............................................................194
BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................................................198
APPENDIX.........................................................................219
A. Survey Instrument............................................................220
B. Interview Questions..........................................................226
C. The Effect of Planning Process and Environment on OPTs Performance..........230
D. Considerations for Choosing OPTs.............................................244
IX


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION AND OUTLINE
1.1. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions
This research examines whether planners find Online Participatory Tools (OPT) useful in plan
making processes and why. OPTs refer to different types of online tools that are used by planning
organizations to engage stakeholders in plan making processes. The study explores why and how
OPTs are used in plan making, how various factors influence the value and performance of OPTs,
and how OPTs influence the process of plan making. In this study plan making refers to the
process of plan creation, from visioning to approval.
Improving citizen participation strategies and the incorporation of public input into the
planning process has been a long-lasting challenge for planning organizations, especially local
governments (Bamberg, 2013; Corbum, 2003a; T. Fischer, 2002; Innes & Booher, 2010a; Yli-
pelkonen & Kohl, 2005). Public participation can even be more complicated, but also influential,
in current planning practices with the specific focus on issues of sustainability and climate change
where multiple stakeholders at various scales are involved in plan making (Adler, 2005; Afzalan
& Muller, 2014; Ostrom, 2010a).
With the promises of online technologies in facilitating participatory processes, local
governments and planning organizations are increasingly using OPTs for engaging citizens in
land use and environmental plan-making processes. The current studies in this area are primarily
geared towards the possible opportunities and challenges of using these types of technologies (see
Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Fredericks & Foth, 2013; Rhoads, 2010; Townsend, 2013);
however, our understanding of the usability of these tools in plan-making practice is still limited.
Employing a multilevel mixed-methods that includes archival study, survey, descriptive
analysis, statistical modeling, semi-structured interviews, and structured content and discourse
1


analysis, I frame and test the following interrelated questions about the usability of OPTs in plan-
making process:
(1) How and why are OPTs used in plan making? ;
(2) To what extent do planners find OPTs useful in plan making?;
(3) What factors influence the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making and
how?
(4) How do OPTs influence plan making processes and plan policies?
I explore these questions in more than sixty plans in the U.S. and Canada with different foci and
scales, including regional transportation plans, comprehensive plans, sustainability plans,
downtown revitalization plans, natural corridor plans, neighborhood plans, and site plans, where
planners used three different types OPTs.
1.2. Significance of the Study and Contributions
Cities have been shaped and are evolving based on the interaction among several interrelated
systems, including social, natural, physical, political, organizational, informational systems
(Batty, 2007a). Stakeholder engagement is the core practice for managing and planning for cities
as complex systems that are products of such interaction (Innes & Booher, 2010a). It is argued
that effective engagement can facilitate planning and managing cities not only through
generating novel ideas and scenarios, but also paving the way for effective political action which
responds to public interest and power imbalances (see Fainstein, 2000; Flyvbjerg, 2002; Forester,
1987; Healey, 1992; Healey & Barrett, 1990).
Effective participatory processes promise more robust and adaptive planning as a political
process that provides opportunities for consensus building, moving towards mutual
2


understanding and conflict resolution, and mutual learning among diverse stakeholders (Forester,
1980; Habermas, 1984; Innes & Booher, 2010a). This process requires a safe and supportive
environment where different interests are equally represented. The participation of local
community groups (e.g. neighborhood groups), private sector (e.g. developers), and public sector
(local government) should be facilitated and directed towards addressing public interest
(Fainstein, 2000; R. E. Klosterman, 1985) and community good. Despite increasing emphasis
during the last five decades or so, planning organizations and local governments have not been
very successful in incorporating participatory processes into their decision and plan making.
There are several reasons for less-than-satisfactory performance of planners in terms of
achieving public participation in planning: lack of citizens interest in participation due to the
issues of time and place or personal biases (see Fischer, 2000; Yli-pelkonen& Kohl, 2005), lack
of planners and public officials trust and belief in citizen participation (see Kapoor, 2001;
Rydin & Pennington, 2000), and the high cost of participatory processes due to required
resources including time, staff, and finances (Patsy Healey & Barrett, 1990; Innes & Booher,
2010a). Planners and policy makers are still dealing with dilemmas of participatory processes;
they struggle to strike a balance between responding to several forces including the mandates or
normative expectations for citizen engagement and their doubt about the usefulness of employing
extensive participatory processes. On one hand they need to address the political requirements of
planning practice as professionals who do not have the ultimate political power, and on the other
hand, they are expected to create plans and make decisions within a given period of time with
limited resources in hand. To address these challenges, planners have been actively trying to
define their profession by identifying themselves as political facilitators, community leaders, or
activists.
There has been a long lasting debate on the role of planners as effective game changers in the
political area of planning (Brooks, 2002; Fainstein & Campbell, 2012). The traditional example
3


of such debate is noted in Wildavskys article If planning is everything, maybe it's nothing,
published more than four decades ago in 1973 (Wildavsky, 1973). He attacked the planning field,
arguing that although planners are working on variety of issues, they do not have enough
political power to influence plan implementations or policy decisions. The discussions on the
ability of planners and planning field in changing cities is not new; Lindbloms critics of
planning rationality (Lindblom, 1959) to Alexanders responses to the rationality breakdown
(Alexander, 1984) all cover this topic. While the planning field has survived and continued its
life (Brooks, 2002) as a field that shapes and envisions good cities (Fainstein & Campbell, 2012),
the complexity of interaction among different factors that shape our cities, including natural,
physical, organizational, and political factors, still makes the planning process challenging and
requires strong political interventions (Forester, 1989; Hiller, 2005; Hillier, 1998; Hoch, 2007;
Innes & Booher, 2010). In addition, some other scholars have discussed the extensive power of
planners in comparison to citizens, due to planners access to information or their political
institutional power. Forester (1989) argues that the information that planners have in hand gives
them a power which can be used for or misused against the publics benefit. Can online
participatory technologies help planners in resolving the political challenges of planning
processes?
Web-based technologies and social media have intrigued planners and decision makers in their
potential for use as tools to resolve issues inherent in participatory planning processes. This
potential lies in the ability of these tools to capture local knowledge and facilitate information
sharing, social interactions, and collaborative processes (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Boyd &
Ellison, 2007; EvansCowley & Hollander, 2010; Evans-Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Gasser
& Palfrey, 2014; Townsend, 2000). Information and Communications Technologies companies
(ITCs) also played an important role in practice of participatory planning by developing tools
and advertising for their use, for example in creating smart cities (See Crucitti, Latora, & Porta,
4


2006; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Townsend, 2013). We now see various companies including
IBM and Microsoft that have started active research centers focused on the use of technologies in
urban planning, arranging conferences and developing taskforces. Planners are faced with
another layer of complexity since they now have to take into account the implications of
incorporating these technologies in their current planning processes.
Public and private institutions are using these new online technologies for participatory plan-
making purposes at an increasing pace. However, neither the usefulness of these tools in plan
making nor the capacity of planning organizations to use them have been the subject of
systematic investigation. This dissertation contributes to the current literature by exploring the
use of new participatory technologies and methods in planning practice in order to understand
how they are used and whether and how they can respond to the ever challenging challenge of
participatory policy and plan making. The variety of plans, with different scales in the U.S. and
Canada, that are addressed in this research provides a basis for understanding the planning
environments in several towns, cities, and regions in North America when they respond to
employing new participatory processes. This study evaluates the technological capabilities of
OPTs and capacity of planning organizations by asking planners to reflect on the usefulness of
the tools they employed in a diverse set of planning cases in the USA and Canada.
1.3. Structure of the Study
This dissertation consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 introduces and outlines the study. Chapter 2
reviews the theories of participatory planning and planning institutions. It also discusses the
current literature on pros and cons of using social media and planning support systems in
generating local knowledge, and in providing opportunities for social interaction, collaborative
planning, and decision making. Chapter 3 defines the research process, design, and methods, and
introduces the case studies and plan making environments. Chapter 4 provides the descriptive
results of the surveys and interviews and lays the groundwork for Chapter 5 where the research
5


questions are analyzed and discussed. The final chapter, Chapter 6, discusses the research
implications, argues the considerations for the effective use of OPTs in planning processes, and
raises questions for future research.
6


CHAPTER II
PARTICIPATORY PLAN MAKING AND ONLINE TOOLS
The promise of online technologies in handling some of the challenges of participatory planning
have led planning organizations to incorporate these technologies in their current planning
processes. The advent of the Internet, particularly Information and Communication Technologies
(ICTs) and social media, have been a premier source for utopian ideas of future cities during the
last decade. While some scholars believe that ICTs can revolutionize collaborative urban
management processes, several others are hesitant about it.
In this chapter, to provide a framework for exploring the institutional usability of online
participatory tools in plan making, I frame the current status of participatory plan making. I
frame this status through pragmatic exploration of participatory planning theory with a focus on
the role of planners and planning institutions in using planning support systems and online
technologies in shaping plan making practices. The chapter starts by discussing the methods of
plan making and arguing the opportunities and complexities of managing participatory processes
that effectively engage diverse stakeholders across various scales. It then examines the capacities
and limitations of online tools in facilitating participatory processes and ways in which local
governments can incorporate them in their plan making process. Finally, it summarizes a critical
argument about the organizational use of new technologies to guide the research design in
Chapter 3.
2.1. Participatory Plan Making
This section introduces plan making methods and discusses the opportunities and considerations
of participatory plan making from different points of view and various theories.
7


2.1.1. Plan Making
Plan making theory is primarily focused on the role of planners and planning organizations in
creating, evaluating, and implementing plans. Although planning theory has had stronger
emphasis on processes of making plan making than on making plans, we see a growing interest
on exploring how and why plans are created or implemented. This dissertation examines the
process of plan making by emphasizing ways in which new participatory methods can be
incorporated into this process and whether and how they can be influential. The following
paragraphs will explore the importance of plans and influential factors in this process. The
studies of Innes and Booher (Booher & Innes, 2002; Innes & Booher, 2010), Forester (Forester,
1989; Forester, 1987), Healey (Healey, 1992) have been helpful in exploring planning practice
and decision making; however, they have not focused on plan making processes and plan
creation. The following paragraphs are primarily focused on plan making process.
Plans inform our future intentions (Hoch, 2009) and shape the meaning and
consequence of future actions (Hoch, 2009, 219). The role of plans in planning and decision
making can be seen in various ways. In his classic article, Baer (1997, 333-337) introduces the
following roles for plans:
Plans as vision, which propose a what if question;
Plans as blueprint, where all aspects of plans should be laid out in detail and
specific criteria should be taken into account to ensure the plan implementation;
Plans as land use guide, which emphasize the implementation through land
classification, design, and implementation plans;
Plans as remedy, which deal with improving current urban issues;
Plans as process, which consider cities as interrelated systems that are not the
results of specific plans but processes;
8


Plans as pragmatic action, which emphasize integrating different plan making
devises such as design codes or zoning regulations; and
Plans as a response to mandates, which respond to federal, state, or local
mandates.
Although most of these ideas are still being considered as roles of plans in shaping planning
practices or decision making processes (see Baer, 1997b; Brody, Godschalk, & Burby, 2003;
Brody, 2003; Burby, 2007; C. J. Hoch, 2007; C. Hoch, 2007),we currently see a particular focus
on pragmatism ideology, (See Hoch, 2002, 2007b, 2007c), which explores the role of plans as
products of bottom up processes in shaping or guiding interrelated systems (Batty & Marshall,
2012; Innes & Booher, 2010). These systems may include natural, social, physical,
informational, or organizational systems.
Several forces can influence the quality of plan creation and implementation, including
organizational capacity of planning institutions and plan types, or contextual factors such as
specific planning mandates or the involved stakeholders. Plan quality can be used to assess either
the process of plan making or plan implementation (Brody, 2003). Regardless of the purpose of
plans and their missions, the quality of plans shows the reason and effectiveness of the planning
profession (Baer, 1997b). Scholars have evaluated plan quality (Baer, 1997b; Brody, 2003;
Charles Hoch, 2002; Talen, 1996), from different perspectives. The evaluation includes
exploring plan quality through emphasis on the evaluation of several processes or forces, such as
plan contents, plan-making stages, stakeholder engagement, or state mandates. While Baers
(1997) plan assessment model, provides a general overview of plan evaluation by looking at
different aspects of the process and outcome, several other scholars have focused more on
specific influential factors, including citizen engagement or mandates (See Brody et al., 2003;
Burby, 2007; Hoch, 2007a).
Plan evaluation can be narrowed down to assessment of the following criteria: (a) plan
formation (plans success in evaluation of alternatives); plan implementation (plans success
9


in implementing or meeting its goals), plan critique (plans success in serving public good),
and plan competence (plans potential and ability in enhancing professional practice) (Hoch,
2002, 58- 64). Baer (1997a) offers a more detailed evaluation framework, considering the
process and outcome of plan making. While this framework may follow a rational model, it
provides a valuable structure for plan evaluation.
Table 2.1: Baers plan assessment model (Baer, 1997a, 338-339)
Criteria for plan assessment
Adequacy of context Should explain how the context of the plan is explained. It includes explaining the purpose of the plan, who the plan is created for, what the plan mandates are, who is the audience for the plan, what the sources of funding are, or what die plan timeline is.
Rational model considerations Should explore whether the main underlying considerations for creating the plan are clearly defined? It includes exploring the goal and scope of the plan, the capacity of existing planning organizations or infrastructure, or the main challenges of issues that should be dealt with.
Procedural validity Should explain the process of plan making. It includes exploring who was involved in plan creation and how they are being identified, how these stakeholders have been engaged in the process, how the data, techniques, or strategies are used in framing policies, or how the public are engaged.
Adequacy of scope Demonstrates the plans relationship with larger community. It includes the incorporation of social justice theory in plan creation, the inclusion of fiscal, or legal considerations in plan making, and consideration of political context in this process.
Guidance for implementation Should explain implementation processes, considering how the involved stakeholders and instruments influence the plan implementation or how the next steps are defined. Depending on the plan type, it may include the priorities, cost, or time span of plan implementation; the proposals for the next phases, or the role of the planning organization in making proposals or plans happen.
Approach, data, and methodology Should clearly explain the data sources and use. It explores how the data is collected, is the plan flexible enough to incorporate new data sources, what the scope and depth of data sources are, or whether the sources are introduced in the plan.
Quality of commutation Explores clarity and methods of communication. It examines ways in which the plan ideas, decisions, or strategies are communicated with stakeholders, or if the proposals and recommendations are consistent with the plan goals.
Plan format Examines the suitability of plan format and its depth. It considers main formatting issues, including how the page numbers, publication date, or graphics are clearly laid out.
10


While different scholars have various perspectives on plan quality, in general high
quality plans include more than only data and analysis. They should clearly address local needs
and contextual factors, cover clear and comprehensive goals and methods, and include action-
oriented policies that address specific needs (Philip RBerke & French, 1994; Charles Hoch,
2002), while inspiring dialogue and mutual learning with stakeholders (Charles Hoch, 2002;
Innes & Booher, 2010b).
A number of scholars have also discussed the importance of planning and state mandates
in shaping and influencing plan quality (See Berke & French, 2014; Brody et al., 2003; Burby,
Dalton, & Dalton, 1994; Burby, 2007). The mandates may cover several types of obligations
from the creation of comprehensive or general plans to the incorporation of specific land
development policies, or to the engagement of diverse communities or stakeholders. Among all
these, there has been a strong focus on how plan qualities are affected through engaging
stakeholders in the process of plan-making or incorporating communities interest in plans.
While several planning theorists have discussed the importance of integrating actionable
and context-sensitive planning strategies, few scholars have explored the specific strategies of
such integration in plan making practice. Charles Hoch, Professor in the Department of Urban
Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago (see Hoch, 2002, 2007a, 2007b, 2009),
has greatly contributed to the gap in the literature through his particular focus on pragmatic plan
making processes. Hoch (2002) supports adopting more pragmatic approaches to plan making
compared to rational ones, where:
Context and continuity as well as democratic inquiries (54) are considered as the
core of the process;
Knowledge prepares planners to deal with unexpected challenges, but not protect them
from surprising events (55);
11


Planners effectively get involved in evaluating their plan strategies and implementations
based on specific contextual factors (57);
Plans are more than tools for implementing state policies, but as mediums for
implementing novel civic ideas or mobilizing social actions.
Hoch (2009) argues that pragmatic approaches to plan making should not only represent, but
also interpret urban complexities by exploring interrelationships among diverse stakeholders,
including community groups or institutions, through flexible and revisable approaches. As a
communicative theorist, Hoch argues that plans should be the result of deliberation among
stakeholders (Hoch, 2007).
Incorporating mandate for citizen participation into plan making processes was initiated
more than half a century ago (Brody et al., 2003a) and its positive impacts on these processes
have been widely discussed by several scholars (see Brody, Godschalk, & Burby, 2003b;
Corbum, 2003; Fischer, 2002; Forester, 2007; Healey, 1992; Innes & Booher, 2010). However,
there are still push backs or hesitance about the effectiveness of citizen participation among
planning practitioners and policy makers.
While several reasons including planners perception of the value of citizens knowledge,
or citizens hesitance of the effectiveness of their so-called democratic participation are
responsible for such push back, another issue is the organizational capacity of planning
institutions in incorporating democratic processes into their planning and policy systems. While
the importance of stakeholder engagement in plan making processes has been widely discussed,
the role of organizational capacities or planning institutions in developing and implementing
participatory strategies and actions has not been well-understood yet.
This next section discusses the complexities of stakeholder engagement in plan making
process by exploring the engagement requirements and necessities of participatory processes in
12


managing complex and multi-disciplinary systems. It is important to revisit the value of various
planning models in the plan-making process. It is also important to look at whether or how
comprehensive planning or incremental planning strategies should be integrated to address the
complexities of land-use and environmental plan-making processes. In which scales and what
stages should this marriage happen? What is the planners role in this process? How should they
manage this complexity? What tools do they have in hand and what strategies should they use?
2.1.2. Considerations of Stakeholder Participation in Plan Making
Participatory processes not only consider collaboration among various stakeholders to build trust
or consensus among diverse stakeholders or engage their knowledge in plans, they also relate to
the capacity of planning organizations in incorporating such efforts into their current systems.
This section discusses stakeholder engagement for collaboration and information dissemination,
as well as the organizational considerations for such engagement, with a specific focus on the
requirements of participatory processes when dealing with incorporating general sustainability
ideas. This section provides a basis for the current debates on ways in which new participatory
methods, particularly web-based ones, may be helpful in facilitating stakeholders engagement in
shared decision making processes.
The discourse of participatory planning among planning practitioners and academics
goes back to about half a century ago, along with the planners struggle to define and redefine
planning practice and their discussions on various models of planning and the roles that planners
play in political arena. It is not the result of Wildavsky's (1973) attack on planning; but such
attacks and the questioning by various critics of the role and influence of planning have
encouraged planners to look more carefully at defining planning models and finding ways in
which planning can work more effectively as a technical and political field (Brooks, 2002). The
focal point of this discourse has been stakeholder collaboration and, to some extent, the role of
planning organizations in managing participatory activities.
13


We can see the footprint of the notion of stakeholder collaboration in criticisms of
rational approaches to planning, when practitioners and academics started to think about more
pragmatic approaches and new effective models. We can see these efforts in the proposal of
various planning models:
Incremental Planning (Lindblom, 1959), which focuses on the role of various
organizations in facilitating decentralized planning projects;
Transactive Planning (Friedmann, 1987), which emphasizes personal and organizational
development processes and the effect of the plans on people;
Advocacy Planning (Davidoff, 1965), which supports plural plans and focuses on the
role of planners in advocating for the voices of marginalized communities;
The more recent view of Rational Comprehensive Planning, which integrates the
traditional synoptic approaches of setting goals, developing and evaluating alternatives,
and implementing decisions (Hudson, Galloway, & Kaufman, 1979) with other planning
models for more inclusive and practical practices.
While there is a strong consensus among planning academics, and specially planning
theorists, that planners should respond to and advocate for public involvement (Fainstein &
Campbell, 2012), there are still different interpretations of the public who should be served by
planners in different situations (Brooks, 2002). In addition, planning scholars have different ideas
on how to serve and engage the public in planning processes. While some scholars advocate for
collaborative and discourse-based processes that aim for building consensus and creating mutual
understanding among all groups of stakeholders (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989;
Goldstein, 2009; Hillier, 1998; J. Innes & Booher, 2010; J. E. Innes & Gruber, 2005; L. Susskind
& Cruikshank, 1989; Goldstein & Butler, 2010; Hoch, 2007c), some other scholars mainly view
public participation as an inclusive effort which is not primarily framed around the
communicative aspect of planning, but around ways in which participatory processes can engage
14


planning organizations, power forces, and stakeholders (See Flyvbjerg, 2002; Huxley &
Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000).
During the last two decades, planning theory has had strong emphasis on communication
and dialogue, as the main forces for creating more democratic, adaptive, and planning processes
that can respond to complexity and interconnectivity of decision making processes and power
imbalances (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Hoch, 2007c; Innes & Booher, 2010;
Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989). Although the ideas of communicative rationality theory has been
criticized by several scholars (See Flyvbjerg, 2002; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000),
they are still being considered as one of the dominant forces for shaping the current ideas in
planning theory. Innes and Booher (2010) argue that planners works deal with the web of
communicative activities that influence actions that affect all social groups. They believe that
communicative processes can lead to new collective perceptions and understandings by changing
or refining shared meanings as well as players attitudes about a shared problem. However,
having equal opportunities among stakeholders, and the public in particular, to participate in
discussions is crucial.
Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places (American Planning Association,
2015, n.d.) considers authentic participation as one of the main components that define the
process of comprehensive planning. Based on the APAs report, to conduct authentic public
participation process, planning organizations should: engage stakeholders at all stages of the
planning process, seek diverse participation in the plan development process, promote leadership
development in disadvantaged communities during the planning process, develop alternative
scenarios of the future, provide ongoing and understandable information for all participants, use a
variety of communications channels to inform and involve the community, and continue to
engage the public after the comprehensive plan is adopted, (n.d)
15


In the following two sections, I will discuss collaboration and information dissemination
as two main objectives for participatory processes. In this study, I consider collaborative
planning as a dialogue based process which emphasizes on consensus building and mutual
learning. I use the term participatory planning, as a general term for participatory processes.
2.1.2.1. Participation for collaboration and managing power imbalances
In this section, I discuss the pros and cons of collaborative planning methods through the lens of
communicative planning theorists as well as those who advocate for more emphasis on the role
of power in planning practice.
Collaborative planning and communicative rationality theory has been mainly built on
Habermas (1989) writings on creating valid dialogues and addresses participants effective
participation and argumentation in the planning process (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester,
1989; Hillier, 1998). Communicative planning considers the planning practice as a
communicative, negotiative and interactive activity (Forester, 1989; Hillier, 1998; J. Innes &
Booher, 2010). Talk and argument comprise important part of the planning practice, which
consist of discussion among all stakeholders for mutual benefit (forester, 1989).
Arguing that the participation of all stakeholders is crucial for an informed decision-
making, effective communication, and a democratic process, Habermas considers the following
four conditions necessary for having a rational communicative process (cited in Forester, 1989);
The first is that discussion should be face to face including various interest groups. The second is
that participants speech should be valid and testable. The third condition is that all participants
should be in a similar position in terms of having power, and should have equal access to
information. The forth condition is that participants should be able to question others comments.
Habermas considers speech as a rational discourse (Huxley, 2000, 369), which in ideal
situation results in undistorted communication and builds comprehension, trust, knowledge, and
16


consent. In contrast, distorted communication results in miss representation, confusion, false
assurances, and illegitimacy (Forester, 1989). Habermas (1985) sets out validity claims, which
must exist to lay the groundwork for the ideal speech, which comprises truth, clarity, sincerity,
and legitimacy. Comprehensibility relates to clear and easily understandable statements, Sincerity
relates to trustworthiness of speakers claims, Legitimacy relates to propriety of speakers
statements, and accuracy relates to truthfulness of speakers claims (Cited in Forester, 1989, 144).
Forester introduces communication distortions in planning practice based on these four validity
claims and argues that distorted process develops disbelief and amusement among stakeholders
and negatively affects their shared understandings (Forester, 1989, 144).
Table 2.2: Experiencing communication distortions in face to face communication and correcting
them (Forester, 1989)
Experiencing and correcting communication distortions Comprehensibility Sincerity Legitimacy Truth
Experiencing distortions Ambiguity, confusion Deceit, Insincerity Meaning taken out of context Misrepres entation
Correcting distortions Revealing meaning Checking intentions Determining roles and context Checking evidence
Building on Habermas ideas of communicative rationality theory, Giddens Structuration theory
(Giddens, 1984), and complexity theory, Lines and Booher (2010) develop their collaborative
rationality theory which consists of a process where all the affected interests jointly engage in
face to face dialogue, bringing their various perspectives to the table to deliberate on the problem
they face together. (6) Innes and Booher (2010, 35) argue that meeting the following three
conditions will create a collaborative process which is adaptive and resilient to specific contextual
situation, facilitates mutual learning processes and creativity:
17


Full diversity of interests among participants: Many values, interests, perspectives, skills,
and types and sources of knowledge should be included in the process to develop and build
an adaptive system. Variety in a social system facilitates feasible and equitable dialogue.
(101).
Interdependence of the participants: Agents should depend on others for a mutual benefit.
Each participant has something to offer and this interdependence makes participants
interested to stay engaged with each other throughout the process (36).
Engagement of all participants in a face to face authentic dialogue: Authentic dialogue
requires participants engagement on a shared task in such a way that they can feel assured
their claims are comprehensible, legitimate, sincere and accurate. Authentic dialogue is not
dominated or controlled by outside powers, happens in an environment in which stakeholders
have equal access to information, allows all major interests and ideas to be heard, and relies
more on participants knowledge from their everyday lives than on their scientific expertise
(36,37). Authentic dialogue requires a facilitator (Innes and Booher, 2010, 97) to keep the
discussion focused while encouraging flow of the discussion. In authentic dialogue,
participants should have equal access to information, have equal ability to speak and be
listened to and be able to change their assumptions. In authentic dialogue discussion is not
controlled by external powers and nothing is off the table, (ibid, 37).
Communicative theorists emphasize the creation of mutual understanding processes. In
moving towards mutual understanding people should respect differences as part of peoples
identity and move beyond confused noise (Hillier, 1998) to reach a negotiable understanding
(Shorter, 1993). Reaching a thorough consensus is ideal but not required (Innes & Booher,
2010b; Susskind & Ozawa, 1983). To produce rational results, participants and stakeholders do
not need to reach consensus on goals, values and reasons; they need to reach a shared
18


understanding of the context, issues and interests. Having access to information plays an
important role in this process (Innes and Booher, 101).
While there have been different ideas about the planners roles in shaping built
environments and facilitating decision making processes; there have been more or less a
consensus on defining their role as a political agent who deals with power imbalances. Planning
theorists have emphasized on this issue in various levels; while the advocates of the
communicative rationality literature have not had very strong emphasis on the topic, several other
scholars have framed their theories of planning based on the role of power in planning practice or
theories of political geography (see Flyvbjerg, 2002, 2006; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley,
2000; Yiftachel, 1998).
Interaction and knowledge production are infused with ideological and political practices
that protect the powerful and confuse the powerless (Patsy Healey, 1992). The communicative
planning theorists have missed exploring the details of how planning organizations should
balance power distributions or work in environments where planners do not own the power to
make the final decision (see Brooks, 2002). For example, Innes and Boohers argue that
participants should have equal access to information to equal ability to speak and be listened to
provides a valuable normative framework; however, their argument lacks providing actionable
strategies that explain how and in which circumstances such framework can happen (Afzalan,
2013). Consensus and mutual understanding are shaped through the conduct of discourse and the
influential role that power plays in this process (Flyvbjerg, 2002); the power of outside sources
including developers and state officials also influence this process (Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000).
Castells (2000) idea on a transition from the "space of places" to the "space of flows", instead of
individuals, also supports this notion. He argues that networks are denominated by the
interactions that they represent, more than by the "nodes" they interconnect; and such interactions
are also dominated by powerful ideas that have great influences on members' interactions. This
19


argument laid out part of the current discourse on the importance of organizations and networks
in shaping participatory planning practices.
Planners power in decision making processes and political debates have been questioned
and examines by several scholars (See Brooks, 2002; Fainstein & Campbell, 2012; Wildavsky,
1973; Yiftachel, 1998). While planners may not possess the ultimate power to implement their
plans, they still have the power to facilitate planning processes or negotiations, empower citizens
through providing accurate and relevant information; therefore, increase the feasibility of plans
(Brooks, 2002; Forester, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010). Forester (1989) argues that planners have
the power to use or misuse the information that they have access to in shaping the planning
process. Withholding information or exaggeration risks of implementing a project are examples
of planners role in misinforming citizens. As he states, the analysis of various forms of
misinformation can help citizens and planners identify, anticipate, and overcome (P47) such
obstacles and move towards a more democratic society. Yiftachel (1998) also discusses the dark
side of planning by exploring ways in which planners power may lead to miss management or
unequal distribution of resources. Planners may not have the ultimate power to make the final
decision, but, they still have the power to influence citizens lives through facilitating the decision
processes or distribution of resources.
Although meeting the requirements of collaborative planning processes is challenging,
especially due to their diffusion with the complicated role of power sources in shaping such
processes, these collaborative planning approaches are still being considered as crucial
components of planning and decision making theories. Developing methods that can both respond
to communicative aspects of planning and the discussed power struggles, may address the
premier challenges of current participatory processes.
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2.1.2.2. Participation for engaging local knowledge
Although deliberation, social learning, and trust building among stakeholders play crucial roles in
participatory plan making processes, the incorporation of public interest and local knowledge in
these processes is also another influential force. It can promote the feasibility of plan making
processes by providing contextual and accurate information and respecting public input (Corbum,
2005; Fischer, 2000; Innes & Booher, 2010).
Local knowledge can be defined as folk culture or street knowledge (Brush & Stabinsky,
1996; Corbum, 2005) that is attached to socio-cultural contexts (Fischer, 2000; Yanow, 2004;
Corbum, 2005) and is different from scientific or expert knowledge which is based on
reproducible and abstract procedures (Ezrahi, 1990). In addition, the methods of data collection,
criteria and standards for evidence, and techniques of information analysis are different when
dealing with local knowledge comparing scientific knowledge (Corbum, 2005). These differences
can make the use of local knowledge in plan making processes challenging, either collected
through traditional methods (e.g. interview of community leaders), or new methods (e.g. online
data collection methods).
Advocates of using local knowledge, criticize the positivist and sole rational approaches
by arguing the importance of integrating scientific or so-called expert-based knowledge with local
knowledge in order to rediscover creative ideas, respond to contextual factors, reduce
reductionism in the professional practice, and enhance the acceptance chance of decisions by
including more voices in the process (Archer, 1990; Brabham, 2009; Corbum, 2005; Fischer,
2000; Yli-pelkonen & Kohl, 2005). Knorr-Cetina (1999) argues that sometimes it is the
contextual knowledge that shows who is the expert. Innes and Booher (2010) believe that
incorporating local knowledge leads to more adaptive and creative planning in the age of
complexity. They argue that local knowledge fills gaps, provides information about context, and
offers pragmatic, experience-based insights from those who know a situation first hand. Mercer
21


et al. (2008) also clarifies that incorporating local knowledge supports interactions and capacities
at the community level and increases adaptive capacities and reduces disaster risks. Mcnamara
and Westoby (2011) also assert that applying local knowledge can lead to a more participatory
and cost-effective process. It bridges the gap between citizens, experts and community
organizations (Rantanen, 2007). Fischer (2000) believes that ignoring local knowledge hinders
the adaptability and feasibility of the professionals plans. Policy makers and planners need to
change their views of seeing the public as a threat and a constraint to practice (Innes & Booher,
2010b; Rydin & Pennington, 2000).
Several scholars have particularly focused on the importance of incorporating local
knowledge in planning and decision making to respond to climate change and sustainability.
Chapter 26 of Agenda 21 emphasizes the importance of local knowledge and focuses on the
recognition of [local peoples] values, traditional knowledge and resource management practices
with a view to promoting environmentally sound and sustainable development (cited in Quarrie,
1992). In climate adaptation planning, it is crucial to learn how the public perceive risks. Peacock
et. al. (2005 ,120- 121) argue that "Public perception of risk is an important predictor of how
citizens will prepare for and respond to hazard threats. Furthermore, because the public is
increasingly involved in planning and policy decision-making, perceptions of risk can influence
the content of hazard mitigation programs and associated strategies. Moser and Dilling (2007)
support this idea by arguing that Public perceptions of dangers of climate change are important in
arranging socio-political actions. They (2007, 65) also believe that dismissing emotional
reception of climate-related news can hinder outreach activities, therefore, affect climate
adaptive planning. It is also important to exploit the capacity of local communities, as consumers
of environmental resources, to learn about potential contextual factors influencing the
environment (Berkes, 1999, 321).
22


Innes and Booher (2010) introduce some strategies for integrating local and scientific
(expert) knowledge to create a more adaptive planning process, including employing
collaborative data gathering methods, relying on some people who are close to disadvantaged
communities and can tell their stories, or inviting local and marginalized people to address their
issues.
However, there are several institutional and non-institutional factors affecting the process
of integrating knowledge in planning process, including differences in institutional power and
management of local resources, differences in participants view of the project, and differences in
the perception of what stakeholders should or want to get out of the project (Raymond et. al.,
2010). The process of knowledge integration should be flexible enough to take into account new
information and new perceptions emerging during the project. For example, environmental
management programs should be homed in institutions that are flexible to deal with variety of
knowledge across multiple time horizons and scales (Armitage et al., 2009; cited in Reymond et.
al. ,2010). In addition, planning organizations should be able to assess the information usefulness
through exploring its characteristics, including its form (e.g. is it qualitative or quantitative?),
scale (what is the data scale and coverage?), accuracy (how the data represents the reality),
coverage (which communities or regions are covered by the dataset?), completeness (what
percentage of the community is covered by the dataset?), age (how old is the dataset?),
Confidentiality (are there limitations for using the data?), Maintenance (what should we do to
keep the data useful and up to date?), Appropriateness (how relevant is the data to the plan
requirements?) (Randolph, 2004). In addition to these considerations, planning organizations
should monitor the data use and ensure the appropriate use of data in a way that it is not misused
for instrumental purposes (Forester, 1989).
23


2.1.3. Challenges of Participatory Plan Making: From Organizations to Communities
Adoption
There are still several professionals and scholars who prefer to primarily rely on top-down
approaches and the sole use of expert-based knowledge. In fact, the tension between democratic
efforts and professional experiences is still a considerable issue in our time (Fischer, 2000). The
resentment towards participatory approaches consists of several reasons, including institutional
capacity (see Yli-pelkonen & Kohl, 2005; Bamberg, 2013), planners doubts about the usefulness
of citizens knowledge or the effectiveness of their participation (Bamberg, 2013; Close & Hall,
2006; Corbum, 2003a; Fischer, 2000; Kapoor, 2001; Rydin & Pennington, 2000), citizens
desirability in engagement (see Fischer, 2000; Yli-pelkonen& Kohl, 2005), and other contextual
factors (see Yli-pelkonen & Kohl, 2005; Innes and Booher, 2010).
Institutional capacity of planning organizations can affect the desirability of employing
collaborative processes. Planning offices should be equipped to engage citizens, collect local
information, and analyze subjective knowledge. Dealing with the necessities of setting up
collaborative processes can be a huge task for local governments, and therefore, can make them
less interested in such processes (Yli-pelkonen & Kohl 2005). Bamberg (2013) also emphasizes
on the importance of the structure of participatory systems and ways in which they can influence
collaborative approaches to be successful and interesting for stakeholders to engage in. He states
that the tool and organization are both important in the success of the participation. The site of
knowledge production, the types of issues, and the type of stakeholders affect knowledge
generation. The planning organization also influences how this knowledge is used. Bamberg
(2013, 54) believes that "the time frame and procedural steps involved in planning processes limit
the ability of planners to engage in deliberation with citizens". Kapoor (2001) also argues that
organizations may not be interested in collaborative approaches since they require time, and
organizational and financial resources. Choosing these processes may require changes in
24


organizations' structures and designation of more flexible goals and procedures. It may also need
changing political structures and adopting new frameworks.
The specific characteristics of local knowledge may also make their use less interesting
for practitioners. Close & Hall (2006, 341) discuss that many professionals consider local
knowledge as "fragmented and subjective". Fischer (2000, 33) also clarifies that those who
oppose participatory processes, argue that experts are the ones who have the knowledge to make
decisions and implement them. Some even believe that there is already too much citizen
engagement in the western political system. Some other practitioners or scholars also believe that
applying local knowledge in planning processes may hinder the feasibility of their plans. Corbum
(2005,67) argues that having lay people challenge the credibility, legitimacy, and trustworthiness
of experts can be very threatening for professionals, since their resources and maintenance of
professional autonomy may be placed in jeopardy. In addition, local knowledge may not be
applicable to all socio-economic problems at various scales (Fisher, 2000), so it may not be very
useful in some projects.
In addition, incorporating local knowledge in planning processes can be technically
challenging, or may require changes in views and governance systems. Organizations may be not
interested in incorporating local knowledge in their decision making processes since it requires
time and organizational and financial resources, or may need changes in organizations' structure
and requiring a more flexible goals and procedures. It may also need some political changes and
adopting new frameworks (Kapoor, 2001). He (2001, 274) also argues that successful
participation requires engagement in all stages of the plan; sometimes governments engage
people in just some parts of the plan, which is not sufficient and can lead to a false participatory
process.
In addition, some of the participatory planning advocates even doubt about the universal
usefulness of such processes by arguing the dependency of participatory processes on several
25


contextual factors, including the capacity of planning institutions or environmental factors. For
example, Yli-pelkonen & Kohl (2005) argue that participatory processes are not always the best
solution, since some citizens may not have enough resources, knowledge, skills or time to have an
effective participation. Fisher (2000) also clarifies that while the analysis supports the case for
participatory democracy, it does not present citizen participation as a magic cure-all for economic
and social problems (xi, xii). Even though Habermas first takes the participatory notion from
Dewey and advocates for a radical democracy, he then changes his notion and argues that
democratic planning may not be applicable to all situations, which are partially rooted in the
complexity of our societies (cited in Fischer, 2000, 8).
Applying the strategies of communicative rationality theory, specifically consensus
building, is challenging (Huxley, 2000). Building on social justice theories, Hillier (1998), one of
the advocates of the theory, admits that it is not easy to achieve consensus or mutual agreement in
decision-making since it is hard to do justice to all values, images, and identities and still
negotiate consensus. There are always conflicts among stakeholders' ideas, since there are various
interests, each with its own goal. Applying participatory communicative approaches in decision-
making is challenging; the more participants, the more discourses, the more variation on values,
and the greater the probability of conflict (Hillier, 1998). Moreover, focusing on consensus
building can lead to problems, since it may encourage people to accept an idea which is not a
good strategy (Zellner, Hoch, & Welch, 2011). Some of the advocates of collaborative processes
also admit that consensus building in large groups may reduce workability (Susskind and
Cruikshank, 1987; Gray 1989, 68). Innes and Booher (2010, 114) also accept the inherent
challenges of collaborative processes and suggest going back to more traditional methods of
decision making, in case of having issues with setting up collaborative processes. They argues
that the problem should be complex enough to worth applying collaborative decision making
since it is time consuming and it requires a lot of energy.
26


In addition, citizens interest in participatory processes and their perceptions of
engagement influence the feasibility and success of collaborative planning. In some cultures or
societies, people may not see a value in their participation for various reasons. For example, if
people put a lot of time and energy on a participatory process but do not see the process
successful, they may be frustrated (Yli-pelkonen & Kohl, 2005). In some cases citizens have
doubts as to whether their participation is worth spending their time and energy (Fischer, 2000,
15).
Participatory processes are challenging, however, they are not dismissible. Particularly,
based on the current focus of planning practices to address the issues of environmental
sustainability and climate change, stakeholders engagement should be incorporated in land use
and environmental planning at different geographical scales. Due to all the organizational,
technical, and community-related challenges of employing participatory processes, it is important
to review methods of participation and explore the usefulness and requirements of new methods
and tools in facilitating such processes. Whether and how online media can respond to these
challenges? Can they help planners implement their visionary ideas about public participatory
processes? What are the requirements of incorporating these methods or tools in current planning
systems?
2.2. Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning
Employing inclusive and multi-scalar participatory planning processes is crucial, especially in our
age which there is a strong need to address the emerging issues of sustainability and climate
change. The following paragraphs discuss the importance of diverse stakeholder engagement at
multiple scales for facilitating environmental and land use planning, as tools for responding to
climate change and sustainability.
27


With the growing need to incorporate the strategies that can respond to climate change
and environmental sustainability in planning processes, another layer of complexity has been
added to the current environmental and land use plan-making practices (Afzalan & Muller, 2014).
Effective plan making processes should not only consider the integration of several interrelated
planning, policy, and design systems, but also their incorporation at several scales (Adger et al.,
2008; Arts & Leroy, 2006; Ebi & Semenza, 2008; Ostrom, 2010a). On one hand, local strategies
should be incorporated with regional policies and with national frameworks. On the other hand,
each plan should address policies and actionable strategies considering specific local
requirements. This complexity in not new in the field of urban planning, but has been highlighted
by the emergent need to respond to climate change-related policies. Diverse stakeholder
engagement plays a more crucial in plan making processes role than before.
Land-use and environmental planning are premier tools for planners to address the
complexities of climate change policy. They can be influential at various scales, from locating a
local neighborhood park (see Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Harlan, Brazel, Prashad, Stefanov, &
Larsen, 2006; Schilling & Logan, 2008a), to revitalizing urban greenways (see Benedict &
McMahon, 2006; Campbell, 2007; Gill, Handley, Ennos, & Pauleit, 1998; Jim & Chen, 2008;
Lindsey, Maraj, & Kuan, 2001), or managing urban or regional growth (Blanco et al., 2009;
Chapin, 2012; Margerum, 2002). Climate adaptive planning calls for multi-disciplinary practices
which engage social sciences, public policy, and engineering.
Sustainable land-use planning engages variety of stakeholders, including policy makers,
urban planners and designers, landscape architects, engineers, developers, local institutions, and
citizens. The challenge of collaboration is now not only about collaboration between so called
experts and citizens, but also about collaboration within the team of experts. Urban and regional
planners should develop mutual understanding with a diverse group of professionals from
different disciplines who have different values or approaches (forester, 1989; Innes & Booher,
28


2010). While such interconnectivity can create more adaptive and resilient planning systems, its
complexity requires more effective coordination and collaboration (Afzalan, 2013; Armitage et
al., 2009; Batty & Marshall, 2012; Batty, 2010; De roo & Silva, 2010; De Roo & Wezemael,
2012) State organizations, local governments, and non-governmental organizations have crucial
roles in facilitating and taking part in the participatory efforts (Bickerstaff, Tolley, & Walker,
2002; F. Fischer, 2000; Nolon, 2009; Karen Trapenberg Frick, 2014).
Adopting sustainability and adaptation strategies require the integration of multiple
decisions, which consist of the participation of various types of stakeholders who can analyze and
discuss interrelationships between strategies and their future consequences (Adger, Amell, &
Tompkins, 2005; Ostrom, 2010b). Several factors can affect these processes, including accurate
knowledge about future climate related impacts of our current actions, the society perception of
the issues and related risks, specific cultural and or organizational contexts, and the objectives of
adaptation (Adger et al., 2008).
Plan making processes are tied to the inherent dynamics of land use and environmental
planning, particularly to the organizational and technical forces that influence the plan making
process. Land use planning, is a tool that facilitates environmental planning purposes (Randolph,
2004). Its effective integration with current plan making systems requires specific attention to the
contextual needs, as well as the opportunities and limitations of the particular area that the plan is
being created for. The following paragraphs briefly explore the importance of land use planning
in incorporating the ideas of sustainability into plan making, to elaborate on some of the
challenges and opportunities of doing so.
Environmental planning is a multi-disciplinary approach and covers wide range of topics,
form global warming to protecting or planning for natural systems (Cox, 2013; Randolph, 2004).
It can include strategies and policies of climate adaptation (See Birkmann & Teichman, 2010;
Gill et al., 2007; Adger et al., 2008), natural hazard management (See Afzalan et.al, 2014; Altay
29


& Green, 2006; P. R. Berke, 2006; Birkmann, 2006; Jom Birkmann & Teichman, 2010; B. R. J.
Burby, Deyle, Godschalk, & Olshansky, 2000; Uitto, 1998), or land use planning (See Campbell,
2007; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Randolph, 2004; Rydin, 2010). As a result, it requires to
engage a wide range of disciplines, including environmental science, environmental economics,
environmental evaluation, environmental politics, and collaboration and conflict resolution
(Randolph, 2004, 5).
Several factors influence environmental planning processes. These include plan type,
interaction between stakeholders and the involved actors (Innes & Booher, 2010; Randolph,
2004), management processes (Leroy and Arts, 2006), or the stakeholders or communities
perception (Adger et al., 2008). For example, variety of ethical values, lack of knowledge about
future impacts of climate change, perception of risk by society, and undervaluing contextual
assets focused on place and culture, can greatly influence environmental management processes
(Adger et al., 2008, 349). In addition, plan making processes require adopting different
approaches based on plan types. Planning for vulnerability assessment (See Birkmann, 2006; B.
R. Burby et al., 2000) or hazard mitigation planning (See Godschalk, 2003) has different timing
requirements comparing to planning for emergency response where managing and coordinating
available sources is the main challenge (See Altay & Green, 2006; Ingram, Franco, Rio, &
Khazai, 2006).
In addition, while management processes and organizational considerations influence the
environmental plan making processes, the individual planners also play an important role in
facilitating and negotiating these processes; for example through having the authority to impose
land use development conditions (Stevens, 2010) or perceiving the value of such processes. Land
use planning should correspond to environmental capacities, the capability of the environment in
carrying specific activities without experiencing a severe damage (Owens & Cowell, 1996;
Rydin, 2010). Location allocation or design of land use influences several environmental related
30


issues, including natural hazards by increasing or reducing their risks, or even community
character and cultural heritage through enforcing new ways of human and nature interactions
(Randolph, 2004, 47).
Land use planning play an important role in resolving the inherent tensions in the concept
of sustainable development which tries to resolve the tension between economic development,
environmental development, and social equity (see Godschalk and Communities, 2004;
Godschalk and Communities (2004). Land use planners can facilitate this process by trying to
resolve the property conflicts, the resource conflicts, and the development conflicts (Campbell,
2007), or through dealing with the conflicts that result from implementing visionary ideas
required for sustainable development (Godschalk and Communities, 2004). Godschalk and
Communities also go further and argue that the future of land use planning may well depend on
how it resolves these conflicts and creates settlement patterns that are both livable and
sustainable.
Several considerations should be taken into account in land use planning practices, not
only due to its direct environmental consequences, but also its other consequences including
equity or social issues. Land use planning can have a large welfare and distributional effects
across various income groups (Cheshire and Sheppard, 2002); it can affect the low income
communities or minorities who may have less capability to move to a healthier area, or fewer
access to social networks and political leaderships. Land use planning should manages influential
political forces, including the interest of various stakeholder, whether it is used for promoting the
ideas of socio-environmental sustainability, or for supporting communities livability (see
Schilling and Logan, 2008) through equal distribution of green infrastructure systems, or for
enhancing hazard mitigation plans (See Burby, Deyle, Godschalk, & Olshansky, 2000b) through
subdivision regulations. The role of planners in handling these forces will be discussed in the next
section.
31


Contextual factors influence land use decisions. For example, green infrastructure
allocations can bring issues related to relocation, displacement, and environmental justice;
demolition versus rehabilitation Property ownership; or financial sources and fiscal stability
(Schilling and Logan, 2008, 461). Considering contextual factors, including population, social
satisfaction, and lifestyle behavior influence the success of land use decisions; disregarding these
factors can lead to community dissatisfaction and inequality (Grove et al., 2006).
Although plan making practices are not solely focused on land use decisions, they are
still strongly managed by forces of resource allocation and land development. The nature of
environmental land use planning, as a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale practice, requires
effective collaboration between stakeholders to incorporate local and professional knowledge into
various stages of plan making and to engage various organizations and community groups. To
have an environmentally and ecologically sustainable future, we need changes in ways we define
our values, and our lifestyles; we need to engage in dialogues about ways in which we can pursue
these aims (Moser & Dilling, 2007).
The opportunities and challenges of engaging diverse stakeholders at multiple scales is
discussed. The question is whether online technologies can help planning organizations leam
from diverse communities. Can they allow communities to engage in dialogue and collaborative
process to resolve possible conflicting ideas? To what extent are online tools capable of
facilitating social interaction or information sharing among communities at different scales? How
can planning organizations use these technologies effectively? These ideas are discussed in the
next section.
2.3. Technology for Participation
This section discusses the opportunities and challenges of using new technologies in planning
processes. It first argues the capacity of the new technologies in generating local knowledge for
32


planners and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders, then, it argues the challenges of
incorporating these technologies in planning processes through an organizational point of view.
2.3.1. The Promises of Information Technology and Social Media
The competence of Information Technology, social media, and mobile technologies in facilitating
information sharing and social interactions, beside their growing popularity among citizens, has
generated discourses among planning academics and professionals on their usefulness in
responding to the everlasting challenges of stakeholder engagement (Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan
& Muller, 2014; Evans-Cowley, 2010; Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Evans-Cowley &
Manta Conroy, 2006; Foth, 2011; Kavanaugh et al., 2005; Tayebi, 2013; Trapenberg Frick,
Weinzimmer, & Waddell, 2014). However, as discussed in the earlier chapter, the challenges of
public participation are complex and involve several other factors including the organizations
capacity of incorporating participatory processes, planners perception and belief in such
processes, or citizens interests in participation.
The question of the capacity of online technologies in facilitating participatory processes is still a
planning question rather than a technology one. This dissertation does not only explore the
capacity of new technologies in responding to these challenges, but also the capacity of planners
and planning organizations in incorporating these technologies in their current planning
processes, as new participatory systems. This dissertation does not focus on ways in which
technical considerations of designing web-based tools influence their capacity of facilitating or
hindering stakeholders interactions (see Greenberg & Marwood, 1994; Suchman, 1983; Tang,
1989; Zuboff, 1988), or on the relationship between the type of participatory tools and their
effectiveness in facilitating participatory processes (see Williamson & Parolin, 2013), but on
ways in which planners and planning organizations can incorporate them in their participatory
planning systems based on the available or potential organizational or technological opportunities
and limitations. Exploring the incorporation of new participatory technologies in planning
33


processes, which requires the study of organizational capacity of planning institutions in adopting
novel processes, will be discussed later in this chapter.
2.3.1.1. Online planning technologies for collaboration: opportunities and concerns
The discourse on the use of technology in plan making and decision making is not new. It goes
back to the discussion of the use of computers and Planning Support Systems, or Decision
Support Systems, by planning organizations, as tools that support data gathering and storage, data
visualizations, computation processes, modeling, or predicting the future of land use decisions
(See Batty, 1995; Danziger, 1977; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Klosterman, 1997; Klosterman,
1999; Plunmny, 1998). These studies have more focused on supporting decision making among a
group of experts rather than diverse stakeholders including community members. With the recent
technological advances, the invention of Internet and social media, new types of planning or
decision support systems have emerged. These technologies can support new types of information
gathering or decision making with a focus on bottom up and citizen facilitated processes (Afzalan
et al., 2014; Afzalan & Muller, 2014). While researching the role of social media and citizen-
governed online forums in facilitating self-organizing activities (see Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan
& Muller, 2014) and participatory processes is relevant to the discussion of technologically
mediated participation, this dissertation is primarily focused on the role of online tools, governed
by local or state governments, in implementing participatory processes.
The use of computer aided technology in planning and decision making has been strongly
supported by the growth in popularity of GIS and its applications in supporting location-based
analysis and visualization (Klosterman, 1997) and has been continuously evolving to adopt new
tasks. UrbanSim (see Waddell, 2002; Waddell, 2007) and CommunityViz (see Bailey, Blandford,
Grossardt, & Ripy, 2011; Drummond & French, 2008; Klosterman & Pettit, 2005), and What-if
(Klosterman, 2001; Klosterman, 1999) are good examples of these commercialized tools which
are now moving towards more participatory processes through their integration with the online
34


environment. Although these technologies have traditionally been mainly used to facilitate top
down (expert-based) decision making processes, as support tools for planners to make decisions
and test scenarios, they now are moving towards more participatory systems which can support
stakeholders engagement at different levels, from online and remote interactions to face to face
ones (see Goodspeed, 2013). This dissertation considers Online Participatory Tools (OPTs) as
new types of planning support systems which can be used by planning organizations to support
participatory planning processes.
Online Participatory Tools relate to (a) planning tools that are particularly designed for
planning and decision making purposes and are controlled mainly by public or private agencies
(e.g. MindMixer, Place Speak), as well as (b) social networking sites which are not particularly
designed for planning purposes and are mainly controlled by citizens or community groups, but
can be used for planning purposes as well (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). The focus of this dissertation
is on the first type of these technologies that are particularly designed to engage stakeholders in
planning and decision making processes.
The discussion on the use of OPTs in planning is not new. During the last decade or so,
several scholars have argued the role of social media and information technology in facilitating
collaborative processes and managing power imbalances, from different perspectives and at
different scales; from the role of global information networks in empowering socio-political
interactions to the capacity of online neighborhood forums in facilitating local dialogues or
mobilizing actions (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Castells, 2013; Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; s
Evans-Cowley, 2011; Goodspeed, 2014; Marshall &Novick, 1995; Rhoads, 2010; Seltzer &
Mahmoudi, 2012; Tayebi, 2013a, 2013b; Townsend, 2001, 2013; Afzalan & Evans-Cowley,
2015). This discourse not only argues the potentials of using new technologies in planning and
policy making, specifically participatory processes, but also explores the considerations and
limitations for their effective use.
35


However, there are controversies over the role of web-based forums in facilitating
dialogue and incorporating ideas of social equity and inclusive planning, as two premier
components of participatory planning processes. Several scholars have argued the capacity of
web-based technologies in supporting decision making processes through augmenting validity of
dialogues, enhancing the thoughtfulness of agreement-reaching efforts, and making the
discussion processes more transparent (See Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Cona, 1997; Marker &
Schmidt-Belz, 2000; Marshall &Novick, 1995; Soukup, 2006). While several scholars are
hesitant about the effectiveness of technology in facilitating dialogue and mutual understanding
among stakeholders, Marshal and Novic (1995) believe that dismissing visual cues from
discussion does not necessarily affect understanding. DeSanctis and Monge (1999: 697) even
argue that removing visual cues may facilitate message understanding. They clarify that by
providing enough contextual information, creation of mutual understanding in online
environments is not very challenging. Conroy and Gordon (2004) also assert that the use of
technology in public meetings lead to greater participant satisfaction and richer knowledge-
building. Rhoads (2010, 111) believes that there are no valid proofs showing that face-to-face
discussion is more effective than online discussion in participatory projects. Considering
computer-mediated environments as social spaces for having informal interactions, Soukup
(2006) believes that computer networks can provide environments for communication that are
similar to non-virtual ones. Hampton (2002) also supports this idea and argues that computer
mediated communication builds community through facilitating community involvement and
strengthening of social networks. On the other hand, some scholars assert that exchange of
knowledge in online environments is possible, but difficult (Cornelius & Boos, 2003; Figueroa,
Kincaid, Rani, & Lewis, 2002; Hiltz, 1994; Panteli & Sockalingam, 2005; Watson, DeSanctis, &
Poole, 1988). They argue that without enough experience in synchronous Computer Mediated
Communication (CMC), mutual understanding is limited. Watson et al. (1988) argue that face-to-
face communication is more successful in facilitating consensus and resolving conflicts than
36


computer mediated communication. Pacagnella (1997: 5) also supports this idea and believes that
virtual networks may produce misunderstanding due to different communication codes. Several
scholars (e.g. Rhoads, 2010; Cornelius and Boos, 2003) also assert that Face-to-face interaction
involves social signals that facilitate effective communication and lack of these cues in
controlling conversation flow can result in distorted communication and confusion.
On the other hand, neighborhood online forums are capable of facilitating social ties,
community participation, and dialogue by allowing people to meet and have face to face
interaction, if needed (Afzalan& Muller, 2014; Foth, 2006; Hampton & Wellman, 2003;
Hampton, 2003, 2007; Craig, 1998; Tayebi, 2013). While generating privacy concerns (Foth,
2006), these place-based online forums can build trust (Budthimedhee, Li, & George, 2002;
Rhoads, 2010) and foster social capital in local communities (Hampton & Wellman, 2002);
stronger social capital helps the community have more transparent discussions (Innes and Booher,
2010, 99). In their study of the usability of an online neighborhood forum in green infrastructure
planning, Afzalan and Muller (2014) support the idea that place-based online forums can provide
opportunities for stakeholders to engage in a valid dialogue and evaluate veracity of each others
claims thorough facilitating face to face interactions and allowing the participants to clarify their
intentions and resolve conflicts at their convenience.
Online technologies and social media can facilitate or hinder more democratic processes.
They can facilitate such processes through supporting more flexible interaction among
stakeholders at their convenient time and place (Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Foth, 2011;
Vieweg, Palen, Liu, Hughes, & Sutton, 2008; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Budthimedhee, Li, &
George, 2002), and allowing planners to distribute information more widely (Evans-Cowley &
Hollander, 2010b; Mandarano, Meenar, & Steins, 2010; Starbird & Palen, 2013) or simply be
more responsive to the community (Evans-Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Seltzer & Mahmoudi,
2012a). On the other hand, the use of online technologies and social media can lead to equity and
37


privacy issues. Although Digital government focuses on the application of ICTs in supporting
participatory decision making and providing planning services (Dawes, 2008: S87), the question
is, to what extent the digital governments have been successful in providing these services
equally for different societies? Several scholars (e.g. Choudrie, Weerakkody, & Jones, 2005;
Dawes, 2008; Graham, 2002) believe that the government use of ICTs has weakened the
influence of marginalized communities and empowered the influence of more affluent ones; and
resulted in culturally and economically biased plans or developments (Graham, 2002). Providing
beher Internet accessibility by local governments is one of the strategies for responding to the
digital divide (Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Choudrie et al., 2005), or develop educational
environments (Graham, 2002).
Moreover, there is concern considering the privacy issues regarding the use of ICTs in
planning processes and the interaction of citizens with the built environment (see Ahas & Mark,
2005; Shiode, 2010; Palen & Dourish, 2003; Jeffrey et al., 2008) These issues are primarily
concerned with surveillance issues and the importance of protecting peoples identifies (Jeffrey et
al., 2008; A. Townsend, 2013). Privacy issues of using data generated through online
technologies is the result of various activities at different scales, from tracking peoples
movements in urban areas (see Ahas & Mark, 2005; Townsend, 2013) to monitoring land use
ownership data (Shiode, 2000). These concerns should be addressed by planning organizations to
ensure equitable and inclusive planning process.
There are several concerns regarding the effective use of new participatory tools or
methods for facilitating stakeholders interactions in planning process. Further research is
required to explore the effectiveness of these new methods in plan making process and ways in
which planners perceive their usefulness. Whether and how these technologies facilitate planning
with people? If they do so, whether and how they empower different stakeholders and how
does this empowerment influence planning practice? Do these technologies provide too much
38


power for citizens or other stakeholders to interact and plan with planners? How do planners
perceive the opportunities and constraints of such technology-mediated processes? While I am
not answering all these questions in my dissertation, I consider these as important questions that
should be answered due to their potential influence in planning theory and practice.
2.3.1.2. Online planning technologies for engaging local knowledge: opportunities and concerns
Despite several concerns of using data generated through online technologies and social media,
such as privacy and equity considerations, these mediums provide new opportunities to harness
local knowledge from a large and diverse community through crowdsourcing. It is not only about
the power of technology, e.g. sensors or mobile phones, in collecting citizen generated data
(Goodchild, 2007; Gouveia & Fonseca, 2008; Kamel Boulos et al., 2011), but also the power of
technology in facilitating simpler participation of citizens in generating data and expressing their
interests (Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan, 2014; Brabham, 2008; Evans-Cowley, 2012; Seltzer &
Mahmoudi, 2012; Townsend, 2001; Williamson & Parolin, 2012). Introducing generative systems
theory, Zittrain, (2006) argues that the generativity capacity of online technologies (leveraging
across a range of tasks, adaptability to a range of different tasks, ease of mastery, and
accessibility) can help the development of new and unexpected ideas. However, to function
effectively, these technologies should be integrated with other planning methods and
organizational systems (J. G. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012). This conversation is tied to the ideas of
using crowdsourcing methods for engaging citizens interests and ideas in planning and
management processes.
Due to technological progress in communication and information sharing,
crowdsourcing, a method of outsourcing problem solving (Howe, 2006), has attracted more
attention from scholars and practitioners from different fields, including business, management,
urban and environmental planning, transportation planning (Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012a).
Crowdsourcing is a model to exploit collective intelligence of a group and creative solutions to
39


help organizations work more efficiently through solving complicated problems (Brabham,
2009). Levy & Bonomo (1999, 21) introduce this collective intelligence as a distributed and
synchronous system which is constantly improved and can mobilize collective intelligence
through facilitating interactivity and accessibility among technology users.
Although crowdsourcing and citizen engagement share similar intentions, both are
looking for engaging local knowledge, they have several differences as well; mainly due to their
focus on public interest. While participatory planning seeks social equity and engagement of all
communities, crowdsourcing does not pursue a similar intent (Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012a). On
the other hand, some scholars (See Brabham, 2009; Brabham, Sanchez, & Bartholomew, 2010),
argue that crowdsourcing can respond to challenges of democratic participation by facilitating
peoples participation regardless of limitations of time and place, allowing the representation of
more diverse communities, and generating collective intelligence.
While crowdsourcing is not only about the use of spatial knowledge, the integration of
GIS and World Wide Web has put more emphasis on the participatory nature of GIS and its
usability for crowdsourcing spatial knowledge (See Barton, Plume, & Parolin, 2005; Goodchild,
2007), allowing sharing and combining various experiences and information (Flanagin &
Metzger, 2008; Gouveia & Fonseca, 2008). During the last decade or so, we have seen a growing
interest in research on applications of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in planning and
decision making. VGI, as geospatial content that is being generated by users to meet the needs of
various communities (Goodchild, 2007), participatory nature of GIS (Bishr & Mantelas, 2008;
Sieber, 2007). Local spatial knowledge can enhance institutions' decision making by providing
qualitative and quantitative local information (Barton et al., 2005) about micro-level dynamics of
urban areas which is different from other types of data that have been discovered in traditional
mapping methods (Bishr & Mantelas, 2008). VGI can be generated by participants who either are
or are not formally invited to participate in knowledge creation. Local governments can facilitate
40


peoples participation in generating VGI to learn about citizens ideas about proposed scenarios
or avoid possible conflicts (Seeger, 2008).
Crowdsourcing as a "collective intelligence system consists of three elements: (a) an
organization that benefits from the crowd activity, (b) the crowd, and (c) a platform that hosts the
crowd activity and links it to the organization (Zhao & Zhu, 2012). Evans Cowley (2011)
suggests the following considerations for planners when applying crowdsourcing methods: (a)
crowdsourcing costs money and time, (b) it is not easy to attract people to participate in the
crowdsourcing activity, (c) there is the issue of the digital divide and equality in access to the
Internet, (d) both the users and the sponsors require technical support, (e) logging in should be a
requirement for users in order to understand who is participating, (f) continuous feedback should
provide information for citizens to learn about what is happening, (g) in order to have a
successful crowdsourcing activity, the problems should be clear and defined well, (h)
crowdsourcing may generate a large amount of responses and data that are not easy to be handled.
However, there are several concerns regarding the usability of user generated information
through online sources. This information has been produced through bottom up approaches and
does not rely on top down monitoring processes that control the information quality. It is not
filtered; therefore, it may not be very well organized, accurate, or up to date. (Metzger &
Flanagin, 2003; Goodchild & Li, 2012; Flanagin & Metzger, 2008; Rieh & Danielson, 2008).
Specifically, there are several concerns regarding the quality (Giordano, Liersch, Vurro, &
Hirsch, 2010; Hall et al., 2013; Scheuer et.al., 2013), credibility (Bishr & Kuhn, 2007; Seeger,
2008; Flanagin& Metzger, 2008), and vagueness of this information (Longueville, Ostl'ander, &
Keskitalo, 2009). Some researchers also argue that using this knowledge may cause issues of
privacy, security (Barton et al., 2005), and access to the Internet (Seeger, 2008). Most of the
studies related to evaluation of this quality of this information is related to exploring the nature of
this information, instead of whether and how it can be useful for particular policy purposes; For
41


example, we can see Flanagin & Metzgers (2008) evaluation of such information by exploring
its attachement to specific contextual situation, or Seegers (2008) evaluation by exploring the
number of people participated in information production, or Hall et al.s focus by examining the
level of interactivity among stakeholders in producing the information. There is a need to explore
the usability of such informaiton through exploring policy implications and perception of
information users, similar to the works of Cash et al. (2003) in exploring the usefulness of
informaiton for environmental policy purposes.
2.3.2. Organizational Use of New Technologies: Considerations and Challenges
Planning theory has been more focused on exploring the role of planning organizations in
facilitating participatory process rather than ways in which these organizations should function,
particularly ways in which they need to infuse new participatory methods (For example see Batty,
2010; Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Hillier, 1998; C. Hoch, 2009; J. Innes & Booher,
2010). Patsy Healey and Susan Barretts article Structure and Agency in Land and Property
Development Processes: Some Ideas for Research on the role of agency and structure in land
development processes was a valuable effort in opening the details of such discourse in planning
field; Although few other planning theorists (e.g. Flyvbjerg, 2002; Castells, 2011) have continued
this trend of study from other perspectives, the research on exploring the functions of planning
organizations and agencies have not been continued rigorously by planning theorists during the
last decade or so.
Based on the strong emphasis of planning theory on incorporating participatory
processes, there is a need to explore the organizational structure of planning agencies for
incorporating new strategies and methods into their current planning systems. We see detailed
and on-going research on organizational capacity of local governments in adopting new tasks, and
particularly novel technologies in the field of public policy (see Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2010;
Brown, Jr, & Brudney, 1998; Brudney, 1995; Cresswell & Sheikh, 2013; Ferguson, Green,
42


Vaswani, & Wu, 2013; Gil-Garcla & Pardo, 2005; R. Godschalk, 1996; Journal, 1996; Leslie &
King, 1982; Musso, Weare, & Hale, 2000). This section frames the organizational considerations
of planning institutions for adopting new online participatory methods through discussing the
importance of the topic and exploring the nuts and bolts of such incorporation.
Planning organization research is tied to the discussion of power and politics in planning
and explores the role of formal and informal organizations in shaping planning practice or
democratizing citizens participation and resource allocation (Forester, 1989). While it has
benefited from the ideas of organizational theorists (e.g. Bostrom & Heinen, 1977; DeSanctis &
Poole, 1994; Giddens, 1984; Keen & Morton, 1978), it has not been discussed deeply as part of
the participatory planning theory when discussing agencies roles in adoption of new
collaborative processes.
Organizational research on sustainability decision making processes is complex dues to
the diversity of internal and external factors that influence the organizations function, including
diversity of involved issues, working groups, or stakeholders. Focusing on environmental policy
making, policy organizations include the following dimensions: (a) the involved actors and their
coalitions; (b) the division of resources between these actors which leads to differences in power
and influence; (c) the rules of the game within the arrangement, either in terms of formal
procedures or as informal rules and routines of interaction; and (d) the policy discourses,
entailing the norms and values, the definitions of problems and approaches to solutions of the
actors involved (Leroy & Arts, 2006). For example, the following actors should collaborate
together for an effective policy making process: (a) governmental actors to use their police
power for protecting societies health through regulating environmental actions and controlling
land use and development, using various tools such as subdivision regulations and zoning; (b)
Private actors, including land owners, private markets, relators, and designers, who pursue profit-
motivated activities for land developments; (c) Civil society, including land owners,
43


environmental groups, non-governmental organizations, and citizen groups, who can influence
environmental activities by participating in decision making, preserving environmental resources,
and negotiating development proposals. (Randolph, 2004, 5).
The decision makers background and perception is also considered as part of the
organizational capacity and influence the organizations ability in decision making. For example,
different planners may have different ideas on the usefulness of the information that they have in
hand for the purpose of plan making. Cash et al. (2003, 8086) argues that for information to be
effective in policy making, it should be perceived by stakeholders as credible, salient and
legitimate; Credibility involves the scientific adequacy of the technical evidence and arguments.
Salience deals with the relevance of the assessment to the needs of decision makers. Legitimacy
reflects the perception that the production of information and technology has been respectful of
stakeholders divergent values and beliefs, unbiased in its conduct, and fair in its treatment of
opposing views and interests." Decision makers should also be equipped to mobilize knowledge
to action through effective communication, translation, and mediation, as well as collaboration
with boundary organizations, who play an intermediate role between scientist and decision-
makers to resolve the tensions (Cash et al., 2003, 8088-8090).
Based on the focus of this dissertation on the incorporation of new participatory methods
into current planning systems and organizations, it is important to explore how planners and
organizations facilitate this process pragmatically. To manage new procedures, planning
institutions may require making organizational and political changes, adopting new frameworks,
or having more flexible goals and procedures (Kapoor, 2001). For planning organizations to use
new technologies, designed by industries, they require to work with outside organizations. The
capacity of organizations in connecting with outside groups, formal or informal, influences their
function. Palfrey and Gasser (2012) critically argue interconnectivity between systems, including
planning organizations, in their book Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected
44


Systems. They argue that interoperability, at four level of technology, human, data, and
institutional, can create complex interconnected systems which can either lead to innovation and
creativity, or to locking the system. They suggest that to accommodate innovation, a system
should be flexible and changeable over time, while allowing its different sections work together
(53). Based on Interopability Theory, planning organizations require to deeply explore
opportunities and limitations of incorporating new participatory tools in their current planning
systems. For example, they should examine whether they require hiring new staff for analyzing
big data they have collected through using new technologies.
Flyvbjerg (2006) creates his organization research framework, Phronesis approach, based
on Aristotles' ideas and hermeneutics by emphasizing on the role of power in intuitional
collaboration and deliberation of values and diverse interests (372). Phronesis is context-
dependent and focuses on values, judgments, and social orders rather than technical or scientific
knowledge (370& 372). He argues that organization research should focus on values, and ask
"where are we going", "is it desirable", and "what should be done" (375); focus on little but deep,
detailed, and thick questions. (377); value power forces and imbalances; emphasize practice more
than discourse (376); benefit from studying case studies; go beyond looking at agency structures
and structuralism theory and explore both structures and actors (380). Interpretive and narrative
analysis is helpful in this process. Both Flyvbjergs Phronesis approach (2006) and Giddens
structuration theory (1984) are used to frame my dissertation questions, where I explore the
organizational capacity of planning institutions in incorporating new participatory methods into
their planning systems.
Similar to hermeneutic approaches, structuralism (see Giddens, 1984) has also been
strongly influential in shaping the organizational research, where the role of agencies and agents
is constructed through interrelated interactions and the roles and resources drawn upon in the
production and reproduction of social action are at the same time the means of system [or
45


structure] reproduction. (Giddens, 1984, 19). Taking a socio-technical approach, DeSanctis and
Poole (1994) introduce Adaptive Structuralism Theory (AST). Building their theory on
structuralism or institutional school (see Giddens, 1984), social technology school (see Bostrom
& Heinen, 1977), and decision making school (see Keen & Morton, 1978), they introduce their
theory to explore the influence of computation technology in organizational effectiveness. AST
studies both the technology and the structure that are reproduced through the use of technology
by humans (DeSanctis & Poole, 1994, 121). While AST discusses the adaptation of technology
structures (122) as the main factor for organizational change, it also discusses contextual factors
and characteristics of the technologies as important influential forces this process (122). AST
explores the interaction between the following four major sources of structure: technology,
environment, task, the group's interaction (144).
The institutional considerations of using technology for participatory governance requires
modifying organizations culture for the effective use of big data and web-based technologies in
their management systems (Brynjolfsson, 2012). The ideas of e-govemment and recent
discussions on smart cities, discuss the incorporation of information technology in governance
from different angles.
46


Fig. .2.1. Summary of AST propositions (DeSanctis & Poole, 1994, 132)
The review of the current literature, summarizes the organizational considerations of using
technology as the following issues:
Collaboration and interoperability: within and outside organizational collaborations
influence the successful incorporation of technology and new methods in current
institutional systems. Collaboration with outside organizations helps the incorporation of
new technologies (Brown et al., 1998; Dhillon & Backhouse, 1996; Estevez & Janowski,
2013; Ho, 2002; Landsbergen Jr. & Wolken Jr., 2001; Layne & Lee, 2001; J. G. Palfrey
& Gasser, 2012; A. Townsend, 2013).
Resources and funding: organizations require enough resources and funding for effective
use of technology (Brown et al., 1998; Edmiston, 2003).
Contextual and environmental factors:
47


Project type and environmental characteristics: there is a relationship between the
type of projects, the characteristics of the environment in which manages the
project, and the effectiveness of technologies (Felin & Zenger, 2014; Gil-Garcia
& Pardo, 2005). For example, in some cases new technologies may be more
useful in small scaled projects rather than big scale ones.
Organization type: the type and mission of organizations can influence the
effectiveness of technology incorporation (Gillett, Lehr, & Osorio, 2004; A.
Townsend, 2013).
Attitudes and skills of decision makers: perceptions, attitudes, and abilities of
decision makers and planners in using technology influences the usefulness of
technology (Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011; Brynjolfsson, 2012; DeSanctis &
Poole, 1994; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Ventura, 1995, Cash et.al., 2003;
Slotterback, 2011).
Attitudes and perceptions of the community: The attitudes and skills of citizens
towards using technology for participation can influence this process (Palen et
al., 2010; Stutzman, 2005). People are concerned about sharing their identity in
the online environment (Stutzman, 2005) or making their full profile information
visible (Harrison & Thomas, 2009), as they are worried about organizational and
social threats (Krasnova, Gunther, Spiekermann, & Koroleva, 2009, 39).
Laws and regulations can influence how organizations adopt technologies or
perceive their usefulness (Gil-Garcia & Pardo, 2005)
Equity and privacy considerations: various communities and stakeholders are going to be
positively or negatively affected in different ways by the use of technology (Desouza &
Jacob, 2014; Edmiston, 2003; Enticott, 2003; Rina Ghose, 2001; A. Townsend, 2013).
48


Several other studies with a focus on developing participatory processes, regardless of their
focus on the incorporation of new participatory technologies or methods, also inform the
organizational research. Good examples of such scholarly research are the studies of Gelders
et.al. (2010) on the development of six criteria for evaluation of a successful public participation
process (collaboration, resources, policy involvement, communication, context, and continuity of
process), or the study of Bryson et.al. (2013, 24) on designing guidelines for public participation
by emphasizing developing clear goals based on contextual factors, defining and analyzing
resources, and continuous evaluation of the process.
Incorporating new methods of engagement with the old organizations can be challenging
(Innes & Gruber, 2005). Planners must be ready to face and manage these changes (Evans-
Cowley, 2011; Hepworth, 1990) and leam how to engage the citizens in the forums that they are
actively using every day (Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010). This preparation and equipment
should happen at various scales, from national organizations, to state or local governments, and to
individual policy makers and planners. Still, various questions have remained unanswered; are
planning organizations required to get prepared to effectively incorporate online participatory
tools in their planning processes? If so, what type of changes they should make? Are these
changes mainly about modifying internal resources or augmenting external collaborations?
Traditionally, planning practice has not been actively collaborating with technology industries for
planning or decision making purposes; do they now need to make changes in their attitudes?
2.4. Discussion
This chapter discussed the following argument: plan making, with the current focus on
incorporating environmental concerns, is a complex process and requires collaboration of diverse
stakeholders at different scales. Participatory processes are challenging; the advent of new online
technologies may provide valuable opportunities for planning institutions to respond to these
challenges. Several factors, including the organizational capacity of these institutions can
49


influence the effectiveness of incorporating new participatory methods in plan making processes.
Further research is required to evaluate the usefulness of these methods and technologies for
planning organizations.
Online participatory tools can provide new and valuable opportunities to address
participatory planning objectives. While these technologies can respond to some of the planners
purposes of employing participatory processes, they raise several concerns for doing such. The
following table summarizes the purposes of the participatory planning practices and the
considerations of using online technologies for addressing those purposes.
Table 2.3: Considerations of Using Online Technologies for Addressing Participatory Planning
Purposes
Stakeholder engagement in plan "iking The capacity of online technology
Table 2.3. cont. Sources Considerations Sources
Incorporating full range of stakeholders (Booher & bines, 2002; Brody et al., 2003b; Corbum, 2003b; F. Fischer, 2000; Forester, 1989; Gray, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Ostrom, 2010a; Randolph, 2004; The capacity to attract more citizens and more diverse population to participate in the planning process (Caste 11s, 2013; Evans- Cowley & Flollander, 2010; Evans-Cowley, 2011; Goodspeed, 2014; Rhoads, 2010; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Tayebi, 2013b; Townsend, 2001; Foth, 2011)
Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989) Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio- demographic biases (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Afzalan, 2014; Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Choudrie et al., 2005; Dawes, 2008; Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Graham, 2002; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012)
Engaging key stakeholders and community leaders (Corbum, 2003b, 2005; Forester, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010b) The capacity to find active online stakeholders (Afzalan, Evans-Cowley, & Mirzazad, 2014; Evans-Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Tayebi, 2013a; Townsend, 2013; Shklovski, Palen, & Sutton, 2008)
50


Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio- demographic biases (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Dragicevic & Balram, 2004; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Gonza, 2013; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Odendaal, 2003)
Informing stakeholders (Brody et al., 2003b; Forester, 1989; Friedmann, 1987; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Stevenson, 2007) The capacity to disseminate information broadly, or correct misinformation (Manuel Castells, 2011; Jennifer Evans-Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Ghose, 2001; Hepworth, 1990; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Hughes & Palen, 2012; Shklovski et al., 2008)
Issues of misinforming citizens; and issues of digital divide (Dragicevic & Balram, 2004; Estevez & Janowski, 2013; Foth, 2006; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Gonza, 2013; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012)
Consensus building, conflict resolution, and reaching (Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Habermas, 1985b; P Healey, 1998; Hiller, 2005; Charles Hoch, The capacity of facilitating consensus building and dialogue (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Cona, 1997; Marker & Schmidt-Belz, 2000; Marshall & Novick, 1995; Soukup, 2006)
Table 2.3. cont. "007d;Innes & ooher, 1999, 2010b; Margerum, 2002; Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989; Susskind & Ozawa, 1983) Issues of creating noise and conflicts (Cornelius & Boos, 2003; Figueroa et al., 2002; Hiltz, 1994; Panteli & Sockalingam, 2005; Watson etal., 1988)
Engaging local knowledge and public interest (Corbum, 2005; F. Fischer, 2000; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Raymond et al., 2010) The capacity of crowdsourcing (Afzalan, 2014; Brabham, 2008; Evans-Cowley, 2012; Howe, 2006; Brabham, Sanchez, & Bartholomew, 2010; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Townsend, 2001; Williamson & Parolin, 2012)
Issues of digital divide in crowdsourcing (Brabham, 2009a; Evans- Cowley, 2011; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012)
Issues of data (Giordano, Fiersch,
51


usefulness (quality, credibility, and vagueness). Vurro, & Hirsch, 2010; Hall et al., 2013; Scheuer et.al., 2013; credibility (Bishr & Kuhn, 2007; Seeger, 2008; Flanagin& Metzger, 2008; Keskitalo, 2009)
Managing power imbalances (Castells, 2013; Manuel Castells, 2011; Fainstein, 2000; Flyvbjerg, 2001; Forester, 1989; Friedmann, 1987; Healey & Williams, 1993; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000) The capacity of power distribution (Castells, 2010,2013; Castells, 2011; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Tayebi, 2013b; Townsend, 2013)
Issues of augmenting power imbalances (Choudrie, Weerakkody, & Jones, 2005; Dawes, 2008; Graham, 2002; Castells, 2013; Tayebi, 2013b)
Designing new options and coming up with novel ideas (Batty, 2007; Booher & Innes, 2002; Brabham, 2009b; Evans-Cowley, 2011; C. Hoch, 2009; Judith Innes & Booher, 2010; Knight, 1995; Reed, 2008; van Kerkhoff & Lebel, 2006) The capacity of generating novel and unexpected ideas (Evans-Cowley, 2012; J. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012b; Zittrain, 2006)
Responding to specific rules Table 2.3. cont (Brody et al., 2003b; Bryson et al., 2013) Issues of privacy and security (Barton et al., 2005; D. Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Seeger, 2008; A. Townsend, 2001)
Mobilizing actions (Brabham, 2009b; Castells, 1983; Folke, Hahn, Olsson, & Norberg, 2005; Judith Innes & Booher, 2010) The capacity of social mobilization (D. C. Brabham, 2009b; Tayebi, 2013b; Wellman & Haase, 2001; White, Palen, & Anderson, 2012)
As demonstrated in the earlier table, although online technologies have the capacity to
facilitate various participatory planning purposes, several considerations should be taken into
account for their effective usefulness. Particularly, the use of online planning tools in
participatory processes may depend on ways in which they are incorporated in planning
organizations and whether and how these organizations are equipped for such incorporation. The
following table summarizes considerations of incorporating OPTs in planning organizations.
52


Table.2.4: Considerations of Incorporating OPTs in Planning Organizations
Considerations Sources
Organizational collaboration: hiside and outside collaborations Type of collaborations (e.g. for technical purposes or consultation ones) Type of involved organizations (industries, public agencies, private organizations) Relationship between organizations (Brown et al., 1998; Dhillon & Backhouse, 1996; Estevez & Janowski, 2013; Ho, 2002; Landsbergen Jr. & Wolken Jr., 2001; Layne & Lee, 2001; J. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012; Townsend, 2013)
Resources: Availability of staff Availability of funding or technology, and duration of their availability (Brown et al., 1998; Edmiston, 2003; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994)
Project type and environmental characteristics: Plan type (e.g. regional or local; policy or design) Region (e.g. entire city, downtown, or neighborhood) Project supporter (funding organization) (Felin & Zenger, 2014; Gil- Garcia & Pardo, 2005)
Laws and regulations: Citizen engagement mandates Regulations of using technology (e.g. Privacy regulations) Organization rules (Gil-Garcia & Pardo, 2005; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994)
Organization type: Type of planning organization (e.g. state government, local government, planning consultant) (Gillett, Lehr, & Osorio, 2004; Palfrey & Gasser, 2012; Townsend, 2013; bines and Booher, 2010)
~ ,, > and skills of planners: Table 2.4. cont. ^ tfards using new methods Perceptions of using new technologies Past experience of using technology (Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011; Brynjolfsson, 2012; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Ventura, 1995, Cash et.al., 2003; Slotterback, 2011)
Attitudes and perceptions of citizens and community groups Perception of democratic processes Attitude towards using technology for participatory purposes Technology literacy (Palen et al., 2010; Stutzman, 2005; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Krasnova et. al., 2009).
The following paragraphs summarize a framework for the incorporation of OPTs in plan making
In this framework, derived from AST framework (fig. 2.1), the plan making environment
includes plan capacity, organization capacity, and community capacity and describes die context
in which plan making process is occurring. Plan making environment consists of various factors,
53


including the scale of the plan, the attitude of the planning organization or the planner in using
new technologies, and the experience or attitude of the community or citizens who use the
technology to participate in the plan making process, hi addition, OPTs perfomiance and
capability in facilitating social interactions and sharing information can affect the plan making
process and the OPTs usability in plan making.
The plan making process explains how OPTs are incorporated in plan making based on their
purpose of use and through internal or external organizational collaborations. For example,
whether and how the planning organization have worked with an outside organization or agency
to introduce the tool to citizens or analyze the knowledge generated through the tool.
Fig. 2.2: General framework for the incorporation of OPTs in plan making
This general framework helps with exploring the incorporation and usability of OPTs from
various angles, including the communities point of view. The following table shows the
summary of considerations for OPTs incorporation in plan making.
54


Table. 2.5: Considerations for OPTs Incorporation in Plan Making
Considerations for OPTs incorporation in plan making
Organizational resources__________________________________
Project type and environmental characteristics
Laws and regulations______________________________________
Organization types
Perceptions, attitudes and skills of planners_____________
The capability of online technologies are summarized in the following table.
55


Table 2.5: The capability of online technologies
The capability of online technologies (opportunities and constraints)
Potential opportunities Attracting more citizens and more diverse population
Generating novel and unexpected ideas
Crowdsourcing knowledge
Finding and recruiting active online stakeholders
Disseminating infonnation broadly, or correct misinformation
Facilitating consensus building and dialogue
Potential challenges Issues of data usefulness (quality and credibility).
Issues of augmenting power imbalances
Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio-demographic biases
Issues of privacy and security
Misinforming citizens; and issues of digital divide
Creating noise, conflicts, or confusion
While the current scholarly studies have hypothesized and tested various capacities of
online planning technologies in responding to the needs and issues of engaging stakeholders in
plan making, the organizational incorporation of these technologies has not been deeply explored.
More specifically, while several scholars have raised concerns and questions regarding the
incorporation and usability of these technologies for planning organizations to support their
collaborative plan making processes; this usability is not well-understood yet. Planning
practitioners and scholars still do not know how online planning technologies are useful to their
collaborative plan making processes and what factors influence their usefulness.
The current literature on the use of technology for participatory planning is still at its
infancy. While several planning scholars have started exploring the topic since about fifteen years
ago, we see a more active role taken by scholars from other fields, including public policy,
computer or information science, and geography on researching the topic. While these studies
provide valuable insights for urban planners, they lack addressing specific requirements of the
field of urban and regional planning based on theoretical considerations and a particular focus on
plan making processes.
56


The current literature lacks deep exploration of the usefulness of online participatory
tools in planning and decision making. Further research is required to explore (a) the purposes for
which planners use OPTs in plan making processes; (b) whether and how planning organizations
have the capacity of incorporating new technologies, and OPTs in particular, in their current
planning processes; (c) what factors influence the use of OPTs in plan making process; (d) how
different contextual factors influence the value and planners satisfaction of OPTs in plan
making; and (e) how OPTs affect plan making processes.
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CHAPTER III
RESEARCH METHODS AND CASES
3.1. Overview
Chapter 3 discusses research methods and cases and introduces the context of plan making. Using
a mixed-method approach that relies on archival study, survey, descriptive analysis, statistical
modeling, semi-structured interviews, and structured content and discourse analysis, I frame and
test the following interrelated questions about the usability of Online Planning Tools (OPTs) in
plan-making process for planners: (1) How and why OPTs are used in plan-making? ; (2) To what
extent do planners find OPTs useful in plan making? ; (3) What factors do influence the value and
performance of OPTs and how; and (4) How do OPTs influence plan making processes and plan
policies? While the first and second questions are more descriptive, the third and fourth questions
are exploratory. I examine the usability of three different types of OPTs in more than sixty plans
in the U.S. and Canada with different foci and scales, including regional transportation plans,
comprehensive plans, sustainability plans, downtown revitalization plans, natural corridor plans,
neighborhood plans, and site plans.
In summary, the first question describes why and how OPTs are used in plan making; the second
question explores the level of overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs in plan making;
the third question explores what factors influence the overall value of OPTs and performance in
plan making and how; and the last question examines the role of OPTs in influencing plan
making processes and plan policies.
3.2. Research Design
The multilevel mixed-methods study design is employed. To explore the same questions at
different scales, different types of data that are collected on same issues (see Creswell & Clark,
58


2007) are collected. Web-based surveys and phone interviews are used for data collection on
planners perceptions. Archival data on plan-making cases provided information about planning
context and characteristics of proposals. Data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative
techniques.
The web-based survey addressed primarily the first three questions, with additional open ended
questions addressing the forth question. The forth question is explored further in depth in the
telephone interviews. Data obtained by the survey were analyzed using statistical methods.
Interviews and open ended questions were analyzed using structured content analysis and
interpretive discourse analysis methods.
Cases included in the study consist of planning organizations that have used OPTs. The web-
based surveys are sent to stakeholders who have used two different types of online participatory
tools for plan making. Those who responded to the survey and expressed their interest in
participating in an interview were selected for in-depth phone interviews. A small number of
cases, which did not participated in the survey, also participated in the interview. All the
interviews are conducted after the survey.
Mixed methods case studies provide the opportunity for researchers to evaluate cases in depth and
within their specific context, when the nature of phenomena is not clear (Yin, 2013, 13). Yin
(2013) clarifies that case studies are particularly useful when why and how questions are
used to explore questions where researcher does not have a thorough control over cases or the
situation which influence them. Due to the focus of this study on whether and how planners
consider the usefulness of new participatory tools in plan making, exploratory case study design
is appropriate. Planners not only have different intentions for the use of new participatory
methods, but also perceive these intensions or their meanings in various ways. For example,
different planners may have different understanding of the goals of consensus building as part
59


of participatory planning processes. Exploring various cases, using mixed methods approach,
helps understand phenomena in different contexts. While this study does not examine each
individual case based on detailed contextual factors that shaped and influence their existence
(Flyvbjerg, 2001), it employs interpretive methods to examine the meaning behind actions that
influence behavior and construct reality (Corbin & Strauss, 2014; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991;
Starks & Trinidad, 2007; Trauth & Jessup, 2000).
3.3. Dissertations Conceptual Diagram
The dissertation conceptual diagram shows the relationship among various components that
influence the overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs in plan making and the plan
making process itself. The dissertation first explores the relationships among the components
(variables) that are related to the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making. It then
examines how the OPTs affect plan making processes. The diagram is built based on the general
framework, which was explained in the earlier chapter, by translating the framework components
based on the goals and considerations of the current dissertation. It shows the relationships among
various components of plan making environment and lays out a path for exploring factors that
influence the overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs in plan making.
Based on the diagram, the planning context can influence the OPTs performance and usefulness.
The performance of the OPTs can also influence the overall value and planners satisfaction of
OPTs and ultimately the plan making process and plan policies. See Fig. 3.1.
60


Planning process and environment
OPTs' incorporation in plan making
Plan making environment OPT management:
Plan and organization type: o OPT introduction
o Plan characteristics o Making organizational changes
o Organization o Facilitating online engagement
characteristics Data analysis process:
Regulatory environment o Data analysis process, use. and
incorporation
IUVAJI OUIUUUU
V______________________________V V______________________________________J
\
OPTs performances
OPTs performances in
engagement and knowledge
generation:
Facilitating participation
Building consensus
Generating knowledge
o Generating unexpected
knowledge
o Generating public
interest

OPTs' performances in plan
approval:
Affecting plan approval
/ \
Overall value
and planners'
satisfaction of
OPTs
V J
( \
Plan making processes and
plan policies
\______________________________/
Fig. 3.1. The dissertations conceptual diagram
The terms planning process and environment and OPTs performance are used as abstract
terms and should be interpreted within the context of this study. The planning process and
environment includes plan making environment and OPTs incorporation in plan making.
OPTs perfonnance also includes the OPTs performance in engagement and knowledge
generation and in project approval. The sub variables included in each one of these categories
or domains are explained in the following paragraphs.
61


3.3.1. Planning Process and Environment
Planning context is used as a general construct in this research. It describes the context in which
plan making is happening and OPTs are used. Planning process and environment encompasses
(a) plan making environment, and (b) OPTs incorporation in plan making.
3.3.1.1. Plan making environment
Considering technology as a situated phenomenon in organization research (Flyvbjerg, 2003), the
technology influence is interpreted in relationship with other factors that explain the plan making
environment. The plan making environment, which is considered as the context in which OPTs
are incorporated in plan making process, includes the capacities of factors that influence the
technology use, but not the technology itself. It includes the capacities and characteristics of plans
(e.g. type and scale of plans), organizations (e.g. type of organizations or their experience with
the use of OPTs), and the regulatory environment (e.g. the regulations that influence the
incorporation of knowledge generated thorough OPT use).
Table. 3.1: Variables the Explain the Plan Making Environment
Variable category Sub variable Definition/ measure
Plan characteristics Location The location of the plan
Scale The scale of the plan
% Focus The focus of the plan
B Organization Type- Whether the organization that is
N 1 SP characteristics organization type involved in using the OPT for plan making public, private, or is a NGO.
Experience- Staff What is the role of the staffs who are
o role involved in using the OPT for plan making?
M Experience- Staff What is the staff s experience and
Ph experience expertise with the use of OPTs?
Regulatory environment Legal limitation Whether the organization deals with legal limitations in order to use the technology or the generated data.
62


3.3.1.2 OPTs incorporation in plan making
OPT incorporation process discusses the incorporation of OPTs and the generated data in plan
making process, from introducing OPT, to managing OPTs, and to analyzing data generated
through the use of OPTs.
Table. 3.2: Variables that explain the OPTs Incorporation in Plan Making
Variable category Sub variable Definition/ measure
OPTs incorporat ion process OPT manage ment OPT introduction How the tool is introduced to people.
OPT incorporation (use of other participatory methods) Whether other types of participatory methods are used in the plan making process.
OPT facilitation Whether someone from the organization is assigned to facilitate or manage the online interactions.
Making organizational changes Whether and what types of changes the organization have made to be able to use the OPT.
Data analysis and manage ment Data analysis process and method Who analyzed the collected data? How is the collected data analyzed?
Background information collection Whether and how the organization collected data about the online participants background.
Data use Whether the organization analyzed the data generated through the OPT.
Data incorporation Whether the online inputs generated from the tool are incorporated in the plan making process.
3.3.2. OPTs Performance
OPTs performance is evaluated based on their perfonnance in generating information for
planning organizations and facilitating social interaction. The variables that are used in this study
to evaluate the OPTs' performance are listed in the following table.
63


Table 3.3: Variables that Explain OPTs Performance
Variable category Sub variables Definition/ measure
Participation facilitation performance Perfonnance in increasing number of participants Plow effective the OPT is in increasing the number of people who participated in the plan making process.
Increasing diversity of participants Plow effective the OPT is in attracting participants.
Performance in helping hear from those that would not attend face to face meetings How effective the OPT is in attracting those that do not attend face to face meeting.
Performance in attracting participants How effective the OPT is in attracting new population.
Performance in helping with finding stakeholders for further contacts How effective is the OPT in finding new stakeholders to help with the plan.
Performance in informing citizens How effective the OPT is in informing citizens about the plan goals and issues.
Consensus building performance Perfonnance in building consensus How effective the OPT is in building consensus among stakeholders about the plan issues.
Performance in minimizing possible conflicts How effective the OPT is in minimizing possible conflicts among shareholders about the plan issues.
Knowledge generation performance Performance in generating novel ideas How effective the OPT is in generating new ideas.
Performance in generating usable local knowledge How effective the OPT is in generating text- based information How effective the OPT is in generating spatial knowledge.
Performance in generating public interest How effective the OPT is in generating knowledge that represents the public interest.
The OPTs performance in plan approval variable examines whether the OPTs influence the
condition of the plans approval. There is no sub-variable for plan approval performance
variable.
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3.3.3. Overall Value and Planners Satisfaction of OPTs
In this dissertation, the value and planners satisfaction of OPTs is evaluated based on how
planners find peoples online contributions and comments valuable for their plan making and the
extent to which they are satisfied with using the tools.
Table 3.4: Variables that explain overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs
Variable Definition/ measure
Value of online contributions How the planners rate the value of the participants online contributions.
Overall satisfaction Overall, how planners are satisfied with using the tool in their plan or project?
3.3.4. Plan Making Process and Plan Policies
This category does not include particular variables as it is evaluated and measured qualitatively
through open ended interview questions. It examines how various performances of OPTs
influence plan making process and plan policies.
3.4. Tool and Case Selection
This section explains the selection of tools and cases. Tools are related to the three different OPTs
that are selected for this study. Cases are related to the organizations that participated in the study.
3.4.1. Tool Selection
The cases are organizations that have used one of the three following online participatory tools:
MindMixer, Place Speak, and Shareabouts. These tools have been used by public or private
planning organizations for various planning purposes. The following criteria are used to select
these three tools: (a) popularity among planning organizations; (b) diversity of planning related
projects that have been addressed by using the tools; and (c) diversity of tools technological
capacity. While currently MindMixer is the most common tool used by planning organizations,
65


particularly local governments, in plan making, the other two tools are also popular among
planning organizations. These three tools are all managed by planning organizations and are
different from citizen generated social media sites (e.g. online neighborhood forums) which are
primarily controlled or managed by citizens or informal organizations. Planning organizations
have used these tools for variety of plans at different scales, including regional transportation
plans, comprehensive plans, sustainability plans, or neighborhood plans. All three tools allow
some sort of text based and geo-spatial interaction. While MindMixer and PlaceSpeak primarily
facilitate text-based interaction and commenting system, Shareabouts is mainly used to facilitate
spatial interaction. In the following paragraphs I first introduce each one of the tools and then the
plans that comprise the case studies.
MindMixer is an online platform, which allows planning organizations to introduce their projects
and provides opportunities for citizens to share and discuss their ideas. It allows planners to create
various posts or maps on the site and ask for citizens comments, or create and share online
surveys. To be able to participate, people need to log in by providing their email address, range of
age, and zip codes. MindMixer allows people to share their ideas through providing text-based
comments or locating points on a map to address particular questions defined by the site admin.
While MindMixer is based in the U.S. and primarily serves projects or plans in the U.S.,
international organizations use the tool as well.
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Fast forward to 2025, What is your vision for
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f Ideas 89 ^Comments 85
Fig. 3.2. MindMixer interface1
Place Speak is a platfonn similar to MindMixer which allows planning organizations to introduce
their projects and allow people to share their ideas through creating posts or making comments on
others posts. People can log in by providing address of their home or the place they reside at.
This requirement is made to help planners understand where the online participants are located,
and control peoples participation based on their location (Informal conversation with Colleen
Hardwick, the CEO of PlaceSpeak, Sep.04, 2013). However, PlaceSpeak does not require people
to provide their personal information including age range, zip code, or gender, hi addition, at the
time of this study, it did not allow planners to create maps on the site and ask for peoples
comments. However, it allows planners to create posts or online surveys on the site. The site
users can see where the online participants are located at.
1 Retrieved from http://nlanningforraleigh.mindmixer.com/ (29/09/2014)
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Fig. 3.3. Place Speak interface1
Sliareabouts is an online platform which has been used by public and private planning
organizations for various purposes, including bikeshare planning, walkability analysis, and urban
design projects. The tool allows citizens to share and discuss their ideas by locating points on a
map and providing text-based information supporting their idea. In addition, other participants
can make comments on each others comments. Shareabouts is open source and used in different
ways by different organizations. To allow people to share their ideas, organizations or site
administrators can either ask people to log in or allow them to participate without logging in.
Therefore, in some projects people may be allowed to share or discuss ideas without being
required to log in.
Sign in to take the
survey
Transportation Master Plan
By City of Fort St. John I
Topic filed under Official Community Plan consultation Infrastructure Fort St John Transportation

Overview Discussions Resources Events
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Challenges How can we improve?
By Topic Administrator | Jan. 16,2015,02:58 PM | 27 views | 1 posts
With respect to the way you currently move around the city right
now what is really not working well for you? What challenges do
you see in the future?
Follow this Discussion
Read 1 Comments >
1 Retrieved from https://www.nlacesneak,com/tonic/1412-transnortation-master-nlan/#!/overview (02/04/
2015)
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3.4.2. Case Selection
The case selection process includes two steps: (a) finding the organizations that have used the
tools for some purpose; and (b) selecting the organizations (cases) that have used the tools for
plan making purposes. The cases in step (b) are selected from the pool of cases that are identified
in step (a).
The organizations are selected through online archival research as well as reaching out to the
companies that have created the tools. The case selection and search process has had four phases;
in phase 1, the author checked the websites of the three companies, MindMixer, Shareabouts, and
PlaceSpeak to find the names of the organizations or plans which have used their products. In
phase 2, the author used a comprehensive planning application bank, Code for America
Commons, to find the organizations or plans that have used any of the three selected tools for this
study. Acknowledging that Code for America Commons may not be updated or complete, in
phase 3, the author reached out to each one of the companies that have created the tools and asked
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them if they can provide the list of their customers. Two of the companies responded to the
researchers request and one of them did not do so. To find the remaining cases, in Phase 4, the
author did a comprehensive online exploration using the name of each tool as the keyword. Since
the websites that were created for each plan were open to public to at least see the first page, the
author was able to find the remaining cases through online search. Based on these four phases, the
author found the majority of the plans or projects that have used one of the selected tools for
planning purposes. Forty cases from MindMixer, Eighty cases from PlaceSpeak, and four cases
from Shareabouts participated in the study.
The following criteria is used to select the cases for the study: (a) focusing on planning-
related projects that cover any of the following areas land use planning, environmental planning,
transportation planning, housing, or economic or community development; (b) addressing
different scales, from local or small scale projects to regional projects; (c) having passed at least
the first stage of plan making; and (d) timeframe project of at least 4 months. Surveys were sent
to the cases that have used MindMixer or PlaceSpeak, but not the cases that have used
Shareabouts due the different nature of the tool in terms of how it allows peoples participation.
Interviews were conducted to those survey participants who have expressed their interest in
participating in the interview, and all the cases which have used Shareabouts. Using these criteria,
the author selected 84 plans that have used MindMixer, 31 plans that have used PlaceSpeak, and
4 plans that have used Shareabouts. One plan from one organization is selected. Web-based
surveys were sent out to planners, community engagement specialists, or project directors. The
email addresses of these people are found through online search or asking their colleagues whose
emails were found online.
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Case selection
Archival search
Cases
(60+ planning agencies:
one plan for each)
Population
Fig. 3.5. Data collection methods
3.5. Research Methodology
This section discusses the research methodology components, including (a) the survey
instrument; and (b) the interview protocol.
3.5.1. The Survey Instrument
A web-based survey is designed to collect the variables related to the organizational capacity of
planning institutions, the methods of incorporation of the tools in plan making, and the planners
satisfaction of the tools usefulness. The surveys are sent out to the following stakeholders
involved in plan making process: planners, project directors, and community engagement
specialists. These three positions overlapped in several cases. The reason for choosing these three
positions was that in different projects different types of people were involved in employing the
tool for plan making. Based on the informal interactions that the researcher had with
organizations which have used these technologies, and the researchers online search these three
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groups were found more appropriate targets to be able to answer the survey questions. Different
methods are used for sending out the survey link. For the planners who have used Placespeak, the
company agreed to send out the survey link. For the MindMixer cases, the researcher searched
online sources to find the email addresses of the planners, community engagement specialists, or
project directors1. In some particular cases, where the email addresses were not available online,
the researcher have asked other people in the organization to share the survey link with their
colleague, or share the email of their colleague with the researcher.
Qualtrics, a survey platform, is used to design and distribute the web surveys. Dillman's
(2011) instructions were the premier source for the survey design, with a particular focus on
question wording, questions order, and page layout in web-based surveys. To test the survey
questions and design, a pre-test survey is lunched. 14 people including urban planners at different
organizations, and faculty members and students at the University of Colorado filled out the pre-
test survey and provided comments for improvements.
The following paragraphs discuss how the variables that are discussed in the research
conceptual diagram are measured through survey questions. The following variables are related to
planning contexts and OPTs performances.
3.5.1.1. Plan making environment
The context of planning making environment is explored by asking questions related to the
specific plan and planning organization. These questions are informed by the conceptual diagram
that was discussed earlier in this chapter. Exploring these variables helped with answering
questions of how and why the OPTs are used and allowed the researcher to explore organizational
capacity of planning organizations in incorporating or using OPTs. The variables include both
categorical and nominal variables.
1 The number of cases equals to the population.
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Table 3.5: Survey Questions to Measure Variables of Planning making environment
Variable category Survey question Scale/ Choice
Plan Please let us know where this State/ Province []
characteristics project is located. City []
NA Local scale
(based on the archival research) City scale Regional scale
For addressing which planning Land use
concerns did you use this tool? Environment; climate adaptation; hazard mitigation Transportation (e.g. bike, traffic) Infrastructure (e.g. energy, water) Community development Economic development Housing; zoning Parks and recreation Historic preservation Urban design Education
Organization Which of the following best Local government/ public agency
characteristics describe your organization? Private firm Non-profit/ NGO/ Community association Academic institution Other[]
Please select your role in the Senior planner or designer
project. Junior planner or designer Project manager, director, or coordinator Public engagement consultant/ community developer/ facilitator Data analyst Intern Other [1
In how many different projects you 1
have ever used any type of online 2=3
participatory tools? (please include 4-5
this project/ plan) 6 or more
Table 3 5 oont yu have any legal limitations No
Vll V XX VXXXXXVXXl * yarding incorporating the information that you collected through this tool in your plan?1 Yes /1 do not know
1 Some of the questions, including this one, are shortened here. You can see the complete question in
Appendix A.
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3.5.1.2. OPTs performance
The following variables are developed based on the discussion on the usability of new
technologies in participatory processes and theories of planning support systems in chapter 2.
Variables related to tool capacity, explore ways in which planners report the capacity of OPTs for
various purposes, including social interaction and information sharing.
Table 3.6: Survey Questions to Measure Variables of OPTs Performance
Variable category Survey question Scale
Information generation performance How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for the following purposes in your plan? (hicreasing number of participants; Increasing diversity of participants; Hearing from those that would not attend face to face meetings; Collecting novel ideas; Collecting geo-tagged information Attracting participants1) Very effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective Not used for this purpose I do not know
Have any of the online contributions been unexpected, but useful to this plan? Yes / Maybe No
How do you rate the usefulness of location- based (geo-tagged) online contributions to your project? Very useful Little useful Somewhat useful Not useful I do not know
Approximately how many participants have used this tool for this plan? 300 or more 100-300 50-100 Less than 50 I do not know
Social interaction performance How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for the following purposes in your plan? (Finding stakeholders for further contacts; Building consensus; Minimizing possible conflicts; Increasing representativeness; Informing citizens1 2) Very effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective Not used for this purpose I do not know
1 Different questions are asked for each variable.
2 Different questions are asked for each variable.
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Table 3.6. cont.
To what extent do you think the online inputs represented the community as a whole? Represented views of the whole or most of the community Represented views of some interests only Represented only selected views I do not know
Affecting Did the incorporation of peoples online Yes
project inputs directly or indirectly affected the Probably yes
approval condition of the project approval? Probably no
performance No
3.5.1.3. OPTs incorporation in plan making
Table 3.7: Survey Questions to Measure Variables of OPTs incorporation in plan making
variables
Variable category Survey question Scale/ Choice
OPTs incorporation in plan making How did you introduce this tool to the community? Announcement on website Face to face meeting Printed document Local gathering Email announcement I do not know Other [1
What other participatory methods/ tools are used for this plan? Paper/ mail in survey Public meeting Public workshop/ focus group Door to door interview Online survey Other online participatory tools Other[1
Did you incorporate peoples online contributions into your project review? Yes No I do not know
Has anyone from your organization been assigned to facilitate peoples online participation? Yes No I do not know
Have your organization made any of the following changes to best use this tool or other online participatory tools? Fostering internal collaboration between departments or groups Equipping a department or a group Creating a new department or a
75


Table 3.7. cont.
group Collaborating with an outside organization or a group Other []
Who analyzed the collected data? Our organization Another organization or company Both our organization and an outside company I do not know
Have your organization collected Yes
infonnation about any basic No
characteristics of the online participants?1 I do not know
If applicable, how did your organization Browsed data, without using
analyze the collected data? specific analysis methods Used methods of content or sentiment analysis Used spatial analysis Used the results the tool has provided for us I do not know Other [1
3.5.1.4. OPT use purpose
Table 3.8: Survey Questions to define Variables of OPT Use Purpose
Variable category Survey question Scale/ Choice
OPT use purpose Have you used the tool for the following purposes in your plan1 2? (Finding stakeholders for further contacts; Building consensus; Minimizing possible conflicts; Increasing representativeness; Informing citizens) Yes No I do not know
1 This question is not used in the analysis results since after conducting the interviews the researcher
realized that the respondents have interpreted the question in different ways.
2 The survey asked the respondents to rate the effectiveness of the tools regarding each purpose (e.g.
informing citizens) and allowed the respondents to mention that they have not used the tool for that
purpose. Here, I have changed the question and the scales.
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The overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs: The overall value and planners
satisfaction of OPTs is explored through self reported questions to examine how planners have
found the OPTs useful. The planners satisfaction with OPTs in plan making is explored by
asking two different questions.
Table 3.9: Survey Questions to define the variable of overall value and planners satisfaction of
Variable name Question Scale/ Choice
overall value and planners satisfaction of OPTs Please rate the value of citizens online contributions for incorporation in this project. Very valuable Somewhat valuable Somewhat Not valuable Not valuable at all I do not know
Overall, to what extent are you satisfied or dissatisfied with using this tool in your plan or project? Vary satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied
OPTs in plan making for planners
3.5.2. Interview Protocol
The purpose of the in-depth semi-structured phone interview was (a) to clarify some of the survey
responses, and to get responses to new questions that were primarily focused on the effect of
OPTs on plan making processes and plan policies. While the interviews helped with asking new
types of questions, they also provided opportunities for the researcher to clarify meanings and
intentions (Creswell & Clark, 2007). Planners have different perceptions about the meanings of
various terms that are commonly used in the planning field, for example, consensus building.
The in-depth interviews helped the researcher clarify differences among planners regarding
meanings they attached to such concepts.
The semi-structured interview design allowed the researcher to ask a series of similar questions to
all the interviewees while being able to add or change some according to each interviewees
particular survey response. It allowed the researcher to collect comparable information that also
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responds to specific contextual factors which influences how a phenomenon or attitude is shaped
in a particular way (Patton, 2001). The following process is used to design the interview
questions: (a) New questions are designed for deeper exploration of the specific context of each
plan; organization capacity of planning organizations, and tool usefulness; (b) Questions are
prioritized based on behavioral (e.g. the respondents position) and non-behavioral factors
(survey responses). The results of the survey analysis, helped with defining new interview
questions.
To help the interviewees get prepared for the interview, where possible, the interview package
was shared with them before the interview session. This package included the interview questions
and the interviewees responses to the survey questions. The following table shows the generic
questions that were asked from the interviewees. The questions about Usefulness of OPT in plan
making were asked all the interviewees. The questions about Plan making environment and
OPT for participatory plan making were asked selected interviewees depending on whether
they have had enough time to go over these questions. The main focus of the interviews were to
explore whether and how the OPTs influenced the plan making processes.
Table 3.10: The main interview questions
Category Interview questions
The effect of OPTs on plan making and participation processes, and plan policies. What do you think about the collected information: What do you think about credibility and quality of the generated information? Did you find the infonnation too detailed/ broad, or organized/ fragmented to be used? What do you think about sincerity of the online contributions? Do you consider is a very high? What do you think about anonymity or not anonymity of the comments?
Did this information make a major or minor change in any part of your planning process?
Which of the policies or aspects of the plan were most affected by the online comments? How did the comments influence the policies and projects that were adopted? Or, if or how they have affected the plan evolution? Please give specific examples.
Did the online comments have an effect on how you or other staffs from the planning team think about the plan? If so, how?
Did you notice major differences between the comments you got through
78


Table 3.10 cont. [the tool name] with the ones that you got in your public meetings?
Why you did [or did not] find the geo-tagged online contributions or the mapping features of the tool useful in your plan making?
Have any specific information/ comment/ idea attracted your attention or raised your questions? Please provide specific examples.
Have you noticed the [name of the tool] members create social relationships with each other? Or, have you noticed people asking their current friends to join the online group and participate in discussion? If yes, have you seen them doing any group activity against or in favor of your plan?
What do you mean by consensus building? How the tool helped with building consensus? [the question is asked from those who mentioned that the tool helped with consensus building in their surveys]
Did you find the tool useful to decide about location of specific land use or urban infrastructure?
What was the main thing that made this tool useful in your plan making process?
Planning environment Why did your organization decide to use an online tool? Why [the name of the tool]?
How were you involved in using [the name of the tool]?
What was the role of the [the name of the tool] staff?
What types of questions or problems generated more valuable responses or attracted more number of interactions?
Did you have any specific limitation in using [the tool name]? (e.g. limitations of the tool capabilities, or incorporation of the tool in planning process). How did you facilitate peoples online participation?1
How did you incorporate [the name of the tool] with your other participatory processes? Did you use any other online tool or social media platform for this plan? Did you introduce [the name of the tool] through your other social media sites?
Have you used [the tool name] in combination with face to face meetings? Could you provide Examples?
Did you see overlaps between people who participate in the discussion online and offline?
Have you evaluated the use of [the tool name] in your planning process?
On average, how many people participated in each of your public meetings?
How did you analyze the data? For example, did you do the analysis after each stage of the plan? Were you Looking at the comments on or not on a regular basis? Was a specific person or group assign to do the analysis?
Have you ever referred to [the tool name] and the collected information in any formal meeting?
How did you incorporate the collected data in your plan? (1)
Other follow up [The follow up questions are asked based on the interviewees responses
1 This question is asked only from those survey respondents who have mentioned that they have facilitated
peoples online interactions.
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Table 3.10 cont.
A UVJ11V11J
to the survey and vary for different interviewees. These questions mainly
address the capacities of planning organizations or tools, and the reasons
behind the interviewees responses to the survey questions]
3.6. Analysis Methods
Mixed methods analysis is used to analysis the survey and interview results at different stages.
Descriptive statistical analysis is used to explore why and how OPTs are used and the extent to
which they are useful. Regression, correlation, and factor analysis methods are used to analyze
the third question of whether and how various variables influence, or are related to, the overall
value and performance of OPTs. Interpretive and discourse analysis methods are used to explore
ways in which OPTs can affect plan making processes and plan policies. SPSS software is used
for the statistical analysis.
All the phone interviews transcribed and used for interpretive discourse analysis and structured
content analysis. Interpretive discourse analysis (see Creswell, 2012; Klein & Myers, 1999;
Mingers, 2001; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Trauth & Jessup, 2000) and structured content
analysis are used to analyze the interviews and interpret planners perceptions and attitudes. The
structured content analysis is done through coding individual terms or contents (See Brody, 2003;
Dooling, Simon, & Yocom, 2006; Gould & Golob, 1998; Neuendorf, 2001; Norton, 2008; Ryan
& Bernard, 2003; Woolley, Limperos, & Oliver, 2010). The coding process is done in Microsoft
Excel software by going through the participants responses manually and assigning each code to
a particular category or theme.
The following table shows which methods are used to explore the research questions. In addition,
web-based archival research is used to explore the planning process and environment.
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Table 3.11: Analysis methods
Queries Survey Interview Archival research
Descriptive analysis Correlation, regression, and factor analysis Interpretive discourse analysis & Structured content analysis Qualitative review
Question 1 X X
Question 2 X X X
Question 3 X X X
Question 4 X X X
The details of each analysis method is explained in the following chapters, where the research
questions are explored.
3.7. Introduction to the Cases and Plan Making Environment
This section introduces the cases that participated in this study and provide the context of the plan
making environment. The results of this section are mainly based on the analysis of the survey
responses. Online archival study and plan document review are employed to explore the plan
types.
3.7.1. Case Introduction
The following table shows the selected cases that have used MindMixer and participated in the
survey. The last column also shows if each case has participated in the interview.
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Table 3.12: The MindMixer cases1.
Organization name Location Plan name2 Plan Type Interview participation
Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Open Space, Trails, Events and Cultural Arts Parks and open spaces plan V
City and County of San Francisco San Francisco, California Improve SF Different projects/ plans X
City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario City of Burlington Transportation Master Plan (update) Transpiration master plan update V
City of Cheyenne Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne West Edge Sustainability plan V
City of Hayward Hayward, California Hayward 2040 General plan X
City of Houston Houston, Texas Urban Houston Framework Sustainability plan V
City of Sacramento Sacramento, California Citywide project- all topics Various topics V
City of Tampa Tampa, Florida In vision Tampa Comprehensive plan V
City of Wheaton Wheaton, Illinois Downtown Wheaton Strategic Plan and Streetscape Plan Strategic and streetscape plan V
City of Boulder Boulder, Colorado Boulder energy future Sustainability plan X
City of Boulder Boulder, Colorado Boulder civic area Area plan X
City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario Driveway and on street parking study Transportation plan V
City of Flint Flint, Michigan Imagine Flint master plan website Master plan X
City of Folsom Folsom, California City of Folsom General Plan Update Comprehensive plan V
City of Littleton Littleton, Colorado Inspire Littleton Comprehensive Plan V
1 The organization name, location, and plan name are extracted from the survey results. The plan types are
identified though online archival research and plan documents review. All the organizations that are listed
in this table have participated in the survey. The ones that participated in the interview are shown with a
check mark.
2 In the analysis process, each plan is assigned a particular number. However, the numbers are not
mentioned here to respect the anonymity of the participants. Some of the participants quotes regarding
each plan are listed in the next paragraphs and chapters and are identifies with their associated number.
82


Table 3.12 cont.
City of Los Angeles Los Angeles, California Mobility element Transportation plan X
City of Mill Valley Planning and Building Department Mill Valley, California Update of the City of Mill Valley General Plan General plan X
City of New Heaven Connecticut, New Haven Hill to Downtown Downtown area plan X
City of Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona PlanPHX General plan update V
Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia CA Strategic Plan- Community Input Strategic plan X
Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia Comprehensive Communication Plan strategy Comprehensive communication plan X
Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia Inspire Columbia Different projects/ plans X
Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. Fort worth, Texas Plan 2023 Strategic plan V
City of Golden Golden, Colorado Golden Vision 2030 General plan V
GreenPlay, LLC Lafayette, Colorado Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan V
Grove Consulting (Part of Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Team) Fairfax City, Virginia Strategic Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Trails, Open Space Parks and open spaces plan X
Lee County Bo CC Fort Myers, Florida CompleteLee: sustainability plan Sustainability Plan X
Lee County- Division of Planning Fort Myers, Florida New Horizon 2035: Lee Plan Update Comprehensive Plan V
Longview Chamber of Commerce Longview, Texas Longview Comprehensive Plan Comprehensive plan X
Mid-America Regional Council Kansas, Missouri Creating Sustainable Places Sustainability plan X
Missouri Department of Transportation Louisiana, Missouri Champ Clark Bridge Transportation Plan X
Park City Municipal Park City, Utah General Plan General Plan V
Parsons Brinckerhoff Lakeland, Florida Polk rail Transportation Plan V
Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Raleigh. North Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Parks and Recreation Plan V
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Cultural Resources Department Carolina Cultural Resources System Plan
Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning Rockford, Illinois Rockford Region Vital Signs Project Sustainability Plan X
The Corporation of the City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario Official Plan Review Commercial Strategy Study Strategic plan V
Town of Lexington Lexington, Massachusett s LexEngage Comprehensive plan V
Town of Mountain Village, CO. Town of Mountain Village, Colorado Mountain Village iForum Area plan V
The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio Comprehensive Transportation and Parking Plan Transportation plan V
Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization Pinellas County, Florida 2040 Pinellas Transportation Plan Transportation plan X
The following table shows the PlaceSpeak Cases.
Table 3.13: The PlaceSpaek cases1.
Organization Name Location Plan name Plan Type Interview Participation
City of Chilliwack Chilliwack, British Columbia Chilliwack Official Community Plan Review Community development plan V
Maple Bay Community Association Duncan, British Columbia Maple Bay plan Area plan V
Vancouver and Surrey School Districts Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia VSB Our Future and Surrey Schools Social Media Policy Community development plan X
Summit Environmental Consultants Inc. Slave Lake, Alberta Slave Lake Infrastructure Project Sustainability plan
1 The organization name, location, and plan name are extracted from the survey results. The plan types are
identified though online archival research and plan documents review. All the organizations that are listed
in this table have participated in the survey. The ones that participated in the interview are shown with a
check mark.
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Table 3.13 cont.
DIALOG Delta, British Columbia North Delta Area Plan Area plan V
Dillon Consulting Limited Meaford, Ontario Meaford Waterfront Strategy and Master Plan Natural corridor plan V
City of Duncan Duncan, British Columbia University Village Local Area Plan Area plan X
Kirk & Co. Consulting Ltd. Metro Vancouver, British Columbia Pattullo Bridge Review Regional transportation plan V
Township of Langley Langley, British Columbia Aldergrove Community Centre Planning Community development plan V
Stantec Consulting Ltd. Calgary, Alberta Stanley Park Redevelopment Initiative Park redevelopment plan X
District of Kent Kent, British Columbia District of Kent 2040 OCP Review/Update Area plan X
Stantec Cumberland, British Columbia Cumberland OCP Review and Revision Community plan X
Stantec North Cowichan, British Columbia University Village Local Area Plan Area plan X
CH2M HILL Parksville, British Columbia Englishman River Natural corridor plan V
Colliers International University Endowment Lands, British Columbia Block F rezoning Vancouver Canada Area plan V
City of Parksville Parksville, British Columbia Englishman River Water Service Natural corridor plan X
University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia Housing Justice Survey Housing plan V
City of Fort St. John Fort St. John, British Columbia Let's Talk Site C X
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The following table lists the Shareabouts cases.
Table 3.14: The Shareabouts cases
Organization name Location Plan name Plan type Interview participation
City of Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia Bike-share plan- feasibility study Bike-share plan- feasibility study
City of Chicago Chicago, Illinois Chicago DOT Bike-share plan Bike-share plan S
City of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Bike- share plan Bike-share plan S
City of Portland Portland, Oregon Portland Bike- share plan Bike-share plan s
3.7.2. Plan Making Environment
The plan making environment is explored though examining the type of organizations, the
experience of their staff in using OPTs; and the ways in which the organizations have
incorporated and managed OPTs in their plan making process. This exploration is conducted
through the analysis of the survey results1.
The organizations type: Local governments or public agencies comprise the majority of the
participants in this study. The following table shows the type of planning organizations that
participated in the study.
1 The analysis of ways in which the organizations characteristics and capacities have influenced the
usefulness of OPTs in plan making processes is explored in questions two and three.
86


Academic institution
m
Non-profit / NGO/ Community association
Private firm
local government/ public agency
r
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
The staffs experience of using OPTs in plan making: For less than half of the survey
respondents (44%), it was their first time of using OPTs in plan making process. Only few of
them (23%) have had extensive prior experience (4 times or more) of using these tools. The
following table shows the number of times that the respondents have used OPTs in different
projects
1 time
2-3 times
4-5 times
6 times or more
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iiiiiiiiiiiniim
Miniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin:'
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
The staffs role in plan making: The majority of the people who participated in the survey,
consisted of project managers or community engagement consultants. Some of them have also
had various roles. The following table shows the role of the survey respondents1 in plan making
1 In this study, I refer to all these survey respondents as planners to avoid possible confusions.
87


Public engagement consultant, community
developer, faciliator
Project manager, director, or coordinator mmnillllDinOrnillllBinnrnillllDinn
Junior planner or designer
Senior planner or designer
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Having legal limitations for using OPTs in plan making: Legal limitations include variety of
regulations that can affect the use of technology or data in plan making processes, including
privacy limitations of using citizen generated data or asking questions related to personal
identifications. For example, one can explore whether or how the planners must follow specific
regulations for responding to peoples online comments, and ways in which the online comments
should or should not be incorporated in the final plan. While these questions are important, this
section focuses on a broader question to explore the Presence of legal limitations or concerns for
using the tools. About less than two thirds of the survey respondents believed that they did not
have legal limitations for using OPTs. It is interesting that about one fourth of the participants
were not sure if they have had some types of legal limitations. The following table shows the
Presence of legal limitations for using the tools in plan making processes
Available Not available Not clear
88


This study covers a diverse plan making environment, where different types of plans with
different foci are involved. Although most of the participating organizations in this study are local
or state governments, several private institutions (21%) have also participated.
3.7.3. The Plans Locational Distribution
The plans are located in different States and Provinces in the U.S. and Canada. They are from 26
different States or Provinces in the U.S. and Canada. The red dots in the following map show the
locational distribution of the plans.
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Fig. 3.5. the plans locational distributions
3.7.4. The Plans Scale and Focus
The plans scales in this study ranges from local to regional. The majority of the plans (46%) are
focused on stakeholder engagement at the city level, and the rest of the plans are focused on local
and regional scales. See the following figure.
89


Local scale "City scale county or regional scale
The selected plans focus on different subjects or issues of planning. Planning organizations have
used the tools (OPTs) in variety of plans with different focuses, from regional transportation
plans, to comprehensive plans, to downtown revitalization plans, to sustainability plans, to urban
design plans, and to site development plans. Since these plans fit into variety of categories, which
in most cases overlap, as part of the survey, I have asked the respondents to determine their plans
focuses on different issues. While the plans are focused on variety of issues, the majority of them
intended to address the following topical areas: community development, transportation planning,
land use planning, parks and recreation, and economic development. The following table shows
the variety of planning issues that are covered by the plans. In almost all the cases, the plans have
covered more than one area of focus. The plans area of focus are shown in the following table.
Education
Historic preservation
Infrastructure planning (e.g. energy, water)
Urban Design
Housing; Zonning
Environment; climate adoption; hazard mitigation
Economic development
Parks and recreation planning
Land use planning
Transportation planning
Community development
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90


CHAPTER IV.
THE SURVEY AND INTERVIEW RESULTS
This chapter discusses the analysis results of surveys and interviews. It summarizes the
descriptive statistical analysis of the survey results and descriptive content analysis of the
interview results. The descriptive analysis lays the groundwork for exploring the research
questions that are going to be discussed the next chapter.
4.1. Survey Results: Descriptive Analysis
The participants responses to the survey questions are provided in this section. To avoid
repetition, the answers to some of the questions that are provided in chapter 3 (e.g. the plan and
organization names) are skipped here. The survey questions are provided in the order that were
mentioned in the survey1.
Question 1. Greetings.
The first question introduces the study to the survey participants. It does not ask respondents to
provide inputs or answer questions. It is not a question; but, is counted as a question by the survey
design tool.
Question 2. Please provide the name of the plan or project for which you have used [this
tool]?
The plan names are listed in chapter 3.
Question 3. In how many different projects have you ever used any type of online
participatory tools? (Please include this project/ plan).
1 Some of the survey results that are provided in the earlier chapter are again listed here to ensure the
consistency in providing the survey results in order.
91


Full Text

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i PARTICIPATORY P LAN MAKING: WHETHER AND HOW ONLINE PARTICIPATORY TOOLS ARE USEFUL. by NADER AFZALAN B.Sc. University of Tehran, 2005 M.Sc. University of Tehran, 2007 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Design and Planning Program 2015

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Nader Afzalan has been approved for the Design and Planning Program by Raymond McCall, Chair Brian Muller, Advisor Jennifer Evans Cowley Fahriye Hazer Sancar Thomas W. Sanchez Willem van Vliet 11/1 8 /2015

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iii Afzalan, Nader (Ph.D., Design and Planning) Participatory Plan Making: Whether And How Online Participatory Tools Are Useful. Dissertation directed by Associate Professor Brian Muller ABSTRACT Local governments and planning organizations are increasingly using Online Participatory Tools (OPT) for en gaging citizens in plan making processes. However, our understanding of whether limited. This dissertation examines the usability of OPTs in plan making proc esses. I surveyed 107 planners (58% response rate) to ask about the purposes for which the tools are interviewed more than 40 of the surveyed planners for more det ailed exploration of ways in which the OPTs have influenced plan making process and plan polices. Employing a multilevel mixed method design, I analyzed why and how OPTs are used in plan making, what factors influence the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making, and how OPTs influence plan making processes and policies. To explore these questions, I used methods of statistical analysis, descriptive statistics, semi structured content analysis, and interpretive discourse analysis. The performa nce and technical capabilities of OPTs in facilitating social interaction and knowledge generation highly influence their overall value and usability in plan making. In addition, the performance of OPTs is mainly related to the ways in which they are incor porated in and managed in plan making processes, and less to the type of the plan or organization. information that they get from other sources, most of the pl anners find the OPTs valuable to

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iv develop and test scenarios, validate their ideas, and avoid possible conflicts. OPTs do not solve the everlasting challenges of participatory planning, but can facilitate participatory process by empowering planners technic ally and politically. On the other hand, the instrumental use of OPTs by planning organizations creates challenges and concerns for effective participatory planning processes. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Brian Muller

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v ACKNOWLEDGMENT I am very grateful to have met and been supported by several positive and smart people, who ultimately shaped my dissertation committee, during my Ph.D. studies. I express my immense gratitude to Dr. Brian Muller, who helped me think critically about the importance and structure of my dissertation and find my own voice in shaping my research. His extreme openness and support in t ry ing new ideas and his comments on guiding my dissertation foc were very helpful in s haping my research Hi s patience in going through different parts of the d issertation over and over again has had a major infl uence in shaping this research ideas, methods, and techniques helped me engage novel ideas in my research while tackling critical planning problems. I am very grateful for the tremendous support and guide that I got from Dr. Fahriye Sancar, my first dissertation adviser, from the first day that I started my Ph.D. studies. Although she did not continue serving as my main adviser after her retirement, she was still very helpful in all different asp ects of my dissertation. I very much appreciate all the long hour meetings we have had to help me shape my research and discuss its implications. Her critical and detailed comments have definitely helped me engage critical thinking more effectively in my w ork. I am so grateful that I have had her support as a great example of a hard working scholar who never gives up. I deeply appreciate my other committee members, Dr. Ray McCall, Dr. Willem van Vliet, Dr. Jennifer Evans Cowley, and Dr. Thomas San chez, fo r their valuable support during my Ph.D. studies. Ray has been always a model of c reative thinking for me by providing fresh ideas about s availability, support, and patience has taught be how to work as an effective professor. Undoubtedly, he has been one of my strongest supports during the challenging times of my academic life at the University of Colorado. As a brilliant role model,

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vi Jenni fer has been always supported and guided my research by her big picture ideas and critical comments regarding how to make my research more connected to the planning practice. I was so y academic identity as a different stages. His futuristic point of view regarding the influence of new technologies on the future of planning helped me think critically about the implications of my research. His emotional support provided me comfort and made me more confident about my research and the importance of its implications in planning practice and pedagogy. I also apprecia te all the planners who patie ntly participated in my survey and interviews. Some of them have spent more than two hours to respond to my survey and interview questions. I hope they find this research helpful in their planning practice. Last but definitely not the least, special thank s to my beloved wife, Saharnaz Mirzazad, for her devotion, patience, support, and love. She has been my strongest motivation for continuing and finishing my studies.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION AND OUTLINE ................................ ................................ ............................ 1 1.1. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions ................................ ................................ ..... 1 1.2. Significance of the Study and Contributions ................................ ................................ ....... 2 1.3. Structure of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 5 II. PA RTICIPATORY PLAN MAKING AND ONLINE TOOLS ................................ ................. 7 2.1. Participatory Plan Making ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 7 2.1.1. Plan Making ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 8 2.1.2. Considerations of Stakeholder Participation in Plan Making ................................ .... 13 2.1.2.1. Participation for collaboration and managing power imbalances ...................... 16 2.1.2.2. Participation for engaging local knowledge ................................ ....................... 21 2.1.3. Adoption 24 2.2. Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning ................................ ........................ 27 2.3. Technology for Participation ................................ ................................ ............................. 32 2.3.1. The Promises of Information Technology and Social Media ................................ .... 33 2.3.1.1. Online planning technologies for collaboration: opportunities and concerns .... 34 2.3.1.2. Online planning technologies for engaging local knowledge: opportunities and concerns 39 2.3.2. Organizational Use of New Technologies: Considerations and Challenges .............. 42 2.4. Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 49 III. RESEARCH MET HODS AND CASES ................................ ................................ ................. 58 3.1. Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 58 3.2. Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 58 3.3. ................................ ................................ ................... 60 3.3.1. Planning Process and Environment ................................ ................................ ............ 62 3.3.2. ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 63 3.3.3. ................................ .................... 65 3.3.4. Plan Making Process and Plan Policies ................................ ................................ ..... 65 3.4. Tool and Case Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 65 3.4.1. Tool Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 65 3.4.2. Case Selection ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 69 3.5. Research Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 71

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viii 3.5.1. The Survey Instrument ................................ ................................ ............................... 71 3.5.2. Interview Protocol ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 77 3.6. Analysis Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 80 3.7. Introduction to the Cases and Plan Making Environment ................................ ................. 81 3.7.1. Case Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 81 3.7.2. Plan Making Environment ................................ ................................ ......................... 86 3.7.3. ................................ ................................ ............ 89 3.7.4. ................................ ................................ ....................... 89 IV. THE SURVEY AND INTERVIEW RESULTS ................................ ................................ ..... 91 4.1. Survey Results: Descriptive Analysis ................................ ................................ ................ 91 4.2. Interview Results: Content Analysis ................................ ................................ ................ 104 4.2.1. Predefined Interview Questions. ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 105 ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 107 4.2.2. ................................ .................. 107 V. ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 109 5.1. Question 1. H ow And Why are OPTs Used and Incorporated in Plan Making Processes? ... ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 109 5.1.1. Why OPTs are Used in Plan Making ................................ ................................ ....... 109 5.1.2. How OPTs are Incorporated in Plan Making ................................ ........................... 111 5.1.3. Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 117 5.2. Question 2. To What Extent have Planners Found OPTs valuable in Plan Making? ...... 118 5.3. ..................... 119 5.3.1. 122 5. 3.2. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 125 5.3.3. Whether and How Performance of OPTs? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 128 5.3.3.1. The influence of plan making environmen ............. 129 5.3.3.2. performance ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 132 5.3.4. Summary of the Results ................................ ................................ ........................... 135 5.4. Question 4. How do OPTs Influence Plan Making Processes and Plan policies? ........... 137 5.4.1. Whether and how do OPTs Influence Plan Making Processes? .............................. 138 5.4.1.1. Facilitating the Participatory Process ................................ ............................... 138

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ix 5.4.1.2. Building Consensus ................................ ................................ ......................... 146 5.4.1.3. Generating knowledge ................................ ................................ ..................... 149 5.4.2. 163 5.4.2.1. ................................ ................ 163 5.4.2.2. ........................ 168 5.4.3. Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 172 5.5. Summary of the Results of the Research Questions ................................ ........................ 173 VI. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ............. 175 6.1. OPTs for Empowering Planners ................................ ................................ ...................... 175 6.1.1. Political Empowerment ................................ ................................ ............................ 176 6.1.2. Technical Empowerment ................................ ................................ ......................... 177 6.1.2.1. Generating local knowledge ................................ ................................ ............. 177 6.1.2.2. Building consensus and resolving conflicts ................................ ..................... 178 6.1.2.3. Forming or evaluating decisions a nd scenarios ................................ ............... 179 6.2. OPTs for Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning: Opportunities and Threats 180 6.2.1. OPTs for Multi Stakeholder Engagement ................................ ................................ 180 6.2.2. OPTs for Multi Scale Engagement ................................ ................................ .......... 181 6.3. Considerations for Using Online Participatory Tools Effectively ................................ ... 181 6.4. Limitations the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 186 6.5. Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 187 6.5.1. Applying New Research Designs or Methods ................................ ......................... 188 6.5.2. Engaging New Ideas ................................ ................................ ................................ 190 6.6. Concluding Note ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 194 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 198 APPENDIX ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 219 A Survey Instrument ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 220 B. Interview Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 226 ............................. 230 D. Considerations for Choosing OPTs ................................ ................................ ......................... 244

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION AND OUTLINE 1.1. Purpose of the Study and Research Questions This research examines whether planners find Online Participatory Tools (OPT) useful in plan making processes and why. OPTs refer to different types of online tools that are used by planning organizations to engage stakeholders in plan making processes. Th e study explores why and how OPTs are used in plan making, how various factors influence the value and performance of OPTs, and how OPTs influence the process of plan making. In this study plan making refers to the process of plan creation, from visioning to approval. Improving citizen participation strategies and the incorporation of public input into the planning process has been a long lasting challenge for planning organizations, especially local governments (Bamberg, 2013; Corburn, 2003a; T. Fischer 2002; Innes & Booher, 2010a; Yli pelkonen & Kohl, 2005). Public participation can even be more complicated, but also influential, in current planning practices with the specific focus on issues of sustainability and climate change where multiple stakehol ders at various scales are involved in plan making (Adler, 2005; Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Ostrom, 2010a). With the promises of online technologies in facilitating participatory processes, local governments and planning organizations are increasingly using OPTs for engaging citizens in land use and environmental plan making processes. The current studies in this area are primarily geared towards the possible opportunities and challenges of using these types of technologies (see Evans Cowley & Hollander, 201 0; Fredericks & Foth, 2013; Rhoads, 2010; Townsend, 2013); however, our understanding of the usability of these tools in plan making practice is still limited. Employing a multilevel mixed methods that includes archival study, survey, descriptive analysis, statistical modeling, semi structured interviews, and structured content and discourse

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2 analysis, I frame and test the following interrelated questions about the usability of OPTs in plan making process: (1) How and why are OPTs used in plan making ? ; (2) To what extent do planners find OPTs useful in plan making ? ; (3) What factors influence th e overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making and how? (4) How do OPTs influence plan making processes and plan policies ? I explore these questions in more than sixty plans in the U.S. and Canada with different foci and scales, including regional transportation plans, comprehensive plans, sustainability plans, downtown revitalization plans, natural corridor plans, neighborhoo d plans, and site plans, where planners used three different types OPTs. 1.2. Significance of the Study and Contributions Cities have been shaped and are evolving based on the interaction among several interrelated systems, including social, natural, physica l, political, organizational, informational systems (Batty, 2007a). Stakeholder engagement is the core practice for managing and planning for cities as complex systems that are products of such interaction (Innes & Booher, 2010a). It is argued that effecti ve engagement can facilitate planning and managing cities not only through generating novel ideas and scenarios, but also paving the way for effective political action which responds to public interest and power imbalances (see Fainstein, 2000; Flyvbjerg, 2002; Forester, 1987; Healey, 1992; Healey & Barrett, 1990). Effective participatory processes promise more robust and adaptive planning as a political process that provides opportunities for consensus building, moving towards mutual

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3 understanding and co nflict resolution, and mutual learning among diverse stakeholders (Forester, 1980; Habermas, 1984; Innes & Booher, 2010a). This process requires a safe and supportive environment where different interests are equally represented. The participation of local community groups (e.g. neighborhood groups), private sector (e.g. developers), and public sector (local government) should be facilitated and directed towards addressing public interest (Fainstein, 2000; R. E. Klosterman, 1985) and community good. Despite increasing emphasis during the last five decades or so, planning organizations and local governments have not been very successful in incorporating participatory processes into their decision and plan making. There are several reasons for less than satisf actory performance of planners in terms of issues of time and place or personal biases (see Fischer, 2000; Yli pelkonen& Kohl, 2005), lack Rydin & Pennington, 2000), and the high cost of participatory processes due to required resources including time, staff, and finances (Patsy Healey & Barrett, 1990; Innes & Boohe r, 2010a). Planners and policy makers are still dealing with dilemmas of participatory processes; they struggle to strike a balance between responding to several forces including the mandates or normative expectations for citizen engagement and their doubt about the usefulness of employing extensive participatory processes. On one hand they need to address the political requirements of planning practice as professionals who do not have the ultimate political power, and on the other hand, they are expected t o create plans and make decisions within a given period of time with limited resources in hand. To address these challenges, planners have been actively trying to define their profession by identifying themselves as political facilitators, community leader s, or activists. There has been a long lasting debate on the role of planners as effective game changers in the political area of planning (Brooks, 2002; Fainstein & Campbell, 2012). The traditional example

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4 published more than four decades ago in 1973 (Wildavsky, 1973). He attacked the planning field, arguing that although planners are working on variety of issues, they do not have enough political power to infl uence plan implementations or policy decisions. The discussions on the ( Alexander, 1984) all cover this topic. While the planning field has survived and continued its life (Brooks, 2002) as a field that shapes and envisions good cities (Fainstein & Campbell, 2012), the complexity of interaction among different factors that sha pe our cities, including natural, physical, organizational, and political factors, still makes the planning process challenging and requires strong political interventions (Forester, 1989; Hiller, 2005; Hillier, 1998; Hoch, 2007; Innes & Booher, 2010). In addition, some other scholars have discussed the extensive power of institutional power. Forester (1989) argues that the information that planners have in hand gi ves participatory technologies help planners in resolving the political challenges of planning processes? Web based technologies and social media have intrigued planners and decision makers in their potential for use as tools to resolve issues inherent in participatory planning processes. This potential lies in the ability of these tools to capture local knowledge and facilitate information sharing, social interac tions, and collaborative processes (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; EvansCowley & Hollander, 2010; Evans Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Gasser & Palfrey, 2014; Townsend, 2000). Information and Communications Technologies companies (ITCs) also p layed an important role in practice of participatory planning by developing tools

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5 2006; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Townsend, 2013). We now see various compa nies including IBM and Microsoft that have started active research centers focused on the use of technologies in urban planning, arranging conferences and developing taskforces. Planners are faced with another layer of complexity since they now have to tak e into account the implications of incorporating these technologies in their current planning processes. Public and private institutions are using these new online technologies for participatory plan making purposes at an increasing pace. However, neither the usefulness of these tools in plan making nor the capacity of planning organizations to use them have been the subject of systematic investigation. This dissertation contributes to the current literature by exploring the use of new participatory techno logies and methods in planning practice in order to understand how they are used and whether and how they can respond to the ever challenging challenge of participatory policy and plan making. The variety of plans, with different scales in the U.S. and Can ada, that are addressed in this research provides a basis for understanding the planning environments in several towns, cities, and regions in North America when they respond to employing new participatory processes. This study evaluates the technological capabilities of OPTs and capacity of planning organizations by asking planners to reflect on the usefulness of the tools they employed in a diverse set of planning cases in the USA and Canada. 1.3. Structure of the Study This dissertation consists of six chap ters. Chapter 1 introduces and outlines the study. Chapter 2 reviews the theories of participatory planning and planning institutions. It also discusses the current literature on pros and cons of using social media and planning support systems in generatin g local knowledge and in providing opportunities for social interaction, collaborative planning, and decision making. Chapter 3 defines the research process, design, and methods and introduces the case studies and plan making environment s Chapter 4 provides the descriptive results of the surveys and interviews and lays the groundwork for C hapter 5 where the research

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6 questions are analyzed and discussed. The final chapter, C hapter 6 discusses the research implications, argues the considerations for the effective use of OPTs in planning processes and raises questions for future research.

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7 CHAPTER II PARTICIPATORY PLAN MAKING AND ONLINE TOOLS The promise of online technologies in handling some of the challenges of participatory planning have led planning organizations to incorporate these technologies in their current planning processes. The advent of the Internet, particularly Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and social media, have been a premier source for utopian ideas of future cities during the last decade. While some scholars believe that ICTs can revolutionize collaborative urban management processes, several others are h esitant about it. In this chapter, to provide a framework for exploring the institutional usability of online participatory tools in plan making, I frame the current status of participatory plan making. I frame this status through pragmatic exploration o f participatory planning theory with a focus on the role of planners and planning institutions in using planning support systems and online technologies in shaping plan making practices. The chapter starts by discussing the methods of plan making and argui ng the opportunities and complexities of managing participatory processes that effectively engage diverse stakeholders across various scales. It then examines the capacities and limitations of online tools in facilitating participatory processes and ways i n which local governments can incorporate them in their plan making process. Finally, it summarizes a critical argument about the organizational use of new technologies to guide the research design in Chapter 3. 2.1. Participatory P lan M aking This section introduces plan making methods and discusses the opportunities and considerations of participatory plan making from different points of view and various theories.

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8 2.1.1. Plan M aking Plan making theory is primarily focused on the role of planners a nd planning organizations in creating, evaluating, and implementing plans. Although planning theory has had stronger emphasis on processes of making plan making than on making plans, we see a growing interest on exploring how and why plans are created or i mplemented. This dissertation examines the process of plan making by emphasizing ways in which new participatory methods can be incorporated into this process and whether and how they can be influential. The following paragraphs will explore the importance of plans and influential factors in this process. The studies of Innes and Booher (Booher & Innes, 2002; Innes & Booher, 2010), Forester (Forester, 1989; Forester, 1987), Healey (Healey, 1992) have been helpful in exploring planning practice and decision making; however, they have not focused on plan making processes and plan creation. The following paragraphs are primarily focused on plan making process. consequence of future act making can be seen in various ways. In his classic article, Baer (1997, 333 337) introduces the following roles for plans: Plans a specific criteria should be taken into account to ensure the plan implementation; classification, design, and implementation plans; results of specific plans but processes;

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9 emphasize integrating different plan making devises such as design codes or zoning regulations; and mandates. Although most of these ideas are still being considered as roles of p lans in shaping planning practices or decision making processes (see Baer, 1997b; Brody, Godschalk, & Burby, 2003; Brody, 2003; Burby, 2007; C. J. Hoch, 2007; C. Hoch, 2007),we currently see a particular focus on pragmatism ideology, (See Hoch, 2002, 2007b 2007c), which explores the role of plans as products of bottom up processes in shaping or guiding interrelated systems (Batty & Marshall, 2012; Innes & Booher, 2010). These systems may include natural, social, physical, informational, or organizational s ystems. Several forces can influence the quality of plan creatio n and implementation, including organizational capacity of planning institutions and plan types, or contextual factors such as specific planning mandates or the involved stakeholders. Plan q uality can be used to assess either the process of plan making or plan implementation (Brody, 2003). Regardless of the purpose of plans and their missions, the quality of plans shows the reason and effectiveness of the planning profession (Baer, 1997b). Sc holars have evaluated plan quality (Baer, 1997b; Brody, 2003; Charles Hoch, 2002; Talen, 1996), from different perspectives. The evaluation includes exploring plan quality through emphasis on the evaluation of several processes or forces, such as plan cont ents, plan (1997) plan assessment model, provides a general overview of plan evaluation by looking at different aspects of the process and outcome, several other scholars have focused m ore on specific influential factors, including citizen engagement or mandates (See Brody et al., 2003; Burby, 2007; Hoch, 2007a).

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10 in serving public good), 2002, 58 64). Baer (1997a) offers a more detailed evaluation framework, considering the process and outcome of plan making. While this framework may follow a rational model, it provides a valuable structure for plan evaluation. Table 2 1: 339) Criteria for plan assessment Should explain how the context of the plan is explained. It includes explaining the purpose of the plan, who the plan is created for, what the plan mandates are, who is the audience for the plan, what the sources of funding are, or what the plan timeline is. Should ex plore whether the main underlying considerations for creating the plan are clearly defined? It includes exploring the goal and scope of the plan, the capacity of existing planning organizations or infrastructure, or the main challenges of issues that shoul d be dealt with. Should explain the process of plan making. It includes exploring who was involved in plan creation and how they are being identified, how these stakeholders have been engaged in the process, how the data, techniques, or strategies are used in framing policies, or how the public are engaged. Demonstrates the plans relationship with larger community. It includes the incorporation of social justice theory in plan creation, the inclusion of fiscal, or legal considerations in plan making, and consideration of political context in this process. Should explain implementation processes, considering how the involved stakeholders and instruments influence the plan implementation or how the next steps are defined. Depending on the plan type, it may include the priorities, cost, or time span of plan im plementation; the proposals for the next phases, or the role of the planning organization in making proposals or plans happen. and Should clearly explain the data sources and use. It explores how the data is collected, is th e plan flexible enough to incorporate new data sources, what the scope and depth of data sources are, or whether the sources are introduced in the plan. Explores clarity and methods of communication. It examines ways in which the plan ideas, decisions, or strategies are communicated with stakeholders, or if the proposals and recommendations are consistent with the plan goals. Examines the suitability of plan format and its depth. It considers main formatting issues, including how the page numbers, publication date, or graphics are clearly laid out.

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11 While different scholars have various perspectives on plan quality, in general high quality plans include more than only data and analysis. They should clearly address l ocal needs and contextual factors, cover clear and comprehensive goals and methods, and include action oriented policies that address specific needs (Philip R Berke & French, 1994; Charles Hoch, 2002), while inspiring dialogue and mutual learning with stak eholders (Charles Hoch, 2002; Innes & Booher, 2010b). A number of scholars have also discussed the importance of planning and state mandates in shaping and influencing plan quality (See Berke & French, 2014; Brody et al., 2003; Burby, Dalton, & Dalton, 1 994; Burby, 2007). The mandates may cover several types of obligations from the creation of comprehensive or general plans to the incorporation of specific land development policies, or to the engagement of diverse communities or stakeholders. Among all th ese, there has been a strong focus on how plan qualities are affected through engaging stakeholders in the process of plan While several planning theorists have discussed the importance of integrating actionable and context sensitive planning strategies, few scholars have explored the specific strategies of such integration in plan making practice. Charles Hoch, Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chic ago (see Hoch, 2002, 2007a, 2007b, 2009), has greatly contributed to the gap in the literature through his particular focus on pragmatic plan making processes. Hoch (2002) supports adopting more pragmatic approaches to plan making compared to rational ones where: core of the process; Knowledge prepares planners to deal with unexpected challenges, but not protect them from surprising events (55);

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12 Planners effectively get involved in evaluating their plan strategies and implementations based on specific contextual factors (57); Plans are more than tools for implementing state policies, but as mediums for ng social actions. Hoch (2009) argues that pragmatic approaches to plan making should not only represent, but also interpret urban complexities by exploring interrelationships among diverse stakeholders, including community groups or institutions, through flexible and revisable approaches. As a communicative theorist, Hoch argues that plans should be the result of deliberation among stakeholders (Hoch, 2007). Incorporating mandate for citizen participation into plan making processes was initiated more tha n half a century ago (Brody et al., 2003a) and its positive impacts on these processes have been widely discussed by several scholars (see Brody, Godschalk, & Burby, 2003b; Corburn, 2003; Fischer, 2002; Forester, 2007; Healey, 1992; Innes & Booher, 2010). However, there are still push backs or hesitance about the effectiveness of citizen participation among planning practitioners and policy makers. nce of the effectiveness of their so responsible for such push back, another issue is the organizational capacity of planning institutions in incorporating democratic processes into their planning and policy systems. W hile the importance of stakeholder engagement in plan making processes has been widely discussed, the role of organizational capacities or planning institutions in developing and implementing participatory strategies and actions has not been well understoo d yet. This next section discusses the complexities of stakeholder engagement in plan making process by exploring the engagement requirements and necessities of participatory processes in

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13 managing complex and multi disciplinary systems. It is important t o revisit the value of various planning models in the plan making process. It is also important to look at whether or how comprehensive planning or incremental planning strategies should be integrated to address the complexities of land use and environment al plan making processes. In which scales and what manage this complexity? What tools do they have in hand and what strategies should they use? 2.1.2. Considerations of S takeholder P articipation in Plan M aking Participatory processes not only consider collaboration among various stakeholders to build trust or consensus among diverse stakeholders or engage their knowledge in plans, they also relate to the capacity of p lanning organizations in incorporating such efforts into their current systems. This section discusses stakeholder engagement for collaboration and information dissemination, as well as the organizational considerations for such engagement, with a specific focus on the requirements of participatory processes when dealing with incorporating general sustainability ideas. This section provides a basis for the current debates on ways in which new participatory methods, particularly web based ones, may be helpfu shared decision making processes. The discourse of participatory planning among planning practitioners and academics ine planning practice and their discussions on various models of planning and the roles that planners play in political arena. It is not the result of Wildavsky's (1973) attack on planning; but such attacks and the questioning by various critics of the rol e and influence of planning have encouraged planners to look more carefully at defining planning models and finding ways in which planning can work more effectively as a technical and political field (Brooks, 2002). The focal point of this discourse has be en stakeholder collaboration and, to some extent, the role of planning organizations in managing participatory activities.

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14 We can see the footprint of the notion of stakeholder collaboration in criticisms of rational approaches to planning, when practitioners and academics started to think about more pragmatic approaches and new effective models. We can see these efforts in th e proposal of various planning models: Incremental Planning (Lindblom, 1959), which focuses on the role of various organizations in facilitating decentralized planning projects; Transactive Planning (Friedmann, 1987), which emphasizes personal and organiz ational development processes and the effect of the plans on people; Advocacy Planning (Davidoff, 1965), which supports plural plans and focuses on the role of planners in advocating for the voices of marginalized communities; The more recent view of Rat ional Comprehensive Planning, which integrates the traditional synoptic approaches of setting goals, developing and evaluating alternatives, and implementing decisions (Hudson, Galloway, & Kaufman, 1979) with other planning models for more inclusive and pr actical practices. While there is a strong consensus among planning academics, and specially planning theorists, that planners should respond to and advocate for public involvement (Fainstein & Campbell, 2012), there are still different interpretations o planners in different situations (Brooks, 2002). In addition, planning scholars have different ideas on how to serve and engage the public in planning processes. While some scholars advocate for collaborative and disc ourse based processes that aim for building consensus and creating mutual understanding among all groups of stakeholders (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Goldstein, 2009; Hillier, 1998; J. Innes & Booher, 2010; J. E. Innes & Gruber, 2005; L. Suss kind & Cruikshank, 1989; Goldstein & Butler, 2010; Hoch, 2007c), some other scholars mainly view public participation as an inclusive effort which is not primarily framed around the communicative aspect of planning, but around ways in which participatory processes can engage

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15 planning organizations, power forces, and stakeholders (See Flyvbjerg, 2002; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000). During the last two decades, planning theory has had strong emphasis on communication and dialogue, as the main for ces for creating more democratic, adaptive, and planning processes that can respond to complexity and interconnectivity of decision making processes and power imbalances (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Hoch, 2007c; Innes & Booher, 2010; Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989). Although the ideas of communicative rationality theory has been criticized by several scholars (See Flyvbjerg, 2002; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000), they are still being considered as one of the dominant forces for shaping th e current ideas in communicative activities that influence actions that affect all social groups. They believe that communicative processes can lead to new collective perceptions and understandings by changing having equal opportunities among stakeholders, and the public in particular, to participate in discussions is crucial. C omprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places (American Planning Association, 2015, n.d.) considers authentic participation as one of the main components that define the public planning process, seek diverse participation in the plan development process, promote leadership development in disadvantaged communities during the pla nning process, develop alternative scenarios of the future, provide ongoing and understandable information for all participants, use a variety of communications channels to inform and involve the community, and continue to engage the public after the compr

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16 In the following two sections, I will discuss collaboration and information dissemination as two main objectives for participatory processes. In this study, I consider collaborative planning as a dialogue based process whi ch emphasizes on consensus building and mutual learning. I use the term participatory planning, as a general term for participatory processes. 2.1.2.1. Participation for collaboration and managing power imbalances In this section, I discuss the pros and cons of collaborative planning methods through the lens of Collaborative planning and c ommunicative rationality theory has been mainly built on participation and argumentation in the planning process (See Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Hillier, 1998) Communicative planning considers the planning practice as a communicative, negotiative and interactive activity (Forester, 1989; Hillier, 1998; J. Innes & Booher, 2010) Talk and argument comprise important pa rt of the planning practice, which consist of discussion among all stakeholders for mutual benefit (forester, 1989). Arguing that the participation of all stakeholders is crucial for an informed decision making, effective communication, and a democratic p rocess, Habermas considers the following four conditions necessary for having a rational communicative process (cited in Forester, 1989); The first is that discussion should be face to face including various interest groups. The second is that participants should be in a similar position in terms of having power, and should have equal access to information. The forth condition is that participants should be able to question o Habermas considers speech as a rational discourse (Huxley, 2000 369), which in ideal situation re sults in undistorted communication and builds comprehension, trust, knowledge, and

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17 consent. In contrast, distorted communication results in miss representation, confusion, false assurances, and illegitimacy (Forester, 1989). Habermas (1985) sets out validity claims, which must exist to lay the groundwork for the ideal speech, which comprises truth, clarity, sincerity, and legitimacy. Comprehensibility relates to clear a nd easily understandable statements, Sincerity Forester introd uces communication distortions in planning practice based on these four validity claims and argues that distorted process develops disbelief and amusement among stakeholders and negatively affects their shared understandings (Forester, 1989, 144). Table 2 2: Experiencing communication distortions in face to face communication and correcting them (Forester, 1989) Building on Habermas (Giddens, 1984) and complexity theory, Innes and Booher (2010) develop t heir collaborative face to face dialogue, bringing their various perspectives to the table to deliberate on the problem oher (2010, 35) argue that meeting the following three conditions will create a collaborative process which is adaptive and resilient to specific contextual situation, facilitates mutual learning processes and creativity: Experiencing and correcting communication distortions Comprehensibility Sincerity Legitimacy Truth Experiencing distortions Ambiguity, confusion Deceit, Insincerity Meaning taken out of context Misrepres entation Correcting distortions Revealing meaning Checking intentions Determining roles and context Checking evidence

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18 Full diversity of interests among an adaptive system. Variety in a social system facilitates feasible and equitable dialogue. (101). Inter dependence of the participants: Agents should depend on others for a mutual benefit. Each participant has something to offer and this interdependence makes participants interested to stay engaged with each other throughout the process (36). Engagement of a ll participants in a face to face authentic dialogue: Authentic dialogue their claims are comprehensible, legitimate, sincere and accurate. Authentic dialogue is no t dominated or controlled by outside powers, happens in an environment in which stakeholders have equal access to information, allows all major interests and ideas to be heard, and relies eir scientific expertise (36,37). Authentic dialogue requires a facilitator (Innes and Booher, 2010, 97) to keep the discussion focused while encouraging flow of the discussion. In authentic dialogue, participants should have equal access to information, h ave equal ability to speak and be listened to and be able to change their assumptions. In authentic dialogue discussion is not controlled by external powers and nothing is off the table. (ibid, 37). Communicative theorists emphasize the creation of mutual understanding processes. In identity and move beyond confused noise (Hillier, 1998) to reach a negotiable understanding (Shotter, 1993) (Innes & Booher, 2010b; Susskind & Ozawa, 1983) To produce rational results, participants and stak eholders do not need to reach consensus on goals, values and reasons; they need to reach a shared

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19 understanding of the context, issues and interests. Having access to information plays an important role in this process (Innes and Booher, 101). While there environments and facilitating decision making processes; there have been more or less a consensus on defining their role as a political agent who deals with power imbalances. Planning the orists have emphasized on this issue in various levels; while the advocates of the communicative rationality literature have not had very strong emphasis on the topic, several other scholars have framed their theories of planning based on the role of power in planning practice or theories of political geography (see Flyvbjerg, 2002, 2006; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley, 2000 ; Yiftachel, 1998) Interaction and knowledge production are infused with ideological and political practices th at protect the powerful and confuse the powerless (Patsy Healey, 1992) The communicative planning theorists have missed exploring the details o f how planning organizations should balance power distributions or work in environments where planners do not own the power to participants should have equal access to i nformation to equal ability to speak and be listened to provides a valuable normative framework; however, their argument lacks providing actionable strategies that explain how and in which circumstances such framework can happen (Afzalan, 2013) Consensu s and mutual understanding are shaped through the conduct of discourse and the influential role that power plays in this process (Flyvbjerg, 2002) ; the power of outside sources including developers and state officials also influence this process (Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000) individuals, also supports this notion. He argues that networks are denominated by the interactions that they represent, more than by the "nodes" they interconnect; and such interactions are also dominated by powerful ideas that have great influences on members' interactions. This

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20 argument laid out part of the current discourse on the importance of organizations and networks in shaping participatory planning practices. and examines by several scholars (See Brooks, 2 002; Fainstein & Campbell, 2012; Wildavsky, 1973 ; Yiftachel, 1998) While planners may not pos sess the ultimate power to implement their plans, they still have the power to facilitate planning processes or negotiations, empower citizens through providing accurate and relevant information; therefore, increase the feasibility of plans (Brooks, 2002; Forester, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010) Forester (1989) argues that planners have the power to use or misuse the information that they have access to in shaping the planning process. Wit hholding information or exaggeration risks of implementing a project are examples (P47) such unequal distribution of resources. Planners may not have the ultimate power to make the final processes or distribution of resources. Although meeting the requirements of collaborative planning processes is c hallenging, especially due to their diffusion with the complicated role of power sources in shaping such processes, these collaborative planning approaches are still being considered as crucial components of planning and decision making theories. Developin g methods that can both respond to communicative aspects of planning and the discussed power struggles, may address the premier challenges of c urrent participatory processes.

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21 2.1.2.2. Participation for engaging local knowledge Although deliberation, social learning, and trust building among stakeholders play crucial roles in participatory plan making processes, the incorporation of public interest and local knowledge in these processes is also another influential force. It can p romote the feasibility of plan making processes by providing contextual and accurate information and respecting public input (Corburn, 2005; Fischer, 2000; Innes & Booher, 2010) Local knowledge can be defined as folk culture or street knowledge (Brush & Stabinsky, 1996; Corburn, 2005) that is attached to socio cultural contexts ( Fischer, 2000; Yanow, 2004; Corburn, 2005 ) and is different from scientific or expert knowledge which is based on reproducible and abstract procedures (Ezrahi, 1990) In addition, the methods of data collection, criteria and standards for evidence, and techniques of information analysis are different when dealing with local knowledge comparing scientific knowledge (Corburn, 2005) These differences can make the use of local knowledge in plan making processes challenging, either collected through traditional methods (e.g. interview of com munity leaders), or new methods (e.g. online data collection methods). Advocates of using local knowledge, criticize the positivist and sole rational approaches by arguing the importance of integrating scientific or so called expert based knowledge with l ocal knowledge in order to rediscover creative ideas, respond to contextual factors, reduce reductionism in the professional practice, and enhance the acceptance chance of decisions by including more voices in the process (Archer, 1990; Brabham, 2009; C orburn, 2005; Fischer, 2000; Yli pelkonen & Kohl, 2005) Knorr Cetina (1999) argues that sometimes it is the contextua l knowledge that shows who is the expert. Innes and Booher (2010) believe that incorporating local knowledge leads to more adaptive and creative planning in the age of offers pragmatic, experience based insights from those who know a sit Mercer

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22 et al. (2008) also clarifies that incorporating local knowledge supports interactions and capacities at the community level and increases adaptive capacities and reduces disaster risks. Mcnamara and Westoby (2011) also assert tha t applying local knowledge can lead to a more participatory and cost effective process. It bridges the gap between citizens, experts and community organizations (Rantanen, 2007) Fischer (2000) believes that ignoring local knowledge hinders change their views of seeing the public as a threat an d a constraint to practice (Innes & Booher, 2010b; Rydin & Pennington, 2000) Several scholars have particularly focused on the importance of incorporating local knowledge in planni ng and decision making to respond to climate change and sustainability. Chapter 26 of Agenda 21 emphasizes the importance of local knowledge and focuses on the (cited in Quarrie, 1992) In climate adaptation planning, it is crucial to learn how the public perceive risks. Peacock et. al. (2005 ,120 121) argue that "Public perception of risk is an important predictor of how citizens will prepare for and respond to hazard threat s. Furthermore, because the public is increasingly involved in planning and policy decision making, perceptions of risk can influence the content of hazard mitigation programs and associated strategies. Moser and Dilling (2007) support this idea by arguing that Public perce ptions of dangers of climate change are important in arranging socio reception of climate adaptive planning. It is also important to exploit the capacity of local communities, as consumers of environmental resources, to learn about potential contextual factors influencing the environment (Berkes, 1999, 321 ).

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23 Innes and Booher (2010) introduce some strategies for i ntegrating local and scientific (expert) knowledge to create a more adaptive planning process, including employing collaborative data gathering methods, relying on some people who are close to disadvantaged communities and can tell their stories, or inviti ng local and marginalized p eople to address their issues. However, there are several institutional and non institutional factors affecting the process of integrating knowledge in planning process, including differences in institutional power and managemen the perception of what stakeholders should or want to get out of the project (Raymond et. al., 2010). The process of knowledge integration should be flexible enough to take into account new information and new perceptions emerging during the project. For example, environmental management programs should be homed in institutions that are flexible to deal with variety of knowledge across multiple time horizons and scal es (Armitage et al., 2009; cited in Reymond et. al. ,2010) In addition, planning organizations should be able to assess the information useful ness through exploring its characteristics, including its form (e.g. is it qualitative or quantitative?), scale (what is the data scale and coverage?), accuracy (how the data represents the reality), coverage (which communities or regions are covered by th e dataset?), completeness (what percentage of the community is covered by the dataset?), age (how old is the dataset?), Confidentiality (are there limitations for using the data?), Maintenance (what should we do to keep the data useful and up to date?), Ap propriateness (how relevant is the data to the plan requirements?) (Randolph, 2004). In addition to these considerations, planning organizations should monitor the data use and ensure the appropriate use of data in a way that it is not misused for instrume n tal purposes (Forester, 1989).

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24 2.1.3. Challenges Adoption There are still several professionals and scholars who prefer to primarily rely on top down approaches and the sole use of expert based knowledge. In fact, the tension between democratic efforts and professional experiences is still a considerable issue in our time (Fischer, 2000). The resentment towards participatory approaches consists of several reasons, including institutional capacity (see Yli pelkonen & Kohl, 2005; Bamberg, 2013) (Bamberg, 2013; Close & Hall, 2006; Corburn, 2003a; Fischer, 2000; Kapoor, 2001; Rydin & Pennington, 2000) desirability in engagement (se e Fischer, 2000; Yli pelkonen& Kohl, 2005), and other contextual factors (see Yli pelkonen & Kohl, 2005 ; Innes and Booher, 2010 ). Institutional capacity of planning organizations can affect the desirability of employing collaborative processes. Planning offices should be equipped to engage citizens, collect local information, and analyze subjective knowledge. Dealing with the nece ssities of setting up collaborative processes can be a huge task for local governments, and therefore, can make them less interested in such processes ( Yli pelkonen & Kohl 2005) Bamberg (2 013) also emphasizes on the importance of the structure of participatory systems and ways in which they can influence collaborative approaches to be successful and interesting for stakeholders to engage in. He states that the tool and organization are b oth important in the success of the participation. The site of knowledge production, the types of issues, and the type of stakeholders affect knowledge generation. The planning organization also influences how this knowledge is used. Bamberg (2013, 54) believes that "the time frame and procedural steps involve d in planning processes limit the ability of planners to engage in deliberation with citizens". Kapoor (2001) also argues that organizations m ay not be interested in collaborative approaches since they require time, and organizational and financial resources. Choosing these processes may require changes in

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25 organizations' structures and designation of more flexible goals and procedures. It may al so need changing political structures and adopting new frameworks. The specific characteristics of local knowledge may also make their use less interesting for practitioners. Close & Hall (2006, 341) discuss that many professionals consider local knowledge as "fragmented and subjective". Fischer (2000, 33) also clarifies that those who oppose participatory processes, argue that experts are the ones who have the knowledge to make decisions and implement them. Some even believe that there is already to o much citizen engagement in the western political system. Some other practitioners or scholars also believe that applying local knowledge in planning processes may hinder the feasibility of their plans. Corburn (2005, 67) argues that of experts can be very threatening for professionals, sinc e their resources and maintenance of applicable to all socio economic problems at various scales (Fisher, 2000), so it may not be very useful in some projects. In add ition, incorporating local knowledge in planning processes can be technically challenging, or may require changes in views and governance systems. Organizations may be not interested in incorporating local knowledge in their decision making processes since it requires time and organizational and financial resources, or may need changes in organizations' structure and requiring a more flexible goals and procedures. It may also need some political changes and adopting new frameworks (Kapoor, 2001) He (2001, 274) also argues that successful participation requires engagement in all stages of the plan; sometimes governments engage people in just some parts of the plan, which is not suffi cient and can lead to a false participatory process. In addition, some of the participatory planning advocates even doubt about the universal usefulness of such processes by arguing the dependency of participatory processes on several

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26 contextual factors, including the capacity of planning institutions or environmental factors. For example, Yli pelkonen & Kohl (2005) argue that participatory processes are not always the best solution, since some citizens may not have enough resources, knowledge, skills or time to have an participa tory democracy, it does not present citizen participation as a magic cure all for economic Dewey and advocates for a radical democracy, he then changes his notio n and argues that democratic planning may not be applicable to all situations, which are partially rooted in the complexity of our societies (cited in Fischer, 2000, 8). Applying the strategies of communicative rationality theory, specifically consensus b uilding, is challenging (Huxley, 2000) Building on social justice theories, Hillier (1998) one of the advocates of the theory, admits that it is not easy to achieve consensus or mutual agreement in decision making since it is hard to do justice to all values, images, and identities and still negotiate consensus. There are always conflicts among stakeho lders' ideas, since there are various interests, each with its own goal. Applying participatory communicative approaches in decision making is challenging; the more participants, the more discourses, the more variation on values, and the greater the probab ility of conflict (Hillier, 1998). Moreover, focusing on consensus building can lead to problems, since it may encourage people to accept an idea which is not a good strategy (Ze llner, Hoch, & Welch, 2011) Some of the advocates of collaborative processes also admit that consensus building in large groups may reduce workability (Susskind and Cruikshank, 1987; Gray 1989, 68). Innes and Booher (2010, 114) also accept the inherent challenges of collaborative processes and suggest going back to more traditional methods of decision making, in case of having issues with setting up collaborative processes. They argues that the problem should be complex enough to worth applying collabor ative decision making since it is time consuming and it requires a lot of energy.

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27 engagement influence the feasibility and success of collaborative planning. In some cultu res or societies, people may not see a value in their participation for various reasons. For example, if people put a lot of time and energy on a participatory process but do not see the process successful, they may be frustrated (Yli pelkonen & Kohl, 2005) In some cases citizens have doubts as to whether their participation is worth spending their time and energy (Fischer, 2000, 15). Participatory processes are challenging, ho wever, they are not dismissible. Particularly, based on the current focus of planning practices to address the issues of environmental and environmental planning at different geographical scales. Due to all the organizational, technical, and community related challenges of employing participatory processes, it is important to review methods of participation and explore the usefulness and requirements of new method s and tools in facilitating such processes. Whether and how online media can respond to these challenges? Can they help planners implement their visionary ideas about public participatory processes? What are the requirements of incorporating these methods or tool s in current planning systems? 2.2. Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning Employing inclusive and multi scalar participatory planning processes is crucial, especially in our age which there is a strong need to address the emerging issues of sustainability and climate change. The following paragraphs discuss the importance of diverse stakeholder engagement at multiple scales for facilitating environmental and land use planning, as tools for responding to climate change and sustainability.

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28 Wit h the growing need to incorporate the strategies that can respond to climate change and environmental sustainability in planning processes, another layer of complexity has been added to the current environmental and land use plan making practices (Afzalan & Muller, 2014) Effective plan making processes should not only consider the integration of several interrelated planning, policy, and design systems, but also their incorporation at several scales (Adger et al., 2008; Arts & Leroy, 2006; Ebi & Semenza, 2008; Ostrom, 2010a) On one hand, local strateg ies should be incorporated with regional policies and with national frameworks. On the other hand, each plan should address policies and actionable strategies considering specific local requirements. This complexity in not new in the field of urban plannin g, but has been highlighted by the emergent need to respond to climate change related policies. Diverse stakeholder engagement plays a more crucial in plan making processes role than before. Land use and environmental planning are premier tools for planne rs to address the complexities of climate change policy. They can be influential at various scales, from locating a local neighborhood park (see Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Harlan, Brazel, Prashad, Stefanov, & Larsen, 2006; Schilling & Logan, 2008a) to revitalizing urban greenways (see Benedict & McMahon, 2006; Campbell, 2007; Gill, Handley, Ennos, & Pauleit, 1998; Jim & Chen, 2008; Lindsey, Maraj, & Kuan, 2001) or managing urban or regional growth (Blanco et al., 2009; Chapin, 2012; Margerum, 2002) Climate adaptive planning calls for multi disciplinary practices which engage social sciences, public policy, and engineering. Sustai nable land use planning engages variety of stakeholders, including policy makers, urban planners and designers, landscape architects, engineers, developers, local institutions, and citizens. The challenge of collaboration is now not only about collaboratio n between so called experts and citizens, but also about collaboration within the team of experts. Urban and regional planners should develop mutual understanding with a diverse group of professionals from different disciplines who have different values or approaches (Forester, 1989; Innes & Booher,

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29 2010) While such interconnectivity can create more adaptive and resilient planning systems, its complexity requires more effective coordin ation and collaboration (Afzalan, 2013; Armitage et al., 2009; Batty & Marshall, 2012; Batty, 2010; De roo & Silva, 2010; De Roo & Wezemael, 2012) State organizations, local governments, and non governmental organizations have crucial roles in facilitating and taking part in the participatory efforts (Bickerstaff, Tolley, & Walker, 2002; F. Fischer, 2000; Nolon, 2009; Karen Trapenberg Frick, 2014) Adopting sustainability and adaptation strategies require the integration of multiple decisions, which consist of the participation of various typ es of stakeholders who can analyze and discuss interrelationships between strategies and their future consequences (Adger, Arnell, & Tompkins, 2005; Ostrom, 2010 b) Several factors can affect these processes, including accurate knowledge about future climate related impacts of our current actions, the society perception of the issues and related risks, specific cultural and or organizational contexts, and the o bjectives of adaptation (Adger et al., 2008) Plan making processes are tied to the inherent dynamics of land use and environmental planning, particularly to the organizational and technical forces that influence the plan making process. Land use planning, is a tool that facilitates environmental planning purposes (Randolph, 2004) Its effective integration with current p lan making systems requires specific attention to the contextual needs, as well as the opportunities and limitations of the particular area that the plan is being created for. The following paragraphs briefly explore the importance of land use planning in incorporating the ideas of sustainability into plan making, to elaborate on some of the challenges and opportunities of doing so. Environmental planning is a multi disciplinary approach and covers wide range of topics, form global warming to protecting or planning for natural systems (Cox, 2013; Randolph, 2004) It can include strategies and policies of climate adaptation (See Birkmann & Teichman, 2010; Gill et al., 2007 ; Adger et al., 2008) natural hazard management (See Afzalan et.al, 2014; Altay

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30 & Green, 2006; P. R. Berke, 2006; Birkmann, 2006; Jrn Birkmann & Teichman, 2010; B. R. J. Burby, Deyle, Godsc halk, & Olshansky, 2000; Uitto, 1998) or land use planning (See Campbell, 2007; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Randolph, 2004; Rydin, 2010) As a result, it requires to engage a wide range o f disciplines, including environmental science, environmental economics, environmental evaluation, environmental politics, and collaboration and conflict resolution (Randolph, 2004, 5). Several factors influence environmental planning processes. These inc lude plan type, interaction between stakeholders and the involved actors (Innes & Booher, 2010; Randolph, 2004) management processes ( Leroy and Arts, 2006) perception (Adger et al., 2008) For example, variety of ethical values, lack of knowledge about future impacts of climate change, perception of risk by society, and undervaluing contextual assets focused on place and culture, can greatly influence environmen tal management processes (Adger et al., 2008, 349) In addition, plan making processes require adopting different approaches based on plan types. Planning for vulnerability assess ment (See Birkmann, 2006; B. R. Burby et al., 2000) or hazard mitigation planning (See Godschalk, 2003) has different timing requirements compar ing to planning for emergency response where managing and coordinating available sources is the main challenge (See Altay & Green, 2006; Ingram, Franco, Rio, & Khazai, 2006) In addition, while management processes and organizational considerations influence the environmental plan making processes, the individual planners also play an important role in facilitating and negotiating these processes; for example through having the authority to impose land use development conditions (Stevens, 2010) or perceiving the value of such processes. Land use planning should correspond to environmental capacities, the capability of the environment in carrying specific activities without experiencing a sever e damage (Owens & Cowell, 1996; Rydin, 2010) Location allocati on or design of land use influences several environmental related

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31 issues, including natural hazards by increasing or reducing their risks, or even community character and cultural heritage through enforcing new ways of human and nature interactions (Randol ph, 2004, 47). Land use planning play an important role in resolving the inherent tensions in the concept of sustainable development which tries to resolve the tension between economic development, environmental development, and social equity (see Godschalk and Communities, 2004; Godschalk and Communities (2004 ) Land use planners can facilitate this process by trying to resolve the property confl icts, the resource conflicts, and the development conflicts (Campbell, 2007) or through dealing with the conflicts that result from implementing visionary ideas required for sustainable develo pment ( Godschalk and Communities, 2004) Godschalk and Communities also go further and argue that the future of land use planning may well depend on how it resolves these conflicts and creates settlement patterns tha t are both livable and sustainable Several considerations should be taken into account in land use planning practices, not only due to its direct environmental consequences, but also its other consequences including equity or social issues. Land use plan ning can have a large welfare and distributional effects across various income groups ( Cheshire and Sheppard, 2002); it can affect the low income communities or minorities who may have less capability to move to a healthier area, or fewer access to social networks and political leaderships. Land use planning should manages influential political forces, including the interest of various stakeholder, whether it is used for promoting the ideas of socio environmental sustainability, or for supporting communitie Schilling and Logan, 2008) through equal distribution of green infrastructure systems, or for enhancing hazard mitigation plans (See Burby, Deyle, Godschalk, & Olshansky, 2000b) through subdivision regulations. The role of planners in handling these forces will be di scussed in the next section.

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32 Contextual factors influence land use decisions. For example, green infrastructure allocations can bring issues related to relocation, displacement, and environmental justice; demolition versus rehabilitation Property ownershi p; or financial sources and fiscal stability ( Schilling and Logan, 2008, 461) Considering contextual factors, including population, social satisfaction, and lifestyle behavior influence the success of land use decisions; disregarding these factors can lead to community dissatisfaction and in equality ( Grove et al., 2006) Although plan making practices are not solely focused on land use decisions, they are still strongly managed by forces of resource allocation and land development. The nature of environmental land use planning, as a multi disciplinary and multi scale pract ice, requires effective collaboration between stakeholders to incorporate local and professional knowledge into various stages of plan making and to engage various organizations and community groups. To have an environmentally and ecologically sustainable future, we need changes in ways we define our values, and our lifestyles; we need to engage in dialogues about ways in which we can pursue these aims (Moser & Dilling, 2007) The opportunities and challenges of engaging diverse stakeholders at multiple scales is discussed. The question is whether online technologies can h elp planning organizations learn from diverse communities. Can they allow communities to engage in dialogue and collaborative process to resolve possible conflicting ideas? To what extent are online tools capable of facilitating social interaction or infor mation sharing among communities at different scales? How can planning organizations use these technologies effectively? These ideas are discussed in the next section. 2.3. Technology for Participation This section discusses the opportunities and challenges of using new technologies in planning processes. It first argues the capacity of the new technologies in generating local knowledge for

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33 planners and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders, then, it argues the challenges of incorporating these technolog ies in planning processes through an organizational point of view. 2.3.1. The Promises of Information Technology and Social Media The competence of Information Technology, social media, and mobile technologies in facilitating information sharing and social inter actions, beside their growing popularity among citizens, has generated discourses among planning academics and professionals on their usefulness in responding to the everlasting challenges of stakeholder engagement (Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Evans Cowley, 2010; Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Evans Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Foth, 2011; Kavanaugh et al., 2005; Tay ebi, 2013; Trapenberg Frick, Weinzimmer, & Waddell, 2014) However, as discussed in the earlier chapter, the challenges of capacity of incorporating particip The question of the capacity of online technologies in facilitating participatory processes is still a planning question rather than a technology one. This dissertation does not only explore the capacity of new technologies in responding to these challenges, but also the capacity of planners and planning organizations in incorporating these technologies in their current planning processes, as new pa rticipatory systems. This dissertation does not focus on ways in which technical considerations of designing web based tools influence their capacity of facilitating or (see Greenberg & Marwood, 1994; Suchman, 1983; Tang, 1989; Zuboff, 1988) or on the relationship between the type of participatory tools and their effectiveness in facilitat ing participatory processes (see Williamson & Parolin, 2013) but on ways in which planners and planning organizations can incorporate them in their participatory planning systems based on the available or potential org anizational or technological opportunities and limitations. Exploring the incorporation of new participatory technologies in planning

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34 processes, which requires the study of organizational capacity of planning institutions in adopting novel processes, will be d iscussed later in this chapter. 2.3.1.1. Online planning technologies for collaboration: opportunities and concerns The discourse on the use of technology in plan making and decision making is not new. It goes back to the discussion of the use of computers and Planning Support Systems, or Decision Support Systems, by planning organizations, as tools that support data gathering and storage, data visualizations, computation processes, modeling, or predicting the future of land use decisions (See Batty, 1995; Danziger, 1977; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Klosterman, 199 7; Klosterman, 1999; Plunmny, 1998) These studies have more focused on supporting decision making among a group of experts rather than diverse stakeholders including community members. With the recent technological advances, the invention of Internet and social media, new types of planning or decision support systems have emerged. These technologies can support new types of information gathering or decision making with a focus on bottom up and citizen facilitated processes (Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan & Muller, 2014) While researching the role of social media and c itizen governed online forums in facilitating self organizing activities (see Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan & Muller, 2014) and participatory processes is relevant to the discussion of technologically mediated participation, this dissertation is primarily focused on the role of online tools, governed by local or state governments, in implementing participatory processes. The use of computer aided technology in planning and decision making has been strongly sup ported by the growth in popularity of GIS and its applications in supporting location based analysis and visualization (Klosterman, 1997) and has been continuously evolving to adopt new tasks. UrbanSim (see Waddell, 2002; Waddell, 2007) and Co mmunityViz (see Bailey, Blandford, Grossardt, & Ripy, 2011; Drummond & French, 2008; Klosterman & Pettit, 2005) and What if (Klosterman, 2001; Klosterman, 1999) are good examples of these commercialized tools which are now moving towards more participatory processes through their integration wit h the online

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35 environment. Although these technologies have traditionally been mainly used to facilitate top down (expert based) decision making processes, as support tools for planners to make decisions and test scenarios, they now are moving towards more participatory systems which can support ones (see Goodspeed, 2013). This dissertation considers Online Participatory Tools (OPTs) as new types of planning sup port systems which can be used by planning organizations to support participatory planning processes. Online Participatory Tools relate to (a) planning tools that are particularly designed for planning and decision making purposes and are controlled mainl y by public or private agencies (e.g. MindMixer, PlaceSpeak), as well as (b) social networking sites which are not particularly designed for planning purposes and are mainly controlled by citizens or community groups, but can be used for planning purposes as well (e.g. Facebook, Twitter). The focus of this dissertation is on the first type of these technologies that are particularly designed to engage stakeholders in planning and decision making processes. The discussion on the use of OPTs in planning is n ot new. During the last decade or so, several scholars have argued the role of social media and information technology in facilitating collaborative processes and managing power imbalances, from different perspectives and at different scales; from the role of global information networks in empowering socio political interactions to the capacity of online neighborhood forums in facilitating local dialogues or mobilizing actions (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Castells, 2013; Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; s Evans Cowley, 2011; Goodspeed, 2014; Marshall & Novick, 1995; Rhoads, 2010; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Tayebi, 2013a, 2013b; Townsend, 2001, 2013 ; Afzalan & Evans Cowley, 2015) This discourse not on ly argues the potentials of using new technologies in planning and policy making, specifically participatory processes, but also explores the considerations and limitations for their effective use.

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36 However, there are controversies over the role of web bas ed forums in facilitating dialogue and incorporating ideas of social equity and inclusive planning, as two premier components of participatory planning processes. Several scholars have argued the capacity of web based technologies in supporting decision ma king processes through augmenting validity of dialogues, enhancing the thoughtfulness of agreement reaching efforts, and making the discussion processes more transparent (See Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Cona, 1997; Mrker & Schmidt Belz, 2000; Marshall & Novick, 1995; Soukup, 2006) While several scholars are hesitant about the effectiveness of technology in facilitating dialogue and mutual understanding among stakeholders, Marshal and Novic (1995) believe that dismissing visual cues from discussion does not necessarily affect understanding. DeSanctis and Monge (1999: 697) even argue that removing visual cues may facilitat e message understanding. They clarify that by providing enough contextual information, creation of mutual understanding in online environments is not very challenging. Conroy and Gordon (2004) also assert that the use of technology in public meetings lead to greater participant satisfaction and richer knowledge building. Rhoads (2010, 111) believes that there ar e no valid proofs showing that face to face discussion is more effective than online discussion in participatory projects. Considering computer mediated environments as social spaces for having informal interactions, Soukup (2006) believes that computer ne tworks can provide environments for communication that are similar to non virtual ones. Hampton (2002) also supports this idea and argues that computer mediated communication builds community through facilitating community involvement and strengthening of social networks. On the other hand, some scholars assert that exchange of knowledge in online environments is possible, but difficult (Cornelius & Boos, 2003; Figueroa, Kincaid, Rani, & Lewis, 2002; Hilt z, 1994; Panteli & Sockalingam, 2005; Watson, DeSanctis, & Poole, 1988) They argue that without enough experience in synchronous Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), mutual understanding is limited. Watson et al. (1988) argue that face to face commun ication is more successful in facilitating consensus and resolving conflicts than

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37 computer mediated communication. Pacagnella (1997: 5) also supports this idea and believes that scholars (e.g. Rhoads, 2010; Cornelius and Boos, 2003) also assert that Face to face interaction involves social signals that facilitate effective communication and lack of these cues in controlling conversation flow can result in distorted communication and confusion. On the other hand, neighborhood online forums are capable of facilitating social ties, community participation, and dialogue by allowing people to meet and have face to face interaction, if needed (Afzalan& Muller, 2014; Foth, 2006; Hampton & Wellman, 2003; Hampton, 2003, 2007 ; Craig 1998; Tayebi, 2013) While generating privacy concerns (Foth, 2006), these place based online forums can build trust (Budthimedhee, Li, & George, 2002; Rhoads, 2010) and foster social capital in local communities (Hampton & Wellman, 2002) ; stronger social capital helps the community have more transparent discussions (Innes and Booher, 2010, 99). In their study of the usability of an online neighborhood forum in green infrastructure planning, Afzalan and Mul ler (2014) support the idea that place based online forums can provide claims thorough facilitating face to face interactions and allowing the participants t o clarify their intentions and resolve conflicts at their convenience. Online technologies and social media can facilitate or hinder more democratic processes. They can facilitate such processes through supporting more flexible interaction among stakehold (Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Foth, 2011; Vieweg, Palen, Liu, Hughes, & Sutton, 2008 ; Boyd & Ellison, 2007 ; Budthimedhee, Li, & George, 2002) and allowing planners to distribute information more widely (Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010b; Mandarano, Meenar, & Steins, 2010; Starbird & Palen, 2013) or simply be more responsive to the community (Evans Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012a) On the other hand, the use of online technologies and social media can lead to equity and

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38 participatory decision making and providing planning services (Daw es, 2008: S87), the question is, to what extent the digital governments have been successful in providing these services equally for different societies? Several scholars (e.g. Choudrie, Weerakkody, & Jones, 2005; Dawes, 2008; Graham, 2002) believe that the government use of ICTs has weakened the influence of marginalized communities and empowered the influence of more affluent ones; and resulted in culturally and economically biased plans or developments (Graham, 2002). Providing better Internet accessibility by local gove rnments is one of the strategies for responding to the digital divide (Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Choudrie et al., 2005) or develop educational enviro nments (Graham, 2002) Moreover, there is concern considering the privacy issues regarding the use of ICTs in planning processes and the in teraction of citizens with the built environment (see Ahas & Mark, 2005; Shiode, 2010 ; Palen & Dourish, 2003 ; Jeffrey et al., 2008) These issues are primarily (Jeffrey et al., 2008; A. Townsend, 2013) Privacy issues of using data generated through online movements in urban areas (see Ahas & Mark, 2005; Townsend, 2013) to monitoring land use ownership data (Shiode, 2000) These concerns should be addressed by planning organizations to ensure equitable and incl usive planning process. There are several concerns regarding the effective use of new participatory tools or required to explore the effectiveness of these new me thods in plan making process and ways in which planners perceive their usefulness. Whether and how these technologies facilitate planning does this empowerment influe

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39 power for citizens or other stakeholders to interact and plan with planners? How do planners perceive the opportunities and constraints of such technology mediated processes? While I am not a nswering all these questions in my dissertation, I consider these as important questions that should be answered due to their potential influence in planning theory and practice. 2.3.1.2. Online planning technologies for engaging local knowledge: opportunities and concerns Despite several concerns of using data generated through online technologies and social media, such as privacy and equity considerations, these mediums provide new opportunities to harness local knowledge from a large and diverse community through crowdsou rcing. It is not only about the power of technology, e.g. sensors or mobile phones, in collecting citizen generated data (Goodchild, 2007; Gouveia & Fonseca, 2008; Kamel Boulos et al., 2011) but also the power of technology in facilitating simpler participation of citizens in generating data and expressing their interests (Afzalan et al., 2014; Afzalan, 2014 ; Brabham, 2008; Evans Cowley, 2012; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Townsend, 2001; Williamson & Parolin, 2012) Introducing generative systems theory, Zittrain, (2006) argues that the generativity capacity of online technologies (leveraging across a range of tasks, adaptability to a range of different t asks, ease of mastery, and accessibility) can help the development of new and unexpected ideas. However, to function effectively, these technologies should be integrated with other planning methods and organizational systems (J. G. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012) This conversation is tied to the ideas of using crowdsourcing methods management processes. Due to technological progress in communication and information sharing, crowdsourcing, a method of outsourcing problem solving (Howe, 2006) has attract ed more attention from scholars and practitioners from different fields, including business, management, urban and environmental planning, transportation planning (Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012a) Crowdsourcing is a model to exploit collective intelligence of a group and creative solutions to

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40 help organizations work more efficiently through solvi ng complicated problems (Brabham, 2009) Lvy & Bonomo (1999, 21) introduce this collective intelligence as a distributed and synchronous system which is constantly improved and can mobilize collective intelligence through facilitating interactivity and accessibility amon g technology users. Although crowdsourcing and citizen engagement share similar intentions, both are looking for engaging local knowledge, they have several differences as well; mainly due to their focus on public interest. While participatory planning see ks social equity and engagement of all communities, crowdsourcing does not pursue a similar intent (Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012a) On the other hand, some scholars (See Brabham, 2009; Brabham, Sanchez, & Bartholomew, 2010) argue that crowdsourcing can respond to challenges of democratic participation by facilitating wing the representation of more diverse communities, and generating collective intelligence. While crowdsourcing is not only about the use of spatial knowledge, the integration of GIS and World Wide Web has put more emphasis on the participatory nature of GIS and its usability for crowdsourcing spatial knowledge (See Barton, Plume, & Parolin, 2005; Goodchild, 2007) allowing sharing and combini ng various experiences and information (Flanagin & Metzger, 2008; Gouveia & Fonseca, 2008) During the last decade or so, we have seen a grow ing interest in research on applications of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in planning and decision making. VGI, as geospatial content that is being generated by users to meet the needs of various communities (Goodchild, 2007) participatory nature of GIS (Bishr & Mantelas, 2008; Sieber, 2007) Local spatial knowledge can enhance institutions' decision making by providing qualitative and quantitative local information (Barton et al., 2005) about micro level dynamics of urban areas which is different from other types of data that have been discovered in traditional mapping methods (Bishr & Mantelas, 2008) VGI can be generated by participants who either are or are not formally invited to participate in knowledge creation. Local governments can facilitate

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41 s or avoid possible conflicts (Seeger, 2008) Crowdsourcing as organization that benefits from the crowd activity, (b) the crowd, and (c) a platform that hosts the crowd activity and links it to the organization (Zhao & Zhu, 2012) Evans Cowley (2011) suggests the following consid erations for planners when applying crowdsourcing methods: (a) crowdsourcing costs money and time, (b) it is not easy to attract people to participate in the crowdsourcing activity, (c) there is the issue of the digital divide and equality in access to the Internet, (d) both the users and the sponsors require technical support, (e) logging in should be a requirement for users in order to understand who is participating, (f) continuous feedback should provide information for citizens to learn about what is h appening, (g) in order to have a successful crowdsourcing activity, the problems should be clear and defined well, (h) crowdsourcing may generate a large amount of responses and data that are not easy to be handled. However, there are several concerns reg arding the usability of user generated information through online sources. This information has been produced through bottom up approaches and does not rely on top down monitoring processes that control the information quality. It is not filtered; therefor e, it may not be very well organized, accurate, or up to date. (Metzger & Flanagin, 2003; Goodchild & Li, 2012; Flanagin & Metzger, 2008; Rie h & Danielson, 2008) Specifically, there are several concerns regarding the quality (Giordano, Liersch, Vurro, & Hirsch, 2010 ; Hall et al., 2013; Scheuer et.al., 2013) credibility (Bishr & Kuhn, 2007 ; Seeger, 2008; Flanagin& Metzger, 2008 ) and vagueness of this information (Longueville, Ostl¨ander, & Keskitalo, 2009) Some researchers also argue that using this knowledge may cause issues of privacy, security (Barton et al., 2005) and access to the Internet (Seeger, 2008) Most of the studies related to evaluation of this quality of this information is related to exploring the nature of this information, instead of whether and how it can be useful for particular policy purposes; For

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42 example, we can see its attachement to specific contextual situation, or number of people participated in information production, or level of interactivity among stakeholders in producing the information. There is a need to explore the usability of such informaiton through exploring policy implications and perception of information users, similar to the works of Cash et al. (2003) i n exploring the usefulness of informaiton for environmental policy purposes. 2.3.2. Organizational Use of New Technologies: Considerations and Challenges Planning theory has been more focused on exploring the role of planning organizations in facilitating partic ipatory process rather than ways in which these organizations should function, particularly ways in which they need to infuse new participatory methods (For example see Batty, 2010; Booher & Innes, 2002; Forester, 1989; Hillier, 1998; C. Hoch, 2009; J. Innes & Booher, 2010) Structure and Agency in Land and Property Development Processes: Some Ideas for Research development processes was a valuable effort in opening the details of such discourse in planning field; Although few other planning theorists (e.g. Flyvbjerg, 2002; Castells, 2011) have co ntinued this trend of study from other perspectives, the research on exploring the functions of planning organizations and agencies have not been continued rigorously by planning theorists during the last decade or so. Based on the strong emphasis of plan ning theory on incorporating participatory processes, there is a need to explore the organizational structure of planning agencies for incorporating new strategies and methods into their current planning systems. We see detailed and on going research on or ganizational capacity of local governments in adopting new tasks, and particularly novel technologies in the field of public policy (see Bertot, Jaeger, & Grimes, 2010; Brown, Jr, & Brudney, 1998; Brudney, 1995; Cresswell & Sheikh, 2013; Ferguson, Green,

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43 Vaswani, & Wu, 2013; Gil Garca & Pardo, 2005; R. Godschalk, 1996; Journal, 1996; Leslie & King, 1982; Musso, Weare, & Hale, 2000) This section frames the organizational considerations of planning institutions for adopti ng new online participatory methods through discussing the importance of the topic and exploring the nuts and bolts of such incorporation. Planning organization research is tied to the discussion of power and politics in planning and explores the role of f ormal and informal organizations in shaping planning practice or benefited from the ideas of organizational theorists (e.g. Bostrom & Heinen, 1977; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994; Giddens, 1984; Keen & Morton, 1978) it has not been discussed deeply as part of collaborative processes. Organizational research on sustainability decision making processes is complex dues to the diversity of internal and external factors diversity of involved issues, working groups, or stakeholders. Focusing on environmental policy making, policy organizations include the following dimensions: (a) the involved actors and their coalitio ns; (b) the division of resources between these actors which leads to differences in power and influence; (c) the rules of the game within the arrangement, either in terms of formal policy discourses, entailing the norms and values, the definitions of problems and approaches to solutions of the actors involved (Leroy & Arts, 2006) For example, the following actors should collaborate ions and controlling land use and development, using various tools such as subdivision regulations and zoning; (b) Private actors, including land owners, private markets, relators, and designers, who pursue profit motivated activities for land developments ; (c) Civil society, including land owners,

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44 environmental groups, non governmental organizations, and citizen groups, who can influence environmental activities by participating in decision making, preserving environmental resources, and negotiating develo pment proposals. (Randolph, 2004, 5) ed as part of the different planners may have different ideas on the usefulness of the information that they have in hand for the purpose of plan making. Cash et al. (2003, 8086) argues that for information to be effective in policy making, it should be perceived by stakeholders as credible, salient and ty involves the scientific adequacy of the technical evidence and arguments. Salience deals with the relevance of the assessment to the needs of decision makers. Legitimacy reflects the perception that the production of information and technology has been respectful of opposing views and interests." Decision makers should also be equipped to mobilize knowledge to action through effective communication, translat ion, and mediation, as well as collaboration with boundary organizations, who play an intermediate role between scientist and decision makers to resolve the tensions ( Cash et al., 2003, 8088 8090) Based on the focus of this dissertation on the incorporation of new participatory methods into current planning systems and organizations, it is important to explore how planners and organizations facilitate this process pragmatically. To manage new procedures, planning institutions may require making organizational and political changes, adopting new frameworks, or having more flexible goals and procedures (Kapoor, 2001) For planning organizations to use new technologies, designed by industries, they require to work with outside organizations. The capacity of organizations in connecting with outside groups, formal or informal, influences their fun ction. Palfrey and Gasser (2012) critically argue interconnectivity between systems, including planning organizations, in their book Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected

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45 Systems They argue that interoperability, at four level of techno logy, human, data, and institutional, can create complex interconnected systems which can either lead to innovation and creativity, or to locking the system. They suggest that to accommodate innovation, a system should be flexible and changeable over time, while allowing its different sections work together (53). Based on Interopability Theory, planning organizations require to deeply explore opportunities and limitations of incorporating new participatory tools in their current planning systems. For exampl e, they should examine whether they require hiring new staff for analyzing big data they have collected through using new technologies. Flyvbjerg (2006) creates his organization research framework, Phronesis approa ch, based on Aristotles' ideas and hermeneutics by emphasizing on the role of power in intuitional collaboration and deliberation of values and diverse interests (372). Phronesis is context dependent and focuses on values, judgments, and social orders rat her than technical or scientific knowledge (370& 372). He argues that organization research should focus on values, and ask "where are we going", "is it desirable", and "what should be done" (375); focus on little but deep, detailed, and thick questions. ( 377); value power forces and imbalances; emphasize practice more than discourse (376); benefit from studying case studies; go beyond looking at agency structures and structuralism theory and explore both structures and actors (380). Interpretive and narrat ive structuration theory (1984) are used to frame my dissertation questions, where I explore the organizational capacity of planning institutions in incorporating new participatory methods into their planning systems. Similar to hermeneutic approaches, structuralism (s ee Giddens, 1984) has also been strongly influential in shaping the organizational research, where the role of agencies and agents production and reproductio n of social action are at the same time the means of system [or

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46 (Giddens, 1984, 1 9) Taking a socio technical approach, DeSanctis and Poole (1994) introduce Adaptive Structuralism Theory (AST). Building their theory on structuralism or institut ional school (see Giddens, 1984), social technology school (see Bostrom & Heinen, 1977) and decision making school (see Keen & Morton, 1978) they introduce their theory to explore the influence of computation technology in organizational effectiveness. AST studies both the technology and the structure that are reproduced through the use of technology by humans (DeSanctis & Poole, 1994, 121) and chara cteristics of the technologies as important influential forces this process (122). AST explores the interaction between the following four major sources of structure: technology, environment, task, the group's interaction (144). The institutional considera tions of using technology for participatory governance requires based technologies in their management systems (Brynjolfsson, 2012) The ideas of e government and recent discussions on smart cities, discuss the incorporation of information technology in go vernance from different angles.

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47 Fig. .2.1. Summary of AST propositions (DeSanctis & Poole, 1994, 132) The review of the current literature, summarizes the organizational considerations of using technology as the following issues: Collabora tion and interoperability: within and outside organizational collaborations influence the successful incorporation of technology and new methods in current institutional systems. Collaboration with outside organizations helps the incorporation of new techn ologies (Brown et al., 1998; Dhillon & Backhouse, 1996; Estevez & Janowski, 2013; Ho, 2002; Landsbergen Jr. & Wolken Jr., 2001; Layne & Lee, 2001; J. G. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012; A. Townsend, 2013) Resources and funding: organizations require enough resources and funding for effective use of technology (Brown et al., 1998; Edmiston, 2 003) Contextual and environmental factors:

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48 Project type and environmental characteristics: there is a relationship between the type of projects, the characteristics of the environment in which manages the project, and the effectiveness of technologies (Felin & Zenger, 2014; Gil Garca & Pardo, 2005) For example, in some cases new technologies may be more useful in small scaled projects rather than big scale ones. Organization type: the type and mission of organizations can influence the effectiveness of technology incorporation (Gillett, Lehr, & Osorio, 2004; A. Townsend, 2013) Attitudes and skills of decision makers: perceptions, attitudes, and abilities of decision makers and planners in usin g technology influences the usefulness of technology (Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011; Brynjolfsson, 2012; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Ventura, 1995, Cash et.al., 2003 ; Sl otterback, 2011) Attitudes and perceptions of the community: The attitudes and skills of citizens towards using technology for participation can influence this process (Palen et al., 2010; Stutzman, 2005) People are concerned about sharing their identity in the online environment (Stutzman, 2005) or making their full profile information visible (Harrison & Thomas, 2009) as they are worried about organizational and s ocial threats (Krasnova, Gnther, Spiekermann, & Koroleva, 2009, 39) Laws and regulations can influence how organizations adopt technologies or perceive their usefulness (Gil Garca & Pardo, 2005) Equity and privacy considerati ons: various communities and stakeholders are going to be positively or negatively affected in different ways by the use of technology (Desouza & Jacob, 2014; Edmiston, 2003; Enticott, 2003; Rina Ghose, 2001; A. Townsend, 2013)

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49 Several other studies w ith a focus on developing participatory processes, regardless of their focus on the incorporation of new participatory technologies or methods, also inform the organizational research. Good examples of such scholarly research are the studies of Gelders et.al. (2010) on the development of six criteria for evaluation of a successful public participation process (collaboration, resources, policy involvement, communication, context, and continuity of process), or the stu dy of Bryson et.al. (2013 24) on designing guid elines for public participation by emphasizing developing clear goals based on contextual factors, defining and analyzing resources, and continuous evaluation of the process. Incorporating new methods of engagement with the old organizations can be challen ging (Innes & Gruber, 2005) Planners must be ready to face and manage these changes (Evans Cowley, 2011; Hepworth, 1990) and learn how to engage the citizens in the forums that they are actively using every day (Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010) This preparation and equipment should happen at various scales, from national organizations, to state or local governments, and to individual policy makers and planners. Sti ll, various questions have remained unanswered; are planning organizations required to get prepared to effectively incorporate online participatory tools in their planning processes? If so, what type of changes they should make? Are these changes mainly ab out modifying internal resources or augmenting external collaborations? Traditionally, planning practice has not been actively collaborating with technology industries for planning or decision making purposes; do they now need to make changes in their atti tudes? 2.4. Discussion This chapter discussed the following argument: plan making, with the current focus on incorporating environmental concerns, is a complex process and requires collaboration of diverse stakeholders at different scales. Participatory proces ses are challenging; the advent of new online technologies may provide valuable opportunities for planning institutions to respond to these challenges. Several factors, including the organizational capacity of these institutions can

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50 influence the effective ness of incorporating new participatory methods in plan making processes. Further research is required to evaluate the usefulness of these methods and technologies for planning organizations. Online participatory tools can provide new and valuable opportu nities to address purposes of employing participatory processes, they raise several concerns for doing such. The following table summarizes the purposes of the participatory planning practices and the considerations of using online technologies for addressing those purposes. Table 2 3: Considerations of U sing Online Technologies for Addressing Participatory Planning Purposes Stakeholder engagement in plan making The capacity of online technology Purposes Sources Considerations Sources Incorporating full range of stakeholders (Bo oher & Innes, 2002; Brody et al., 2003b; Corburn, 2003b; F. Fischer, 2000; Forester, 1989; Gray, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Ostrom, 2010a; Randolph, 2004; Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989) The capacity to attract more citizens and more diverse population to participate in the planning process (Castells, 2013; Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Evans Cowley, 2011; Goodspeed, 2014; Rhoads, 2010; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Tayebi, 2013b; Townsend, 2001; Foth, 2011) Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio demographic biases (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Afzalan, 2014; Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Choudrie et al., 2005; Dawes, 2008; Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Graham, 2002; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012) Engaging key stakeholders and community leaders (Corburn, 2003b, 2005; Forester, 1989; Innes & Booher, 2010b) The capacity to find active online stakeholders (Afzalan, Evans Cowley & Mirzazad, 2014; Evans Cowley & Hollander, 2010; Tayebi, 2013a; Townsend, 2013 ; Shklovski, Palen, & Sutton, 2008) Table 2.3 cont.

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51 Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio demographic biases (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; 2004; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Gonza, 2013; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Odendaal, 2003) Informing stakeholders (Brody et al., 2003b; Forester, 1989; Friedmann, 1987; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Stevenson, 2007) The capacity to disseminate information broadly, or correct misinformation (Manuel Castells, 2011; Jennifer Evans Cowley & Manta Conroy, 2006; Ghose, 2001; Hepworth, 1990; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012 ; Hughes & Palen, 2012; Shklovski et al., 2008) Issues of misinforming citizens; and issues of digital divide 2004; Estevez & Janowski, 2013; Foth, 2006; Geertman & Stillwell, 2004; Gonza, 2013; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Seltzer & Mah moudi, 2012) Consensus building, conflict resolution, and reaching agreements (Booher & Innes 2002; Forester, 1989; Habermas, 1985b; P Healey, 1998; Hiller, 2005; Charles Hoch, 2007d; Innes & Booher, 1999, 2010b; Margerum, 2002; Susskind & Cruikshank, 1989; Susskind & Ozawa, 1983) The capacity of facilitating consensus building and dialogue (Afzalan & Muller, 2014; Cona, 1997; Mrker & Schmidt Belz, 2000; Marshall & Novick, 1995; Soukup, 2006) Issues of creating noise and conflicts (Corneli us & Boos, 2003; Figueroa et al., 2002; Hiltz, 1994; Panteli & Sockalingam, 2005; Watson et al., 1988) Engaging local knowledge and public interest (Corburn, 2005; F. Fischer, 2000; Innes & Booher, 2010b; Raymond et al., 2010) The capacity of crowdsourcing ( Afzalan, 2014 ; Brabham, 2008; Evans Cowley, 2012; Howe, 2006; Brabham, Sanchez, & Bartholomew, 2010; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012; Townsend, 2001; Williamson & Parolin 2012) Issues of digital divide in crowdsourcing (Brabham, 2009a; Evans Cowley, 2011; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012) Issues of data (Giordano, Liersch, Table 2.3 cont.

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52 usefulness (quality, credibility, and vagueness). Vurro, & Hirsch, 2010 ; Hall et al., 2013; Scheuer et.al., 2013 ; credibility (Bishr & Kuhn, 2007 ; Seeger, 2008; Flanagin& Metzger, 2008 ; Keskitalo, 2009) Managing power imbalances (Castells, 2013; Manuel Castells, 2011; Fainstein, 2000; Flyvbjerg, 2001; Forester, 1989; Friedmann, 1987; Healey & Williams, 1993; Huxley & Yiftachel, 2000; Huxley 2000) The capacity of power distribution (Castells, 2 010, 2013; Castells, 2011; Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Tayebi, 2013b; Townsend, 2013) Issues of augmenting power imbalances (Choudrie, Weerakkody, & Jones, 2005; Dawes, 2008; Graham, 2002 ; Castells, 2013; Tayebi, 2013b) Designing new options and coming up with novel ideas (Batty, 2007; Booher & Innes, 2002; Brabham, 2009b; Evans Cowley, 2011; C. Hoch, 2009; Judith Innes & Booher, 2010; Knight, 1995; Reed, 2008; van Kerkhoff & Lebel, 2006) The capacity of generating novel and unexpected ideas (Evans Cowley, 2012; J. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012b; Zittrain, 2006) Responding to specific rules and mandates (Brody et al., 2003b; Bryson et al., 2013) Issues of privacy an d security (Barton et al., 2005; D. Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Seeger, 2008; A. Townsend, 2001) Mobilizing actions (Brabham, 2009b; Castells, 1983; Folke, Hahn, Olsson, & Norberg, 2005; Judith Innes & Booher, 2010) The capacity of social mobilization (D. C. Brabham, 2009b; Tayebi, 2013b; Wellman & Haase, 2001; White, Palen, & Anderson, 2012) As demonstrated in the earlier table, although online technologies have the capacity to facilitate various participatory planning purposes, several considerations should be taken into account for their effective usefulness. Particularly, the use of online planning tools in participatory processes may depend on ways in which they are incorporated in planning organizations and whether and how these organizations are equipped for such incorporation. The following table summarizes considerations of incorporatin g OPTs in planning organizations. Table 2.3 cont.

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53 Table. 2.4: Considerations of I ncorporating OPTs in P lanning O rganizations Considerations Sources Organizational collaboration: Inside and outside collaborations Type of collaborations (e.g. for technical purposes or consultation ones) Type of involved organizations (industries, public agencies, private organizations) Relationship between organizations (Brown et al., 1998; Dhillon & Backhouse, 1996; Estevez & Janowski, 2013; Ho, 2002; Landsbergen Jr. & Wolken Jr., 2001; Layne & Lee, 2001; J. Palfrey & Gasser, 2012; Townsend, 2013) Resources: Availability of staff Availability of funding or technology, and duration of their availability (Brown et al., 1998; Edmiston, 2003; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994) Project type and environmental character istics: Plan type (e.g. regional or local; policy or design) Region (e.g. entire city, downtown, or neighborhood) Project supporter (funding organization) (Felin & Zenger, 2014; Gil Garca & Pardo, 2005) Laws and regulations: Citizen engagement mandates Regulations of using technology (e.g. Privacy regulations) Organization rules (Gil Garca & Pardo, 2005; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994) Organization type: Type of planning organization (e.g. state government, local government, planning co nsultant) (Gillett, Lehr, & Osorio, 2004; Palfrey & Gasser, 2012; Townsend, 2013; Innes and Booher, 2010) Perceptions, attitudes and ski lls of planners: Attitudes towards using new methods Perceptions of using new technologies Past experience of using technology (Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011; Brynjolfsson, 2012; DeSanctis & Poole, 1994; Godschalk & Communities, 2007; Ventura, 1995, Cash et.al., 2003 ; Slotterback, 2011) Attitudes and perceptions of citizens and community groups Perception of democratic processes Attitude towards using technology for participatory purposes Technology literacy (Palen et al., 20 10; Stutzman, 2005; Harrison & Thomas, 2009; Krasnova et. al., 2009). The following paragraphs summarize a framework for the incorporation of OPTs in plan making. includes plan capacity, organization capacity, and community capacity and d escribes the context in which plan making process is occurring. Plan making environment consists of various factors, Table 2.4 cont.

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54 including the scale of the plan, the attitude of the planning organization or the planner in using new technologies, and the experience or attitude of the community or citizens who use the capability in facilitating social interactions and sharing information can affect the plan making process and the OPT The plan making process explains how OPTs are incorporated in plan making based on their purpose of use and through internal or external organizational collaborations. For example, whether and how the planning organization have worked with an outside organization or agency to introduce the tool to citizens or analyze the knowledge generated through the tool. Fig. 2.2: General framework for the incorporation of OPTs in plan making This general framework helps with explorin g the incorporation and usability of OPTs from various angles, including The following table shows the

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55 Table. 2.5: lan Making Organizational resources Project type and environmental characteristics Laws and regulations Organization types Perceptions, attitudes and skills of planners The capability of online technologies are summarized in the following table.

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56 Table 2.5: The capability of online technologies The capability of online technologies (opportunities and constraints) Potential opportunities Attracting more citizens and more diverse population Generating novel and unexpected ideas Crowdsourcing knowledge Finding and recruiting active online stakeholders Disseminating information broadly, or correct misinformation Facilitating consensus building and dialogue Potential challenges Issues of data usefulness (quality and credibility). Issues of augmenting power imbalances Issues of digital divide, technology literacy, or socio demographic biases Issues of privacy and security Misinforming citizens; and issues of digital divide Creating noise, conflicts, or confusion While the current scholarly studies have hypothesized and tested various capacities of online planning technologies in responding to the needs and issues of engaging stakeholders in plan making, the organizational incorporation of these technologies has no t been deeply explored. More specifically, while several scholars have raised concerns and questions regarding the incorporation and usability of these technologies for planning organizations to support their collaborative plan making processes; this usabi lity is not well understood yet. Planning practitioners and scholars still do not know how online planning technologies are useful to their collaborative plan making processes and what factors influence their usefulness. The current literature on the use of technology for participatory planning is still at its infancy. While several planning scholars have started exploring the topic since about fifteen years ago, we see a more active role taken by scholars from other fields, including public policy, comput er or information science, and geography on researching the topic. While these studies provide valuable insights for urban planners, they lack addressing specific requirements of the field of urban and regional planning based on theoretical considerations and a particular focus on plan making processes.

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57 The current literature lacks deep exploration of the usefulness of online participatory tools in planning and decision making. Further research is required to explore (a) the purposes for which planners use OPTs in plan making processes; (b) whether and how planning organizations have the capacity of incorporating new technologies, and OPTs in particular, in their current planning processes; (c) what factors influence the use of OPTs in plan making process; (d) how different contextual factors influence the in plan making; and (e) how OPTs affect plan making processes.

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58 CHAPTER I II RESEARCH METHODS AND CASES 3.1. Overview Chapter 3 discusses research methods and cases and introduces the context of plan making. Using a mixed method approach that relies on archival study, survey, descriptive analysis, statistical modeling, semi structured interviews, and structured content and discourse analysis, I frame and test the foll owing interrelated questions about the usability of Online Planning Tools (OPTs) in plan making process for planners: (1) How and why OPTs are used in plan making ? ; (2) To what extent do planners f ind OPTs useful in plan making ? ; (3) What factors do influence the value and performance of OPTs and how ; and ( 4 ) How do OPTs influence plan making process es and plan policies ? While the first and second question s are more descriptive, the third and fourth questions are exploratory. I e xamine the usabili ty of three different types of OPTs in more than sixty plans in the U.S. and Canada with different foci and scales, including regional transportation plans, comprehensive plans, sustainability plans, downtown revitalization plans, natural corridor plans, n eighborhood plans, and site plans. In summary, the first question describes why and how OPTs are used in plan making ; the second question explores the level of in plan making ; the third question explores what factors influence the overall value of OPTs and performance in plan making and how ; and the last question examines the role of OPTs in influencing plan making processes and plan policies. 3.2. Research Design The multilevel mixed methods study design is employed. To explore the same questions at different scales, different types of data that are collected on same issues ( see Creswell & Clark,

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59 2007) are collected W eb based survey s and phone interview s are used for data collection on A rchival data on plan making cases provided information about pla nning context and characteristics of proposals Data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative techniques T he web based survey addressed primarily the first three questions with additional open ended questions addressing the forth question The forth question is explored further in depth in the telephone interviews. Data obtained by the survey were analyzed using statistical methods. Interviews and open ende d questions were analyzed using s tructured content analysis and interpretive discourse analysis methods Case s included in the study consist of planning organizations that have used OPTs. The web based surveys are sent to stakeholders who have used two different types of online participatory tools for plan making. Those who responded to the survey and expressed their interest in partici pating in an interview were selected for in depth phone interviews. A small number of cases, which did not participated in the survey, also participated in the interview. All the interviews are conducted after the survey. Mixed methods case studies provid e the opportunity for researchers to evaluate cases in depth and within their specific context, when the nature of phenomena is not clear (Yin, 2013, 13) Yin (2013) cl used to explore questions where researcher does not have a thorough control over cases or the situation which influence them. Due to the focus of this study on whether and how planners consider the usefulness of new participatory tools in plan making, exploratory case study design is appropriate. Planners not only have different intentions for the use of new participatory methods, but also perceive these intensions or their meanings in various ways. For example,

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60 of participatory planning processes. Exploring various cases, using mixed methods approach, helps understand phenomena in different contexts. While this study does not examine each individual case based on detailed contextual factors that shaped and influence their existence (Flyvbjerg, 2001) it e mploys interpretive methods to examine the meaning behind actions that influence behavior and construct reality (Corbin & Strauss, 2014; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Starks & Trinidad, 2007; Trauth & Jessup, 2000) 3.3. Dis C onceptual D iagram The dissertation conceptual diagram shows the relationship among various components that influence the and the plan making process itself The dissertation first explores the relationships among the components (variables) that are related to the overall value and performance of OPTs in plan making. It then examines how the OPTs affect plan making processes. The diagram is built based on the general framework, which was explained in the earlier chapter, by translating the framework components based on the goals and considerations of the current dissertation. It shows the relationships among various components of plan making environment and lays out a path for e xploring factors that

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61 t terms and should be interpreted within the context of this study. The planning process and nowledge or domains are explained in the following paragraphs.

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62 3.3.1. Planning P rocess and E nvironment Planning context is used as a general construct in this resea rch. It describes the context in which P 3.3.1.1. Plan making environment Considering technology as a situated phenomenon in organization research (Flyvbjerg, 2003) the technology influence is interpreted in relationship with other factors that explain the plan making environment. The plan making environment, which is considered as the context in which OPTs are incorporated in plan making process, includes the capac ities of factors that influence the technology use, but not the technology itself. It includes the capacities and characteristics of plans (e.g. type and scale of plans), organizations (e.g. type of organizations or their experience with the use of OPTs), and the regulatory environment (e.g. the regulations that influence the incorporation of knowledge generated thorough OPT use). Table. 3.1: Variables the Explain the Plan Making Environment Variable category Sub variable Definition/ measure Plan and organization type Plan characteristics Location The location of the plan Scale The scale of the plan Focus The focus of the plan Organization characteristics Type organization type Whether the organization that is involved in using the OPT for plan making public, private, or is a NGO. Experience Staff role What is the role of the staffs who are involved in using the OPT for plan making? Experience Staff experience expertise with the use of OPTs? Regulatory environment Legal limitation Whether the organization deals with legal limitations in order to use the technology or the generated data.

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63 3.3.1.2 ation in plan making OPT incorporation process discusses the incorporation of OPTs and t he generated data in plan making process, from introducing OPT, to managing OPTs, and to analyzing data generated through the use of OPTs. Table. 3.2: Variables that explain the O PT Variable category Sub variable Definition/ measure incorporat ion process OPT manage ment OPT introduction How the tool is introduced to people. OPT incorporation (use of other participatory methods) Whether other types of participatory methods are used in the plan making process. OPT facilitation Whether someone from the organization is assigned to facilitate or manage the online interactions. Making organizational changes Whether and what types of changes the organization have made to be able to use the OPT. Data analysis and manage ment Data analysis process and method Who analyzed the collected data? How is the collected data analyzed? Background information collection Whether and how the organization collected Data use Whether the organization analyzed the data generated through the OPT. Data incorporation Whether the online inputs generated from the tool are incorporated in the plan making process. 3.3.2. planning organizations and facilitating social interaction. The variables that are used in this study e.

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64 Performance Variable category Sub variables Definition/ measure Participation facilitation performance Performance in increasing number of participants How effective the OPT is in increasing the number of people who participated in the plan making process. Increasing diversity of participants How effective the OPT is in attracting participants. Performance in helping hear from those that would not attend face to face meetings How effective the OPT is in attracting those that do not attend face to face meeting. Performance in attracting participants How effective the OPT is in attracting new population. Performance in helping with finding stakeholders for further contacts How effective is the OPT in finding new stakeholders to help with the plan. Performance in informing citizens How effective the OPT is in informing citizens about the plan goals and issues. Consensus building performance Performance in building consensus How effect ive the OPT is in building consensus among stakeholders about the plan issues. Performance in minimizing possible conflicts How effective the OPT is in minimizing possible conflicts among shareholders about the plan issues. Knowledge generation performance Performance in generating novel ideas How effective the OPT is in generating new ideas. Performance in generating usable local knowledge How effective the OPT is in generating text based information How effective the OPT is in generating spatial knowledge. Performance in generating public interest How effective the OPT is in generating knowledge that represents the public interest. condition of the variable.

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65 3.3.3. Overall V alue and P S atisfaction of OPTs extent to which they are satisfied with using the tools. Table 3 Variable Definition/ measure Value of online contributions contributions. Overall satisfaction Overall, how planners are satisfied with using the tool in their plan or project? 3.3.4. Plan M aking P rocess and P lan P olicies This category does not include particular variables as it is evaluated and measured qualitatively through open ended interview questions. It examines how various performances of OPTs influence plan making process and plan policies. 3.4. Tool and Case Selection This section explains the selection of tools and cases. Tools are related to the three different OPTs that are selected for this study. Cases are related to the organizations that participated in the study. 3.4.1. Tool Selection The cases are organizations that have used one of the three following online participatory tools: MindMixer, PlaceSpeak, and Shareabouts. These tools have been used by public or private planning organizations for various planning purposes. The following criteria are used to select these three tools: (a) popularity among planning organizations; (b) diversity of planning related capacity. While currently MindMixer is the most common tool used by planning organizations,

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66 particularly local governments, in plan making, the other two tools are also popular among planning organizations. These three tools are all managed by planning organizations and are different from citizen generated social media sit es (e.g. online neighborhood forums) which are primarily controlled or managed by citizens or informal organizations. Planning organizations have used these tools for variety of plans at different scales, including regional transportation plans, comprehens ive plans, sustainability plans, or neighborhood plans. All three tools allow some sort of text based and geo spatial interaction. While MindMixer and PlaceSpeak primarily facilitate text based interaction and commenting system, Shareabouts is mainly used to facilitate spatial interaction. In the following paragraphs I first introduce each one of the tools and then the plans that comprise the case studies. MindMixer is an online platform, which allows planning organizations to introduce their projects and provides opportunities for citizens to share and discuss their ideas. It allows planners to create s urveys. To be able to participate, people need to log in by providing their email address, range of age, and zip codes. MindMixer allows people to share their ideas through providing text based comments or locating points on a map to address particular que stions defined by the site admin. While MindMixer is based in the U.S. and primarily serves projects or plans in the U.S., international organizations use the tool as well.

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67 Fig. 3 .2. MindMixer interface 1 PlaceSpeak is a platform similar to MindMixer which allows planning organizations to introduce their projects and allow people to share their ideas through creating posts or making comments on This requirement is made to help planners understand where the online participants are located, Hardwick, the CEO of PlaceSpeak, Sep.04, 2013). However, PlaceSpeak does not requi re people to provide their personal information including age range, zip code, or gender. In addition, at the time of this study, it d id comments. However, it allows planners to create post s or online surveys on the site. The site users can see where the online participants are located at. 1 Retrieved from http://planningforraleigh.mindmixer.com/ (29/09/2014)

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68 Fig 3 .3 PlaceSpeak interface 1 Shareabouts is an online platform which has been used by public and private planning organizations for various purposes, including bikeshare planning, walkability analysis, and urban design projects. The tool allows citizens to share and discuss their ideas by locati ng points on a map and providing text based information supporting their idea. In addition, other participants en source and used in different ways by different organizations. To allow people to share their ideas, organizations or site administrators can either ask people to log in or allow them to participate without logging in. Therefore, in some projects people may be allowed to share or discuss ideas without being required to log in. 1 Retrieved from https://www.placespeak.com/topic/1412 transportation master plan/#!/overview (02/04/ 20 15)

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69 Fig. 3 .4. Shareabouts Interface 3.4.2. Case Selection The case selection process includes two steps: (a) finding the organizations that have used the tools for some purpose; and (b) selecting the organizations (cases) that have used the tools for plan making purposes. The cases in step (b) are selected from the pool of cases that are identified in step (a). The organizations are selected through online archival research as well as reaching out to the companies that have created the tools. The case selection and search process has had four phases; in phase 1, the author checked the websites of the three companies, MindMixer, Shareabouts, and PlaceSpeak to find the names of the organizations or plans which have used their products. In phase 2, the author used a comprehen sive planning application bank, Code for America Commons, to find the organizations or plans that have used any of the three selected tools for this study. Acknowledging that Code for America Commons may not be updated or complete, in phase 3, the author r eached out to each one of the companies that have created the tools and asked

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70 them if they can provide the list of their customers. Two of the companies responded to the ase 4, the author did a comprehensive online exploration using the name of each tool as the keyword. Since the websites that were created for each plan were open to public to at least see the first page, the author was able to find the remaining cases thro ugh online search. Based on these four phases, the author found the majority of the plans or projects that have used one of the selected tools for planning purposes. Forty cases from MindMixer, Eighty cases from PlaceSpeak, and four cases from Shareabouts participated in the study. The following criteria is used to select the cases for the study: (a) focusing on planning related projects that cover any of the following areas land use planning, environmental planning, transportation planning, housing, or ec onomic or community development; (b) addressing different scales, from local or small scale projects to regional projects; (c) having passed at least the first stage of plan making; and (d) timeframe project of at least 4 months. Surveys were sent to the c ases that have used MindMixer or PlaceSpeak, but not the cases that have used Interviews were conducted to those survey participants who have expressed their interest in participating in the interview, and all the cases which have used Shareabouts. Using these criteria, the author selected 84 plans that have used MindMixer, 31 plans that have used PlaceSpeak, and 4 plans that have used Shareabouts One plan fr om one organization is selected. Web based surveys were sent out to planners, community engagement specialists, or project directors. The email address es of these people are found through online search or asking their colleagues whose emails were found onl ine.

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71 Fig. 3.5. Data collection methods 3.5. Research Methodology This section discusses the research methodology components, including (a) the survey instrument; and (b) the interview protocol. 3.5.1. The Survey Instrument A web based survey is designed to collect the variables related to the organizational capacity of satisfaction of t involved in plan making process: planners, project directors, and community engagement specialists. These three positions overlapped in several cases. The reason for choosing the se three positions was that in different projects different types of people were involved in employing the tool for plan making. Based on the informal interactions that the researcher had with organizations which have used these technologies, and the resea Population Cases (60+ planning agencies: one plan for each) Case selection Archival search N= 62 (MM & PS) Planners; community engagement specialists N= 4 Shareabouts Planners; community engagement specialists Web based Survey (N=62) Response rate= In depth Interview (N=40)

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72 groups were found more appropriate targets to be able to answer the survey questions. Different methods are used for sending out the survey link. For the planners who have used Placespeak, the company agreed to send out th e survey link. For the MindMixer cases, the researcher searched online sources to find the email addresses of the planners, community engagement specialists, or project directors 1 In some particular cases, where the email addresses were not available onli ne, the researcher have asked other people in the organization to share the survey link with their colleague, or share the email of their colleague with the researcher. Qualtrics, a survey platform, is used to design and distribute the web surveys. Dillman's (2011) instructions were the premier source for the survey design, with a particular focus on question wording, questions order, and page layout in web based surveys. To test the survey questions and design, a pre test survey is lunched. 14 people including urba n planners at different organizations, and faculty members and students at the University of Colorado filled out the pre test survey and provided comments for improvements. The following paragraphs discuss how the variables that are discussed in the resea rch conceptual diagram are measured through survey questions. The following variables are related to planning c 3.5.1.1. Pla n making environment The context of planning making environment is explored by asking questions related to the specific plan and planning organization. These questions are informed by t he conceptual diagram that was discussed earlier in this chapter Exploring these variables helped with answering questions of how and why the OPTs are used and allowed the resea rcher to explore organizational capacity of planning organizations in incorporating or using OPTs. The variables include both categorical and nominal variables 1 The number of cases equals to the population.

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73 Table 3 5 : Survey Questions to Measure Variables of Planning making environment Variable categ ory Survey q uestion Scale/ Choice Plan characteristics Please let us know where this project is located. State/ Province [ --] City [ --] NA (based on the archival research) Local scale City scale Regional scale For addressing which planning concerns did you use this tool? Land use Environment; climate adaptation; hazard mitigation Transportation (e.g. bike, traffic) Infrastructure (e.g. energy, water) Community development Economic development Housing; zoning Parks and recreation Historic preservation Urban design Education Organization characteristics Which of the following best describe your organization? Local government/ public agency Private firm Non prof it/ NGO/ Community association Academic institution Other [ --] Please select your role in the project. Senior planner or designer Junior planner or designer Project ma nager, director, or coordinator Public engagement consultant/ comm unity developer/ facilitator Data analyst Intern Other [ --] In how many different projects you have ever used any type of online participatory tools? (please include this project/ plan) 1 2=3 4 5 6 or more Regulatory environment Did you have any legal limitations regarding incorporating the information that you collected through this tool in your plan? 1 No Yes / I do not know 1 Some of the questions, including this one, are shortened here. You can see the complete question in Appendix A. Table 3.5. cont.

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74 3.5.1.2. OPT performance The following variables are developed based on the discussion on the usability of new technologies in participatory processes and theories of planning support systems in chapter 2. Variables related to tool capacity, explore ways in which planners report t he capacity of OPTs for various purposes, including social interaction and information sharing. Table 3 6 : erformance Variable category Survey question Scale Information generation performance How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for the following purposes in your plan? ( Increasing number of participants; Increasing diversity of participants; Hearing from those that would not attend face to face meetings; Collecting novel ideas; Collecting geo ta gged information Attracting participants 1 ) Very effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective Not used for this purpose I do not know Have any of the online contributions been unexpected, but useful to this plan? Yes / Maybe No How do you rate the usefulness of location based (geo tagged) online contributions to your project? Very useful Little useful Somewhat useful Not useful I do not know Approximately how many participants have used this tool for this plan? 300 or more 100 300 50 100 Less than 50 I do not know Social interaction performance How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for the following purposes in your plan? (Finding stakeholders for further contacts; Building consensus; Minimizing possible conflicts; Increasing representativeness; Informing citizens 2 ) Very effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective Not used for this purpose I do not know 1 Different questions are asked for each variable. 2 Different questions are asked for each variable.

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75 To what extent do you think the online inputs represented the community as a whole? Represented views of the whole or most of the community Represented views of some interests only Represented only selected views I do not know Affecting project approval performance inputs directly or indirectly affected the condition of the project approval? Yes Probably yes Probably no No 3.5.1.3. OPT Table 3 7 : Survey Questions to Measure Variables of variables Variable category Survey question Scale/ Choice incorporation in plan making How did you introduce this tool to the community? Announcement on website Face to face meeting Printed document Local gathering Email announcement I do not know Other [ --] What other participatory methods/ tools are used for this plan? Paper/ mail in survey Public meeting Public workshop/ focus group Door to door interview Online survey Other online participatory tools Other [ --] online contributions into your project review? Yes No I do not know Has anyone from your organization been participation? Yes No I do not know Have your organization made any of the following changes to best use this tool or other online participatory tools? Fostering internal collaboration between departments or groups Equipping a department or a group Creating a new department or a Table 3.6. cont.

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76 group Collaborating with an outside organization or a group Other [ --] W ho analyzed the collected data? Our organization Another organization or company Both our organization and an outside company I do not know Have your organization collected information about any basic characteristics of the online participants? 1 Yes No I do not know If applicable, how did your organization analyze the collected data? Browsed data, without using specific analysis methods Used methods of content or sentiment analysis Used spatial analysis Used the results the tool has provided for us I do not know Other [ --] 3.5.1.4. OPT use purpose Table 3.8: Survey Questions to define Variables of OPT Use Purpose Variable category Survey question Scale/ Choice OPT use purpose Have you used the tool for the following purposes in your plan 2 ? (Finding stakeholders for further contacts; Building consensus; Minimizing possible conflicts; Increasing representativeness; Informing citizens) Yes No I do not know 1 This question is not used in the analysis results since after conducting the interviews the researcher realized that the respondents have interpreted the question in different ways. 2 The survey asked the respondents to rate the effectiveness of the tools regarding each purpose (e.g. informing citizens) and allowed the respondents to mention that they have not used the tool for that purpose. Here, I have changed the question and the sc ales. Table 3 .7. cont.

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77 satisfaction of OPTs : The is explored through self reported questions to examine how planners have found the OPTs useful. with OPTs in plan making is explored by asking t wo diffe rent questions. Table 3. 9 : Survey Questions to define the variable of overall in plan making for planners 3.5.2. Interview P rotocol The purpose of the in depth semi structured phone interview was (a) to clarify some of the survey responses and to get responses to new questions that were primarily focused on the effect of OPTs on plan making processes and plan policies While the interviews helped with asking new types of questions, they also provided opportunities for the researcher to clarify meanings and intentions (Creswell & Clark 2007) Planners have different perceptions about the meanings of The in depth interviews helped the researcher clarify differences among planners regarding meanings they attached to such concepts. The semi structured interview design allowed the researcher to ask a series of similar questions to all the interviewees while being able to add or change some according to particular survey respo nse. It allowed the researcher to collect comparable information that also Variable name Question Scale/ Choice satisfaction of contributions for incorporation in this project. Very valuable Somewhat valuable Somewhat Not valuable Not valuable at all I do not know Overall, to what extent are you satisfied or dissatisfied with using this tool in your plan or project? Vary satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied

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7 8 responds to specific contextual factors which influences how a phenomenon or attitude is shaped in a particular way (P atton, 2001) The following process is used to design the interview questions: (a) New questions are designed for deeper exploration of the specific context of each plan; organization capacity of planning orga nizations, and tool usefulness; (b) Question s are behavioral factors (survey responses). The results of the survey analysis, helped with defining new interview questions. To help the interviewees get prepared for the interview, where possible, the interview package was shared with them before the interview session. This package included the interview questions questions that were asked they have had enough time to go over these questions. The main focus of the interviews were to explore whether and how the OPTs influenced the plan making processes. Table 3. 10 : The main i nterview questions Category Interview questions The effect of OPTs on plan making and participation processes and plan policies. What do you think about the collected information: What do you think about credibility and quality of the generated information? Did you find the information too detai led/ broad, or organized/ fragmented to be used? What do you think about sincerity of the online contributions? Do you consider is a very high? What do you think about anonymity or not anonymity of the comments? Did this information make a major or minor change in any part of your planning process? Which of the policies or aspects of the plan were most affected by the online comments? How did the comments influence the policies and projects that were adopted? O r, if or how they have affected the plan evolution? Please give specific examples. Did the online comments have an effect on how you or other staffs from the planning team think about the plan? If so, how? Did you notice major differences between the comments you got through

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79 [the tool name] with the ones that you got in your public meetings? Why you did [or did not] find the geo tagged online contributions or the mapping features of the tool useful in your plan making? Have any specific information/ comment/ idea attracted your attention or raised your questions? Please provide specific examples. Have you noticed the [name of the tool] members create social relationships with each other? Or, have you noticed people as king their current friends to join the online group and participate in discussion? If yes, have you seen them doing any group activity against or in favor of your plan? What do you mean by consensus building? How the tool helped with building consensus? [the question is asked from those who mentioned that the tool helped with consensus building in their surveys] Did you find the tool useful to decide about location of specific land use or urban infrastructure? What was the main thing that made this tool useful in your plan making process? Planning environment Why did your organization decide to use an online tool? Why [the name of the tool]? How were you involved in using [the name of the tool]? What was the role of the [the name of the tool] staff? What types of questions or problems generated more valuable responses or attracted more number of interactions? Did you have any specific limitation in using [the tool name]? (e.g limitations of the tool capabilities, or incorporation of the tool in planning process). 1 How did you incorporate [the name of the tool] with your other participatory processes? Did you use any other online tool or social media platform for this plan? Did you introduce [the name of the tool] through your other social media sites? Have you used [the tool name] in combination with face to face meetings? Could you provide Examples? Did you see overlaps between people who participate in the discussion online and offline? Have you evaluated the use of [the tool name] in your planning process? On average, how many people participated in each of your public meetings? How did you analyze the data? For example, did you do the analysis after each stage of the plan? Were you Looking at the comments on or not on a regular basis? Was a s pecific person or group assign to do the analysis? Have you ever referred to [the tool name] and the collected information in any formal meeting? How did you incorporate the collected data in your plan? (1) Other follow up 1 This question is asked only from those survey respondents who have mentioned that they have facilitated Table 3 .10 cont.

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80 questions to the survey and vary for different interviewees. These questions mainly address the capacities of planning organizations or tools, and the reasons to the survey questions] 3.6. Analysis M ethods Mixed methods analysis is used to analysis the survey and interview results at different stages. Descriptive statistical analysis is used to explore why and how OPTs are used and the extent to which they are useful. Regression, correlation and factor analysis methods are used to analyze the third question of whether and how various variables influence, or are related to, th e overall value and performance of OPTs Interpretive and discourse analysis methods are used to explore ways in which OPTs can affect plan making processes and plan policies. SPSS software is used for the statistical analysis. All the phone interviews tr anscribed and used for interpretive discourse analysis and structured content analysis. Interpretive discourse analysis (see Creswell, 2012; Klein & Myers, 1999; Mingers, 2001; Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991; Tra uth & Jessup, 2000) and structured content analysis are used to analyze the interviews and interpret planners perceptions and attitudes. The structured content analysis is done through coding individual terms or contents (See Brody, 2003; Dooling, Simon, & Yocom, 2006; Gould & Golob, 1998; Neuendorf, 2001; Norton, 2008; Ryan & Bernard, 2003; Woolley, Limperos, & Oliver, 2010) The coding process is done in Microsoft a particular category or theme. The following table shows which methods are used to explore the research questions. In addition, web based archival research is used to explore the Table 3 .10 cont.

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81 Table 3 1 1 : Analysis methods Queries Survey Interview Archival research Descriptive analysis Correlation, regression and factor analysis Interpretive discourse analysis & Structured content analysis Qualitative review Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 The details of each analysis method is explained in the following chapters where the research questions are explored. 3.7. Introduction to the C ases and P lan M aking E nvironment This section introduces the cases that participated in this study and provide the context of the plan making environment. The results of this section are mainly based on the analysis of the survey responses. Online archival study and plan document review a re employed to explore the plan types. 3.7.1. Case I ntroduction The following table shows the selected cases that have used MindMixer and participated in the survey. The last column also shows if each case has participated in the interview.

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82 Table 3 12 : The M indMixer cases 1 Organization name Location Plan name 2 Plan Type Interview participation Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Open Space, Trails, Events and Cultural Arts Parks and open spaces plan City and County of San Francisco San Francisco, California Improve SF Different projects/ plans City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario City of Burlington Transportation Master Plan (update) Transpiration master plan update City of Cheyenne Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne West Edge Sustainability plan City of Hayward Hayward, California Hayward 2040 General plan City of Houston Houston, Texas Urban Houston Framework Sustainability plan City of Sacramento Sacramento, California Citywide project all topics Various topics City of Tampa Tampa, Florida Invision Tampa Comprehensive plan City of Wheaton Wheaton, Illinois Downtown Wheaton Strategic Plan and Streetscape Plan Strategic and streetscape plan City of Boulder Boulder, Colorado Boulder energy future Sustainability plan City of Boulder Boulder, Colorado Boulder civic area Area plan City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario Driveway and on street parking study Transportation plan City of Flint Flint, Michigan Imagine Flint master plan website Master plan City of Folsom Folsom, California City of Folsom General Plan Update Comprehensive plan City of Littleton Littleton, Colorado Inspire Littleton Comprehensive Plan 1 The organization name, location, and plan name are extracted from the survey results. The plan types are identif ied though online archival research and plan documents review. All the organizations that are listed in this table have participated in the survey. The ones that participated in the interview are shown with a check mark. 2 In the analysis process, each pla n is assigned a particular number. However, the numbers are not each plan are listed in the next paragraphs and chapters and are identifies with their a ssociated number.

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83 City of Los Angeles Los Angeles, California Mobility element Transportation plan City of Mill Valley Planning and Building Department Mill Valley, California Update of the City of Mill Valley General Plan General plan City of New Heaven Connecticut, New Haven Hill to Downtown Downtown area plan City of Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona PlanPHX General plan update Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia CA Strategic Plan -Community Input Strategic plan Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia Comprehensive Communication Plan strategy Comprehensive communication plan Columbia Association Maryland, Columbia Inspire Columbia Different projects/ plans Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. Fort worth, Texas Plan 2023 Strategic plan City of Golden Golden, Colorado Golden Vision 2030 General plan GreenPlay, LLC Lafayette, Colorado Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan Grove Consulting (Part of Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Team) Fairfax City, Virginia Strategic Master Plan for Parks, Recreation, Trails, Open Space Parks and open spaces plan Lee County Bo CC Fort Myers, Florida CompleteLee: sustainability plan Sustainability Plan Lee County Division of Planning Fort Myers, Florida New Horizon 2035: Lee Plan Update Comprehensive Plan Longview Chamber of Commerce Longview, Texas Longview Comprehensive Plan Comprehensive plan Mid America Regional Council Kansas, Missouri Creating Sustainable Places Sustainability plan Missouri Department of Transportation Louisiana, Missouri Champ Clark Bridge Transportation Plan Park City Municipal Park City, Utah General Plan General Plan Parsons Brinckerhoff Lakeland, Florida Polk rail Transportation Plan Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Raleigh. North Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Parks and Recreation Plan Table 3 .12 cont.

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84 Cultural Resources Department Carolina Cultural Resources System Plan Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning Rockford, Illinois Rockford Region Vital Signs Project Sustainability Plan The Corporation of the City of Burlington Burlington, Ontario Official Plan Review Commercial Strategy Study Strategic plan Town of Lexington Lexington, Massachusett s LexEngage Comprehensive plan Town of Mountain Village, CO. Town of Mountain Village, Colorado Mountain Village iForum Area plan The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio Comprehensive Transportation and Parking Plan Transportation plan Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization Pinellas County, Florida 2040 Pinellas Transportation Plan Transportation plan The following table show s the PlaceSpeak Cases. Table 3 1 3 : The PlaceSpaek cases 1 Organization Name Location Plan name Plan Type Interview Participation City of Chilliwack Chilliwack, British Columbia Chilliwack Official Community Plan Review Community development plan Maple Bay Community Association Duncan, British Columbia Maple Bay plan Area plan Vancouver and Surrey School Districts Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia VSB Our Future and Surrey Schools Social Media Policy Community development plan Summit Environmental Consultants Inc. Slave Lake, Alberta Slave Lake Infrastructure Project Sustainability plan 1 The organization name, location, and plan name are extracted from the survey results. The plan types are identified though online archival research and plan documents review. All the organizations that are listed in this table have pa rticipated in the survey. The ones that participated in the interview are shown with a check mark.

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85 DIALOG Delta, British Columbia North Delta Area Plan Area plan Dillon Consulting Limited Meaford, Ontario Meaford Waterfront Strategy and Master Plan Natural corridor plan City of Duncan Duncan, British Columbia University Village Local Area Plan Area plan Kirk & Co. Consulting Ltd. Metro Vancouver, British Columbia Pattullo Bridge Review Regional transportation plan Township of Langley Langley, British Columbia Aldergrove Community Centre Planning Community development plan Stantec Consulting Ltd. Calgary, Alberta Stanley Park Redevelopment Initiative Park redevelopment plan District of Kent Kent, British Columbia District of Kent 2040 OCP Review/Update Area plan Stantec Cumberland, British Columbia Cumberland OCP Review and Revision Community plan Stantec North Cowichan, British Columbia University Village Local Area Plan Area plan CH2M HILL Parksville, British Columbia Englishman River Natural corridor plan Colliers International University Endowment Lands, British Columbia Block F rezoning Vancouver Canada Area plan City of Parksville Parksville, British Columbia Englishman River Water Service Natural corridor plan University of British Columbia Vancouver, British Columbia Housing Justice Survey Housing plan City of Fort St. John Fort St. John, British Columbia Let's Talk Site C Table 3 .13 cont.

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86 The following table lists the Shareabouts cases. Table 3 1 4 : The Shareabouts cases Organization name Location Plan name Plan type Interview participation City of Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia Bike share plan feasibility study Bike share plan feasibility study City of Chicago Chicago, Illinois Chicago DOT Bike share plan Bike share plan City of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Bike share plan Bike share plan City of Portland Portland, Oregon Portland Bike share plan Bike share plan 3.7.2. Plan Making Environment The plan making environment is explored though examining the type of organizations, the experience of their staff in using OPTs; and the ways in which the organizations have incorporated and managed OPTs in their plan making process. This exploration is conducted through the analysis o f the survey results 1 Local governments or public agencies comprise the majority of the participants in this study. The following table shows the type of planning organizations that participated in the study. 1 usefulness of OPTs in plan making processes is explored in questions two and three.

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87 rience of using OPTs in plan making: For less than half of the survey respondents (44%), it was their first time of using OPTs in plan making process. Only few of them (23%) have had extensive prior experience (4 times or more) of using these tools. The fo llowing table shows the number of times that the respondents have used OPTs in different projects The majority of the people who participated in the survey, consisted of project managers or community engagement consultant s. Some of them have also had various roles. The following table shows the role of the survey respondents 1 in plan making 1 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% local government/ public agency Private firm Non-profit / NGO/ Community association Academic institution 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 6 times or more 4-5 times 2-3 times 1 time

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88 Having legal limitations for using OPTs in plan making: Legal limitations include variety of regulations that can affect the use of technology or data in plan making processes, including privacy limitations of using citizen generated data or asking questions related to personal identifications. For example, one can explore whether or how the planners must follow specific regulations f should or should not be incorporated in the final plan. While these questions are important, this section focuses on a broader question to explore the Presence of legal limita tions or concerns for using the tools. About less than two thirds of the survey respondents believed that they did not have legal limitations for using OPTs. It is interesting that about one fourth of the participants were not sure if they have had some ty pes of legal limitations. The following table shows the Presence of legal limitations for using the tools in plan making processes 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Senior planner or designer Junior planner or designer Project manager, director, or coordinator Public engagement consultant, community developer, faciliator 10% 71% 19% Available Not available Not clear

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89 This study covers a diverse plan making environment, where different types of plans with different foc i are involved. Altho ugh most of the participating organizations in this study are local or state governments, several private institutions (21%) have also participated 3.7.3. The The plans are located in different States and Provinces in the U.S. and Canada. They are from 26 different States or Provinces in the U.S. and Canada. The red dots in the following map show the locational distribution of the plans. locational distributions 3.7.4. The focused on stakeholder engagement at the city level, and the rest of the plans are focused on local and regional scales. See the following figure.

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90 The sel ected plans focus on different subjects or issues of planning. Planning organizations have used the tools (OPTs) in variety of plans with different focuses, from regional transportation plans, to comprehensive plans, to downtown revitalization plans, to sustainability plans, to urban design plans, and to site development plans. Since these plans fit into variety of categorie s, which in most cases overlap focuses on different issues While the plans are focused on variety of iss ues, the majority of them intended to address the following topical areas: community development, transportation planning, land use planning, parks and recreation, and economic development. The following table show s the variety of planning issues that are covered by the plans. In almost all the cases, the plans have 33% 46% 21% Local scale City scale county or regional scale 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Community development Transportation planning Land use planning Parks and recreation planning Economic development Environment; climate adoption; hazard mitigation Housing; Zonning Urban Design Infrastructure planning (e.g. energy, water) Historic preservation Education

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91 CHAPTER I V. THE SURVEY AND INTERVIEW RESULTS This chapter discusses the analysis results of su rveys and interviews. It summarizes the descriptive statistical analysis of the survey results and descriptive content analysis of the interview results. The descriptive analysis lays the groundwork for exploring the research questions that ar e going to be discussed the next chapter 4.1. Survey Results: Descriptive Analysis repetition, the answers to some of the questions that are provided in chapter 3 (e.g. the plan and organization names) are skipped here. The survey questions are pro vided in the order that were mentioned in the survey 1 Question 1. Greetings. The first question introduces the study to the survey participants. It does not ask respondents to provide inp uts or answer questions. It is not a question; but, is counted as a question by the survey design tool. Question 2. Please provide the name of the plan or project for which you have used [this tool]? The plan names are listed in chapter 3. Question 3. In how many different projects have you ever used any type of online participatory tools? (Please include this project/ plan). 1 Some of the survey results that are provided in the earlier chapter are again listed here to ensure the consistency in prov iding the survey results in order.

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92 N= 62 Question 4. Please select your role in this project. (Please select all that apply) N=60 Question 5. For which stage of this plan has your organization used this tool? This answers to this question are not considered in the study, since the respondents have perceived the question in different ways. Question 6. For addressing which planning concerns did you use this tool? ( Please select all that apply) 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 6 times or more 4-5 times 2-3 times 1 time 6 times or more 4-5 times 2-3 times 1 time Series1 15% 8% 33% 44% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Senior planner or designer Junior planner or designer Project manager, director, or coordinator Public engagement consultant, community developer, faciliator Senior planner or designer Junior planner or designer Project manager, director, or coordinator Public engagement consultant, community developer, faciliator Series1 12% 3% 67% 26%

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93 N=66 Question 7. Please rate the value of citizens' online contributions for incorporation in this project. N=62 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Community development Transportation planning Land use planning Parks and recreation planning Economic development Housing; Zonning Urban Design Infrastructure planning (e.g. energy, water) Historic preservation Education Communit y developme nt Transporta tion planning Land use planning Parks and recreation planning Economic developme nt Environme nt; climate adoption; hazard mitigation Housing; Zonning Urban Design Infrastruct ure planning (e.g. energy, water) Historic preservatio n Education Series1 65% 58% 55% 55% 49% 41% 41% 41% 38% 23% 20% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Very valuable Somewhat valuable Somewhat NOT valuable Not valuable at all Very valuable Somewhat valuable Somewhat NOT valuable Not valuable at all Series1 32% 61% 3% 3%

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94 Question 8. Why were some of these contributions not valuable for incorporation in your project? (Please select all that apply) have selected these two options in questi on 7, this question was ask from a small number of people. The results are not provided here since a small number of participants responded to the question. Question 9. Did you have any legal limitation regarding incorporating the information that you col lected through this tool in your plan? (Examples of legal limitations are privacy issues, or the necessity of following specific rules for transportation plans) N=62 10% 71% 19% Available Not available Not clear

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95 Question 10. How do you rate the usefulness of text based online contributions to your project? (If applicable) N=62 Question 11. How do you rate the usefulness of location based (Geo tagged) online contributions to your project? (If applicable) 1 N=61 1 The responses to this question is not used in the analysis section, since during the interviews the researcher have realized that people have perceived the question in different ways. While some respondents considered l ocation based comments as the online comments that they have received from citizens on online maps, some other considered them as information that corresponds to the location of online participants. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Very useful Somewhat useful Little useful Not useful I do not know Very useful Somewhat useful Little useful Not useful I do not know Series1 27% 61% 5% 5% 2% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Very Useful Somewhat useful Little useful Not useful I do not know Very Useful Somewhat useful Little useful Not useful I do not know Series1 25% 34% 8% 11% 21%

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96 Question 12. Did you incorporate peoples' online contributions into your project review? N=62 Question 13. Did the incorporation of peoples' online inputs directly or indirectly affect the condition of the proj ect approval? N= 66 65% 6% 29% Yes No I do not know 17% 40% 30% 13% Yes Probably Yes Probably No No

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97 Question 14. How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for the following purposes in your plan? Question 15. To what extent do you think the online inputs represented the community as a whole? 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% informing citizens Increasing number of participants Increasing diversity of participants Minimizing possible conflicts Finding stakeholders for furthure contacts Consunsus building Hearing from those that would not attend face to face meetings Very Effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective Not used for this purpose I do not know 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Represented only selected views I do not know Represented views of the whole community Represented views of most of the community but not the whole Represented views of some interests only Represented only selected views I do not know Series1 2% 34% 48% 11% 5%

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98 Question 16. Have any of the online contributions been unexpected, but useful to this plan? Question 17. How did you introduce this tool to the community? (Please select all that apply) 32% 47% 21% Yes No Maybe 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Announcement on website or social media Printed documents Email announcement Face to face meetings Local gatherings Announcement on website or social media Printed documents Email announcement Face to face meetings Local gatherings Series1 88% 80% 77% 65% 59%

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99 Question 18. Approximately how many participants have used this tool for this plan ? Question 19. Which one of the following options best describe your organization? 32% 34% 21% 11% 2% 300 or more 100300 50100 Less than 50 Not clear 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% local government/ public agency Private firm Non-profit / NGO/ Community association Academic institution local government/ public agency Private firm Non-profit / NGO/ Community association Academic institution Series1 65% 21% 11% 3%

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100 Question 20. Who analyzed the collected data? Question 21. If applicable, how did your organization analyze the collected data? (Please select all that apply) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Our organization Both our organization and an outside company Another organization or company Our organization Both our organization and an outside company Another organization or company Series1 68% 27% 5% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Used spatial analysis I do not know Other Used the results that the tool has provided for us Browsed the data, without using specific analysis mehtods Used methods of content or sentiment analysis Used spatial analysis I do not know Other Series1 59% 36% 24% 6% 4% 3%

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101 Question 22. Has anyone from your organization been assigned to facilitate peoples' online participation? Question 23. Have your organization collected information about any basic characteristics of the online participants? (e.g. age, sex, occupation, etc.) 61% 36% 3% Yes No I do not know 60% 27% 13% Yes No I do not know

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102 Question 24. Have your organization made any of the following cha nges to best use this tool or other online participatory tools? Question 25. Rather than using this tool, are any other participatory methods used for this plan? 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Fostering Internal collaboration between departments or groups Collaborating with an outside institution or a group Equipping a department or group (e.g. buying equipment, teaching staff) Creating a new department or a group Fostering Internal collaboration between departments or groups Collaborating with an outside institution or a group Equipping a department or group (e.g. buying equipment, teaching staff) Creating a new department or a group Series1 46% 38% 25% 5% 92% 6% 2% Yes no I do not know

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103 Question 26. What other participatory methods/ tools are used in this plan? (Please choose all that apply) Question 27. Overall, to what extent are you satisfied or dissatisfied with using this tool in your plan or project? 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Public meeting Public workshop/ focus group Online survey Paper/ Mail in survey Other online participatory tools Door to door Interview Public meeting Public workshop/ focus group Online survey Paper/ Mail in survey Other online participatory tools Door to door Interview Series1 77% 77% 38% 23% 23% 9% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Very Satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very Dissatisfied Very Satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very Dissatisfied Series1 25% 63% 10% 2%

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104 Question 28. Please let us know where this project is located. The locations of the projects are all listed in chapter 3. Question 29. Please provide the name of your organization. The names of the organizations are all listed in chapter 3. Question 30. Will you be willing to contribute to this research by being avai lable for a short (15 minutes) interview? Question 31. Please provide your email address so that we can contact you for the interview. (Your information will remain confidential). The email addresses are not provided in the research, due to privacy prot ection regulations. Question 32. Please let us know if you would like to share any other idea Few ideas are provided by the respondents. The se ideas are discussed in the following chapters as needed. 4.2. Interview R esults: Content A nalysis This section provides the results of the structured content analysis of the phone interviews, by defining the themes that are generated based on the planners responses and comments. Based on 39% 29% 32% Yes Maybe No

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105 the semi structured nature of the interviews, several themes are responses to several predefined questions, and based on what the planners have shared openly during the interview session. These themes are created based on the number of times that an idea or comment is repeated by the inte rviewees and are categorized in five different categories: perception, organization capacity. In this study, each comment or idea should have been repeated by at leas t 3 people (8% of the participants) to be identified as a theme 1 4.2.1. The Content Analysis Results of Questions. More than half of the interviewees have fo u nd the OPTs useful for creating consensus among planners about different aspect of plans, and for validating their findings or actions. More than half of them also believed that types of planning problems and questions are important in attracting people to participate in the online discussion and share their ideas, and argued that they prefer not to allow the participants to participate totally anonymously and without logging in or providing their information. The full list of the content analysis finding i s provided in the following table. questions. Category Themes Percent OPT effect The tool was useful for consensus building among planners (case# 2 : 1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,17,18,20,21,22,23,24,26,27,29,31,32,33,35,36) 75% Planners' perception Asking the online participants to register was valuable (case #: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,16,18,19,21,22,23,24,25,26,30,31,32,36) 69% 1 The themes are slightly different from the categories defined in the conceptual framework and influenced the survey design, since the themes are generated based on several open ended questions. 2 #n represents the number of each case (interviewee). 36 cases (interviewees) participated in the study. All the ca

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106 OPT effect ideas, or actions. (case #: 2,6,7,8,9,10,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,22,23,30,31,32,33,34,35) 61% Context effect Type of planning questions and problems are important in attracting peoples' participation (case #: 1,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,25) 56% OPT usefulness The tool had some technology issues which could be improved (case #: 2,5,10,11,13,14,15,16,17,19,20,21,26,27,28,33,35,36) 50% OPT usefulness The online comments were different from meetings' comments and useful (case #: 1,4,5,6,7,13,14,15,17,18,19,20,21,24,29,33,35) 47% OPT usefulness The online comments were not much different from meetings' comments (case #: 2,3,8,9,10,11,12,16,22 ,23,25,26,27,30,31,32,36) 47% Planners' perception The planners' perceived peoples' sincerity as very high (case #: 1,2,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,24,29,30,32,35,36) 47% OPT effect The online comments were useful for changing or adding some parts (sections) to the plan (case #: 1,2,6,7,10,17,18,20,21,24,25,26,29,31,33,34) 44% OPT usefulness Mapping features of the tool were useful (case #: 5,8,10,11,21,23,24,25,26,31,32,33,34,35,36) 42% organization capacity The organization did not facilitate peoples' participation (case #: 3,5,6,7,8,10,12,13,15,18,19,22,24,35,36) 42% organization capacity The organization needed more time and resources to monitor the tool or analyze the data (case #: 3,4,5,6,8,9,14,16,17,20,21,23,25,33) 39% OPT usefulness At tracted different people (case #: 2,6,7,14,15,16,18,19,20,24,28,31,34) 36% OPT usefulness Some of the online comments were very detailed and useful (case #: 7,10,15,17,18,19,20,21,22,24,26,33,36) 36% organization capacity The organization facilitated peoples' participation through correcting or Facilitation correction/ clarification/ response (case #: 1,2,9,11,14,18,19,20,21,23,26,29,36) 36% OPT usefulness The tool is used in face to face meetings as well (case #: 2,5,6,7,9,10,16,17,24,30,31,33) 33% OPT usefulness The organization has received unexpected but useful information (case #: 1,2,6,10,13,18,20,25,27,29,33,35) 33% OPT effect The online comments did not change the plan (case #: 3,4,5,8,9,13,14,15,16,19,23) 31% organization capacity The org anization used specific methods of analysis or visualization (case #: 1,8,10,16,18,33,34,35,36) 25% OPT usefulness The collected data is shared with other departments or sectors (case #: 1,4,10,13,14,19,29,36) 22% OPT usefulness Some of the online comments were inappropriate (case #: 2,3,22,23,25,34) 17% OPT usefulness The tool is not advertised through social media sites (case #: 13,14,26,29,35) 14% OPT effect The tool was useful for consensus building among citizens (case #: 6,17,22,29,33) 14% Planners' perception The online participants should be allowed to participate anonymously (case #: 1,13,20,27,33) 14% OPT The majority of the online comments were too specific or too broad for us; 11% Table 4.1. cont.

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107 usefulness therefore, they were not ve ry useful. (case #: 1,5,14,34) 4.2.2. The Content Analysis of In addition to asking predefined questions, the semi structured interviewed allowed the respondents to openly share their ideas or build up on their experiences. The following themes are generated based on how planners have repeatedly mentioned particular ideas; but, are not necessarily based on particular interview questions. The three most repeated themes are related to the project, and (c) use the OPTs to test planning scenarios and alternatives. The following table lists all the themes that are developed based on the interviewees open conversation. Emerged From the Interview Category Themes Percent organization capacity One of the organizations' main goal was to educate people (case #: 14,16,17,19,20,22,23,24,25,26,28,29,30,34,35,36) 44% OPT usefulness The tool was useful to raise peoples' attention about the project (case #: 7,11,14,17,20,21,22,25,26,28,30,33,34,35,36) 42% Plan making process Planners used the tool to test alternatives or scenarios (case #: 7,8,15,17,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,27,29,32,34) 42% Planners' perception The online co mments are thoughtful since people had more time and resources in hand (case #: 1,2,6,7,13,16,17,18,19,21,22,24,29,36) 39% organization capacity The organization shared the comments or the process results with the City Council (case #: 1,2,7,9,11,15,16,17,22,23,30,31,36) 36% organization capacity The organization used the tool for encouraging more interest in the project (case #: 1,2,18,20,21,22,25,26,30,31,33,35,36) 36% OPT usefulness The tool generated some unexpected and useful happenings for planners (case #: 5,6,7,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,33,35) 33% OPT usefulness The tool is valuable since it shows people that we are listening and are transparent to them 33% Table 4.1. cont. Table 4.2. cont.

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108 (case #: 9,18,19,20,22,25,26,28,30,34,35,36) Plan making process The tool made the participatory process less time consuming and easier for the organization (case #: 7,15,20,21,22,27,31,33,34,35,36) 31% Planners' perception The planner believes that using the tool has made their participatory process ch eaper (case #: 6,9,16,19,22,28,29,32,35,36) 28% OPT usefulness The OPT is valuable since it supports two way communication (case #: 1,2,7,13,15,19,22,23,29,33) 28% OPT usefulness The planner likes the tool since avoids some people dominating the discussion (case #: 2,6,16,19,22,24,33,34,36) 25% OPT usefulness The tool provides new opportunities for introducing the project through supportive documents (case #: 1,20,23,25,26,28,30,32) 22% organization capacity Communication staff had important roles in setting up and monitoring the tool (case #: 1,7,9,10,12,22,36) 19% Planners' perception The planner can recognize some of the active online participants (case #: 2,3,13,14,22,24,31) 19% Plan making process The consultant team had the main role i n selecting the tool (case #: 3,5,8,15,20,22,34) 19% Plan making process Planners used the tool to attract those who were not living in the town (case #: 12,16,28,29,30,35,36) 19% organization capacity The organization used the same tool for other projects (case #: 2,7,19,24,26,32) 17% OPT usefulness Not having access to people's email addresses was an issue (case #: 7,13,19,32,35,36) 17% Plan making process The organization found the tool useful due to not having very successful public meetings (case #: 5,16,20,24,28,32) 17% Plan making process The planner have learned through the process of using MM (case #: 16,20,25,26,33,35) 17% organization capacity The organization had issues with visualizing the data (case #: 5,21,26,33,35) 14% Plan making process Planners received bad comments more than once (case #: 21,25,26,33,34) 14% organization capacity The organization had issues with incorporating the data with other datasets (case #: 2,5,10,35) 11% Planners' perception The planner believes that since the data is qualitative, it is not as useful as quantitative data (case #: 9,19,23,26) 11% OPT usefulness The tool is valuable to helping people self organize activities (case #: 1,9,19,22) 11% OPT usefulness The use of the tool created more work for the organization (case #: 11,16,17) 8%

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109 CHAPTER V. ANALYSIS This chapter builds on the analysis of the survey and interview results and explores the answers to the research questions. 5.1. Question 1 How And Why are OPTs Used and Incorporated in Plan Making Process es ? This question explores ways in which OPTs are incorporated in plan making. Planning organizations are employing OPTs in their plan making processes for variety of participatory purposes and in different ways. While the current litera ture supports the value of OPTs in facilitating information sharing and social interaction in plan making processes, the reasons that support why planning organizations use these technologies is not clear yet. Do the organizations use OPTs mainly to inform citizens about the plan goals, or they use them mainly to let citizens share and discuss ideas? In addition, it is still not clear how the OPTs are incorporated in participatory plan making processes. For example, do the organizations use OPTs as one of t heir methods of participation, or the organizations integrate them with their other participatory methods. If so, how this integration happens? This question explores the purposes for which the OPTs are used and the methods that are used for this incorpora tion. The question is primarily explored by analyzing responses to : (a) rporation in plan making In addition, the interview results are used to clarify these results. 5.1.1. Why OPTs are U sed in Plan Making Based on the survey results, the tools are used for a wide range of participatory planning purposes. Attracting diverse and large of people to participate are the most important purposes of using OPTs. Almost all the participants (90% +) have used the tool for the following purposes: to

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110 increase the number of participants, hear from those who cannot attend public meetings, increase diversity of participants, and inform citizens. Several planners have also used the tool to find stakeholders for future contacts, build consensus, and minimize possible conflicts. On the other cases (e.g. consensus building) is different from what is discussed in the lite rature review section in chapter 2. For example, although most of the planning theory scholars, including Judith Innes, John Forester, Jean Hillier, and Charles Hoch, consider consensus building as a process in which diverse stakeholders are involved in a dialogue and deliberation process, the majority of planners have different understanding of thi s concept. This issue will be argued in the following pages, where I discuss the findings of the third question. Planners have also used OPTs to engage stakehold ers in responding to various types of planning concerns. The first highest rated concerns that are addressed by the OPTs for stakeholder engagement are community development (65% 1 ), transportation planning (58%), land use planning (55%), park and recreatio n planning (55%), and economic development (49%). The OPTs are used to address other planning concerns as well, including issues related to environment and climate adaption, housing and zoning, urban design, infrastructure plannin g, and historic preservati on. Planning organizations have used OPTs, as participatory planning methods, to address diverse purposes of conducting participatory processes and to respond to wide variety of planning concerns. They have not limited themselves to a particular use of OPT s for specific reasons (e.g. While some of the participatory tools (e.g. online surveys) are used for particular purposes (e.g. soliciting information), the OPTs are not limited to particular uses. 1 Means that 65% of the survey respondents mentioned that they have used OPTs to respond to community development concerns.

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111 5.1.2. How OPTs are Incorporated in Plan Making The usability of OPTs is related to ways in which they are incorporated in plan making ugh examining the incorporation of the tools as well as their products, the generated information, in plan making process. This section explores how the OPTs are introduced to communities, how OPTs are incorporated in plan making processes and managed, an d how the generated data from OPTs are incorporated in plans and managed. It also examines whether the planning organizations were required to make organizational changes in order to use the OPTs, whether and how they have participation, and whether and how they have analyzed t he data collected through OPTs. The organizations have used various channels to introduce the tools to citizens. The most common method that they have used is announcing the tool on their website or th rough social media sites. This method in used by 88% of the cases. The organizations have also used other methods, including printed documents (80%), email announcements (77%), face to face meetings (65 %), and local gatherings (59%). In addition, the inter view results show that planners have introduce d OPTs in their meetings and local gatherings in different ways and for variety of purposes. The following examples show how the interviewees have used OPTs in public meetings to introduce the tool to people, advertise it, or allow those who do not have com puters also participate in the online conversation. For example, in the following example, the planners have introduced the tool in one of their open houses.

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112 Or, in another exampl e, planners have provided computers for the public meeting participants to work with the tool and get acquainted with. it there. It allows people who do not In another example, the planners wanted to introduce the tool in their meetin g and encourage and instruct Planning organizations have used their regular information dissemination channels for introducing the OPTs to people. The types of methods that they have used varied and depended on the ir organizational capacity in using various methods for tool introduction. While some of them relied mainly on social media for, some other ones relied more on other methods including printed documents (flyers) or face to face meetings for introducing the tool. In majority of cases, the organizations did not make major changes (e.g. creating a new department or a group) to incorporate OPTs into their organizational systems. Fostering internal collaboration between groups (46%), collaborating with outside o rganizations (38%), and equipping a department or group (25%) have been the most common adjustments for the incorporation of the tools. Based on this information and the fact that planners have been very satisfied with using OPTs, it is clear that planning organizations were not required to make major organizational changes to use the tool ; however, it is still not clear whether major organizational changes would benefit the For example, what if the organizations decided to hire a new staff to analyze all the comments received from the tool?

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113 Another important factor in managing OPTs relates to ways in which planners have been facilitating peo of managing participatory sessions, in about one third of the cases, the organizations did not In addition, the interview results show that the planners consider facilitation in different ways. By discussion facilitation in participatory processes, they mainly mean clarifying planning intentions, correcting the who mentioned that they have facilitated the discussion, considered facilitation as a communicative process that focuses on resolving conflicts or creating mutual understanding through dialogue. interactions by clarifying intentions or concepts. The following example relates to clarifying complicated technical issues. Or, the following example relates to clarifying the project goals to make sure that the participants understand the issues correctly. comme

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114 Or, in the following example, the planners tried to clarify their intentions of collecting responded [to] them and said that Or, in one of the examples, a planner facilitated the discussion by asking the participants to clarify their comments or suggestions: e participation. partici pation by answering to their questions. On the other hand, several planners did n ot facilitate the online interactions or got

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115 See how some of the in participation to make sure that they are keeping the process open and not interfering with it, so that people can share their ideas without limitations or concerns. to monitor the process and not interfere with the In some cases, planners believed that their involvement in the discussion migh t discourage people from participation. not interacted with people. Doing that would inhibit people commenting on something. In the following examples, the planners argued that they mainly did not facilitate the online par ticipation due to time and budget limitations. (19b)

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116 Based on the survey results, most of the planning organizations (92%) have used the online participatory tools in combination with other participatory methods to ensure an inclusive process. While Public meetings (77%) and workshops and focus groups (77%) have been t he most common participatory methods used by organizations, in addition to the use of OPTs, are participatory methods and tool are used as well. These include online surveys (38%), paper survey (23%), other online participatory tools (23%), and door to doo r interviews (9%). The planning organizations were not much relied on other organizations in analyzing the collected data. While in most cases (68%) the organizations were solely involved in data interpretation and analysis, in less than one third of the cases (27%) they were also collaborating with other organizations t o help them with this process. In addition, in most cases, the organizations did not analyze the co mments using structured analytical methods, including content or spatial analysis. They m ainly used the summary results that were provided by the tool and browsed the data without employin g particular analysis methods. Only 6% of the organizations mentioned that they have used spatial analysis methods and 24% of them mentioned that they have used methods of content or sentiment analysis. In addition, the interview results show that the planners analyzed and interpreted the content or sentiment s, expressed by the participants in different ways. Among all the planners who were interviewed, only two of them have used a systematic approach for analyzing the comments; the rest of them have explored the comments qualitatively and through browsing the web pages 1 Most of the planners believed that they have got what they wanted to get from the data by their qualitative overview; therefore, they did not find it necessary to use systematic analysis methods 1 The volume and size of these comments have varied a l ot. While in some case people made only handful of comments, in some other cases they made several hundred comments on each topic.

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117 Some of the planners also mentioned that they did not know how they can use syste matic content Here is how the two organizations have done the analysis. 5.1.3. Summary The planners have used the OPTs to respond to different purposes of conducting participatory planning processes, from attracting more number of people and more diverse participants, to resolving possible conflicts or finding potential stakeholders. Almost all the planners argued that engaging new people (those who do not usually attend public meetings) and informing citizens has been their main re asons of using OPTs. OPTs are also used to inform citizens and to allow them to discuss an issue. Planners have used OPTs in different plans with variety of focuses and different scales. Almost all the organizations have used the OPTs as supplementary par ticipation tools which were coupled with more traditional participatory methods, including public meetings, workshops, or Among those who were involved in doing s uch, they were mainly engaged in responding to some of the questions or clarifying intentions, but not trying to resolve conflicting ideas or move toward consensus building. Most of the planners have primarily browsed the generated data without using parti cular analysis methods or used the data that the tools have provided for them, for example, the number of times that a particular idea is supported by the participants. While some of the planners have used spatial analysis methods for the analysis of the l ocation based

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118 data, very few of them have used content analysis methods to analyze the content of the 1 5.2. Question 2 To What Extent have Planners Found OPTs valuable in Plan Making ? value for planners in plan making is explored through two questions, value of online contributions, as well as their overall satisfaction. The responses to these three questions are then used to create one component that describe These questions are basically asking a similar question to explore the extent to which planners find the OPT s, OPT products, and citizen useful. contributions: s through OPTs and can be the number of times that a post has been viewed by different people. somewhat or very valuable, and very few of them (6%) have found the tool somewhat not valuable or not valuable at all. action: At the end of the survey, the respondents were asked about their overall satisfaction of using the tool. The responses to this question were again similar to the questions that were discussed earlier. While 88% of the respondents were very satisfie d or 1 The interview results show that planners have different opinions about organizing and managing participatory processes, whi ch do not appear to follow the normative criteria defined in participatory planning literature. For example, while some planners believed that they should respond to or correct discourage their engagement. This issue is discussed in the last chapter of the dissertation in more detail; but, it may have been due to several other issues such as the nature of the planning project or issue.

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119 satisfied with the use of the OPTs, 12% of them were very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their use. 5.3. Question 3 Which Factors I Value and P erformance? As the survey analysis results show, 88% of the planners have been very satisfied or satisfied with the use of the OPTs. Why? What factors are related to the overall value of OPTs ? Is the planning process and environ ment or the performance related to the overall value of OPTs? Which one of these factors are more important or influential ? Which factors do influence the performance of OPTs? These questions are explored in this chapter through quantitative analys is of the survey results This section explore the third question of this study: what factors do influence the overall value and the performance of OPTs ? In this section explore whic h variables influence the directly or by mediating the influence of other variables. Due to the small sample size in this study, the goal of this section is mainly to explore relationships and patterns. It does not intend to generate generalizable results that explain causalities. paragraphs explain the process of developing this variable. Responses to the following two questions were combined by principal component analysis and factor scores were assigned to

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120 Variable Survey question 1 Scale Value of online contributions Please rate the value of citizens' online contributions for incorporation in this project. Very valuable (1) Somewhat valuable (2) Somewhat not valuable or not valuable at all 2 (3) I do not know (Missing Variable 3 ) Overal l satisfaction Overall, to what extent are you satisfied or dissatisfied with using this tool in your plan or project? Vary satisfied (1) Satisfied (2) Dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (3) These two variables are explaining a similar phenomenon. Pearson bi variate correlation of these two variables also shows that the correlation between the two variables is statistically significant at 0.00. Correlations Overall satisfaction Value of online contributions Overall satisfaction Pearson Correlation 1 .514 ** Sig. (2 tailed) .000 N 62 62 Value of online contributions Pearson Correlation .514 ** 1 Sig. (2 tailed) .000 N 62 62 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed). Using factor analysis, these variables are reduced to one composite variable that will se rve as the dependent variable table shows the factor analysis results, the component matrix and the communalities table. 1 The questions are sorted based on how they are ordered in the survey. 2 variable that creates a more normalized distribution of the responses. The same process has also implemented for the other two questions for the same purpose. 3

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121 Communalities Initial Extraction Overall satisfaction 1.000 .757 Value of online contributions 1.000 .757 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. The new variable includes scores ranging from 1.57067 to 2.37005. This new variable, the following figure show the distribution of scores in the dependent variable. Lowe r scores represent more usefulness for OPTs 1 1 Here, the variation of the scores matter in comparison to the other scores. The score results are generated through factor analysis, which is different from calculating the average score. Component Matrix a Overall satisfaction .870 Value of online contributions .870 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. a. 1 components extracted.

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122 5.3.1. Wh ich F actors are R elated to the O verall V alue and P S atisfaction of ? In this section, I explore whether are related to the To do this analysis, several variables are re coded and new variables are created 1 Table 5.2: the recoded new variables Variable Survey question Scale Planning process and environment Scale NA (based on the archival research) Local scale (1 2 ) City scale (2) Regional scale (3) Experience Staff experience In how many different projects you have ever used any type of online participatory tools? (please include this project/ plan) 6 or more (1) 4 5 (2) 2=3 (3) 1 (4) Type organization type Which of the following best describe yo ur organization? Local government/ public agency 3 (1) Private firm (0) Non profit/ Community association (0) Legal limitation Did you have any legal limitation regarding incorporating the information that you collected through this tool in your plan? No (1) Maybe (2) Yes (3) OPT introduction How did you introduce this tool to the community? different answer choices are summed up) 1 5 (5 shows the lowest number of methods that are used to introduce the tool to the community) OPT incorporation What other participatory methods/ tools are used for this plan? different answer choices are summed up) 1 7 1 The variables are recoded to normalize the distribution of various categorical variables. In addition, data reduction methods are used to identify groups of variables that describe similar phenomena. 2 Coded as 1.

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123 (7 shows the lowest number of participatory methods that are used) OPT management facilitation Has anyone from your organization been assigned to participation? Yes/ maybe (0) No (1) OPT management Have your organization made any of the following changes to best use this tool or other online participatory tools? Fostering Internal collaboration between departments or groups Equipping a department or group Creating a new department or a group Collaborating with an outside institution or a group Yes/ maybe (0) No (1) Data management (collaboration for data analysis) Who analyzed the collected data? Several organizations were involved in analysis (1) One organization was involved in analysis (2) Data management (using data analysis methods) If applicable, how did your organization an alyzed the collected data 1 ? Used specific method of analysis (1) Did not use specific method of analysis (2) performance performance in facilitating participation [This variable is created through factor analysis, integrating the answers to the following questions]: How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for: Increasing the number of participants; Increasing the diversity of participants; informing citize ns; finding stakeholders; hearing from those that would not attend public meetings Very effective (1) Effective (2) Ineffective or very ineffective (3) This variable is created Very effective (1) 1 The answers to this question are m erged in order to examine whether the organization have used specific methods of analysis or not. Table 5.2. cont.

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124 performance in building consensus and resolving conflicts through factor analysis, integrating the answers to the following questions]: How do you rate the effectiveness of this tool for: Consensus building Resolving conflicts Effective (2) Ineffective or very ineffec tive (3) Generating public interest To what extent do you think the online inputs represented the community as a whole? Represented views of the whole or most of the community (1) Represented views of some interests only (2) Represented only selected views (3) Generating knowledge How do you rate the usefulness of text based online contributions to your project 1 ? Very useful (1) Somewhat useful (2) Little useful or not useful (3) Generating unexpected but useful information Have any of the online contributions been unexpected, but useful to this plan? Yes/ Maybe (0) No (1) Influencing the plan approval Did the incorporation of peoples' online inputs directly or indirectly affect the condition of the project approval? Yes (1) Probably y es (2) Probably no (3) No (4) The following table summarizes the results of the correlation analysis between the Categories Variables Sig. (2 tailed) Correlation Coefficient Planning process and environment Scale .640 .063 Experience Staff experience .499 .088 Type organization type .304 .133 Legal limitation .199 .165 OPT introduction .750 .041 OPT incorporation (number of participatory .237 .159 1 analysis since after the interviews the researcher re alized that very few participants have received geo tagged comments through using the tool. Table 5.2. cont.

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125 methods used) OPT management (assigning a facilitator) .081 .227 OPT management ( Fostering Internal collaboration between departments or groups) .288 .168 OPT management ( Equipping a department or group) .034 .331* 1 OPT management ( Creating a new department or a group) .875 .025 OPT management (Collaborating with an outside institution or a group) .032 .327* Data management (Collaboration for data analysis) .266 .143 Data management (Using data analysis methods) .052 .248 performance Participation facilitation .002 .515 ** Consensus building and conflict resolution .000 .657 ** Generating public interest .001 .429 ** Generating unexpected, but useful information .551 .077 Generating usable knowledge .000 .576 ** .004 .410 ** In summary, the planning process and environment does not seem to be directly related to the value of OPTs for planners However, they may influence the OPTs value through mediating In the following section s I use regression analysis to explore how different factors can in fluence the 5.3.2. How D o t he P O verall V alue and P S To test the influence of performance related variables, linear regression models are used. For each variable, the significance level of 10% is accepted. Due to the small sample size, the analysis do not tends to explore generalizable causalities and results; however, it aims to explore 1 The significance level for the relationships that are statistically significant at .05 or lower are underlined in this table.

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126 poss ible relat ionships and forces that can explain causalities. Considering this issue, the researc her has considered 10% as the accepted significance level in the analysis process. Linear r egression models are run to test the eff The following table s show the result of the regression analysis to examine the effect of the s on the 1 Performances Unstandardized Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) participation facilitation .577 .00* 2 52.2% Consensus building and conflict resolution .613 .00* 36.4% Generating public interest .717 .00* 22% Generating unexpected but useful information .23 .232 1% Generating Knowledge .964 0.00* 32.1% performances changes in the model. The following tables show how new models in which the 1 The process is similar to stepwise regression model; however, the variables are inserted in the model manually based on what discussed in the research diagram. 2 Significant at 5% or lower. Performances Unstandardized Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Effect on plan approval .504 .003* 18.4%

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127 Performances Unstandardized Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Participation facilitation .393 .119 70.2% Effect on plan approval .367 .169 Consensus building and conflict resolution .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Generating public interest .860 .000 44.1% Effect on project approval .508 .001 Generating unexpected but useful information .281 .348 20.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006* Generating knowledge 36 6 .011* 44.1% Effect on plan approval .953 .000* The performance of OPTs is an influential factor in satisfaction of OPTs T overall value of OPTs is significant. The only variable th at does not have a significant e ffect on overall value of OPTs model, the following three performances seems to be the most influential: enerating knowledge generating public interest building consensus By considering the influence of the OPT effect on plan approval, these three performances still remain the most influential ones. Ho wever, their order changes slightly; the performance of OPTs in generating public interest will have the most influence in affecting the plan approval is an influential variable in the overall value of OPTs it does not alw ays improve the model. In another word s the better performance of OPTs on plan approval sometimes, but not always, make s the OPTs more useful, when this performance is coupled with the The better performance of OPTs in generating knowledge, in consensus building, or in generating public interest in combination with their better performance in project approval makes the OPTs more useful. The

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128 better performance of OPTs in affecting the plan approval positively influences the overall value of OPTs in most cases, but not in all cases. The effect of the OPTs on plan approval is an important performance in the In most cases, when it is combined with each one o f the performances in the model it has a more important role in the than the other performance For example, it has a stronger influence than OPTs more useful. On the other hand in comparison with the performance of OPTs in public interest, its role is less effective. The correlation results show that the planning process and environment does not have a major influence on the However, it is still not clear if it influences the through mediating the The next section explores this inquiry. 5.3.3. Whether and H ow do P lanning P rocess es and E nvironment s I nfluence the P erformance of OPTs ? The performance of OPTs explain some part of the variation in But, does the performance of OPTs change s in different planning environments? What factors related to the planning process and environment can influence the questions by looking at how plan making environment and ways in which OPTs are incorporated in plans i nfluence performance in regression model variable. R egression models are used to examine whether and how the incorporation of variables by changing the coefficients and R squared

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129 they are combined with the OP 5.3.3.1. The influence of plan making environment s s This section examines whether different factors related to plan making environments influence the performance of OPTs in making the OPTs more or less useful. Sin c e this inquiry explores the general effect of the plan making en vironment and not all the detailed variables that define this environment factor analysis method is used to determine the main components that explain the plan making environment. The following tabl e demonstrates the results of the factor analysis. The related variables in each component are highlighted in grey and selected based on their value of equal or greater than 0. 5. Component Matrix a Component 1 (Plan and organization type) 2 ( Presence of legal limitations ) Plan characteristics Plan scale .583 .057 Organization characteristics Staff experience .770 .186 Regulatory environment Legal limitation .190 .899 Organization characteristics Organization type .604 .466 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. a. 2 components extracted. Component 1 (Plan and organization type) : it is mainly explained by the following variable s: It consists of smaller scaled plans, more experienced planners, and private organization s 1 Component 2 ( Presence of legal limitations ) : it is mainly explained by the regulatory environment. It mainly consists of the presence of legal limitations 1 See how the variables are coded in the first section of this chapter.

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130 Linear regression models are run to explore how the variables related to planning processes and environments mediate the performance of OPTs in m aking OPTs more or less useful 1 To examine the effectiveness of different variables related to plan making env ironment regression models are ran in t hree stages: Stage 1: a single variable or sets of variables are included in the model ( defining the base model) and then a new single variable is added to the model ( defining the change model) to evaluate how the model has changed. For example, in the following table, model. Then, other variables (E.g. plan and organization type) are added to the model, to evaluate the changes in the model. Using this method, I evaluate d the effect of different single variables model (defining the base model) and then all the other variables related to planning environment are added to the model to examine how the model ch anges when the other variables are also in effect. In this model all the variables related to planning environments are included in the model Stage 3: Some of the variables are created by combining multiple variables. If the effect of these combined variables in any of the models is statistic ally significant; the effect of individual variables in each combined variable is also explored through the process that was explained in stage 1 and 2. 1 The relationships between the variables are also tested through correlation analysis. This analysis does not show statistically significant relationships among the variables. The regression analysis method helps with exploring the effects of each variable in more detail. I n all of the models the dependent variable is the All the models have also included collinearity test.

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131 Th e analysis method is similar to stepwise regression model where the effect of various variables are tested in a model, based on the changes in R2 and Coefficients. However, in the models in this dissertation the new variables are manually selected and introduced based on the research conceptual diagram and not through an automation process. As an example the following tables show which factors related to plan making environment influence the OPTs performance in participation facilitation and This table is provided only a s an example to show some part of the analysis pr ocess. All the tables are summarized and listed in the appendix section of the dissertation Performances and new variables Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added participation facilitation .730 .00 52.9% Plan and organization type .530 .005* Performances and new variables Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Presence of legal limitations is added participation facilitation .569 .008* 30.2% Presence of legal limitations .127 .573

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132 Aggregated model Performances and new variables Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Aggregated model (all the plan making environment variables are added) Participation facilitation 746 .0 0 0 53.5 % Plan and organization type .526 .00 6 Presence of legal limitations .99 .604 5.3.3.2. The influence of the Factor analysis method is used to find t he main components that explain the incorporation of OPTs in plan making. The following table demonstrates the results of the factor analysis. The related variables in each component are highlighted in grey and selected based on their value of equal or greater than 0.5. Component Matrix a Component 1 (making organizatio nal changes) 2 (data analysis process) 3 (Tool introduction) 4 (Facilitating the online engagement) Data management Data analysis method .526 654 .159 .041 OPT management OPT facilitation .201 .043 .321 .858 OPT mana gement Organizational changes (Equipping a department or group) .804 .121 .289 .265 OPT mana gement Organizational changes Collaborating with an outside institution or a group .588 .439 .245 .294 OPT incorporation The number of other participatory methods used .466 .451 .311 .405 OPT incorporation The number of methods used to introduce the tool to the community .056 .148 .885 .008

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133 Data management Data analysis process (the type of orga nization that analyzed the data) .158 .761 .179 .087 OPT mana gement Organizational changes ( Fostering Internal collaboratio n between departments or groups) .839 .401 .070 .020 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. a. 4 components extracted. Component 1 ( M aking organizational changes): a ll the variables related to making o rganization al changes are included in this component. It includes making the following changes: equipping a department or group, collaborating with an outside institu tion or a group, and Fostering i nternal collaboration between departments or groups. Component 2 ( D ata analysis process): this component explains the data analysis process and can be in terpreted in the following ways : (a) and organization which used specific method s of analysis without collaboration with other orga nizations; or (b) an organization which did not use specific method s of analysis but collaborated with other organizations to interpret the collected data 1 Component 3 (Tool introduction): this component includes the higher number of methods that are used to introduce the OPT s to the community. Component 4 (Facilitating the online engagement): this component explains facilitation of the participants online engagement. Similar to the earlie r section, l inear regression models are run to explore how the incorporation of OPTs in plan making mediate the performance of OPTs in making them more or less useful. As an example t he following table s show how the performance of OPTs in 1

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134 The regression analysis results relevant to this section are listed in the appendix section. New variable included in the model Performances and new variables Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added participation facilitation .689 .006* 74% Making organizational changes .498 .015* New variable included in the model Performances and new variables Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Data analysis process is added participation facilitation .781 .011* 34.6% Data analysis process .083 .760 New variable included in the model Performances and new variables Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Tool introduction is added participation facilitation .719 .018* 59.5% Tool introduction .130 .603 New variable included in the model Performances and new variables Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Facilitating the online engagement is added participation facilitation .774 .010* 59.1% Facilitating the online engagement .104 .681

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135 Aggregated model Performances and new variables Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes .490 .034 55.9% Data analysis process .045 .860 Tool introduction .116 .619 Facilitating the online interactions .006 .980 Participation facilitation .667 .024 5.3.4. Summary of the R esults The planning processes and environments influence the OPTs perform ance s T he factors that are related to the incorporation of OPTs to plan making seem to be more effective in influencing comparing to the factors that define the plan making environment. ion in plan making, making organizational changes is the most influential factor in affecting the performance of OPTs. It can mediate the performance of OPTs in participation facilitation, in consensus building, and in knowledge generation. Particularly, m aking organizational changes can augment the performance of OPTs in participation facilitation and in knowledge generation. However, it does not seem that it has a major influence on the performance of OPTs in affecting the plan approval, when we hold any other factor that define the performance of OPTs. Among various factors that define the organizational changes, the most influential one is the collaboration of the organization with outside organizations for managing the OPTs. Those organizations that col laborate with another organizations for managing the OPTs in most cases find the performance of OPTs more effective.

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136 In addition, tool introduction 1 seems to have an important role in influencing some of the nce of OPTs in generating public interest and also generating unexpected but useful information, when the performance of OPTs in affecting the plan approval is being considered. However, tool introduction does not seem to have a major influence on project approval is not taken into account. Data analysis process does not seem to have a major role in influencing the through mediating th online interaction does not have a major role in the performance of OPTs, it can slightly boost the performance of OPTs in generating public interest. The plan and organization type can be influential factors in the performance of OPTs in participation in plan making processes, OPTs are more useful when they are used in small scale plans and by p ublic participation, w hile affecting the project approval, can influence only when the context of plan and organization type are taken into account. In addition, by considering the effect of the the performance of OPTs in generating knowledge seems to be more important than thei r performance in plan approval. performance, comparing to the environmental facto rs such as plan and organization type. 1 the number of methods that are used for tool introduction.

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137 This section explored the role of different factors in influencing the can influence the plan making process. 5.4. Question 4. How do OPTs Influence Plan Making Processes and Plan policies? This question examines the effect of OPTs on plan making processes and plan policies It deeply examines whether and how OPTs influence plan making processes and policies through changing the process of citizen engagement, making consensus, and generating knowledge. It also examines whether and how using OPTs influence the p This question is examined through in depth open ended interview questions. The semi structured nature of the interview sessions, allowed the researcher to examine how OPTs influence plan making processes while being affected by several factors related to the plan making environment. T questions as well as the themes that are emerged based on t various types of public participatory processes including online and face to face ones, have influenced the planners understanding of the exact role of OPTs in making these changes required in depth exploration of the issue through interviews For example, planners may have got desires for increasing the building density in the downtown area through different participatory processes including web based discussion foru ms, traditional p ublic meetings, or focus groups. However, it may not be clear what the role of the OPTs was exactly in this process. T o analyze and understand the process and the effect of the OPTs in informing the nd inter related questions are asked during the interview Question 4 includes the following two sub questions: (a) whether and how do OPTs influence plan making processes?; and (b) whether and how do OPTs influence plan policies?

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138 5.4.1. Whether and how do OPTs I nfluence Plan Making Processes ? As part of the interview processes, open ended questions were asked from the planners to explore the effect of using OPTs on facilitating the participatory planning processes, generating knowledge, and building consen sus. These questions are informed by the analysis results of the in consensus building and knowledge generation on the overall value of OPTs and the process of plan making. 5.4.1.1. Facilitating the P articipatory P rocess This section, examines whether and how the use of OPTs facilitated the process of citizen engagement for planning organizations While some of the planners have found the OPTs useful in making the participatory processes easier, less time consuming, or less expensive; some minor legal, organ izational, or technical issues. None of the interviewees, except one, who was seriously worried about the OPT affordability (#12 1 ), discussed a serious issue regarding the incorporation of the OPTs into their current planning process. OPTs were useful i n making the participatory processes easier, less time consuming, or cheaper : About one third of the interviewees (31%) emphasized that the OPTs have made the participatory processes easier or less time consuming or cheaper for them. Several planners (#28 #34, #20, #21) have found the tool valuable since it attracted mass particip ation in a short amount of time. See the following example, a big meeting [which cost us 1 names and cases are anonymized.

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139 In couple of examples ( #22, #15, #7a) the planners found the OPTs useful due to their capacity of reducing the time they need to spend for arranging meetings or facilita interactions. See the following example: rocess. It was very easy to manage. We set up and had questions and advertise it, once you do that it is easy. It saved time, once it is there More helpful than peop le call you. They do not do that because people already done that. In public meetings 50 people say exact the same thing. But in [the online environment] one people t [the tool] we would have more outreach meetings. You spend a lot of time on preparing for the meeting and being available. [the tool] was easier to The financial considerations of using OPTs and their capacity in creating less expensive participatory processes were important to more than one forth (28%) of the interviewees. In one of the examples, the planner argued that they have spent a lot of money to arrange a public meeting, which attracted about 100 participants. The interviewee compared the number of participants and the amount of money that they spent and discussed that the online tool was able to attract a lot more number of people while spending less.

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140 companies on site and 5 to 10 regional district staff. The cost of the human resource was more than 60 Or, in one example a planner argued that they usually cannot afford participatory processes and even technologies; they were fortunate that the consultant decided to use the tool for citizen engagement and pay for it, which was still cheaper than regular p articipatory processes. participation. Our budget is mainly capital fund Using OPTs created new challenges in conducting participatory processes : The use of OPTs also created some challenges for planning organizations in terms of manag ing citizen engagement or OPTs. The new challenges are mainly related to managing the OPTs and the collected data rather than incorporating the tools into current planning systems. Using OPTs burdened more work: Very few of the interviewees (11%) believed that the use of OPTs burdened more work for them. For example, in two cases planners mentioned that using OPTs created expectations for people and it may not be easy for planning organizations to follow up with those expectations. As the result, the participants may get frustrated or disappointed of their participation. suggest something and we should make changes on polic make changes quickly. The [reality is that] the solution is 9 month away and it involves couple of

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141 regulations. At the end that [ we may] turning people off. In the following example, the planner is not sure but believes that maybe not following up with participants. ure. But, I see that we have lost couple of participants. We have seen a Or, in one example, a planner have explained that the use of the tool have resulted in making the planning process longer: Using OPTs created legal concerns: Couple of planners (16%) argued that they have had some legal conc were mainly focused on privacy issues of using online technologies and data sources. For mments in in their final plan Or, they did not know whether they are legally allowed to spend some part of their budget to give prizes to the onl participation in the online environment While legal concerns of using OPTs in planning process did not create a big issue for planners

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142 In the following two cases, the planners did not include the online inputs in their plans since they were concerned abou t the privacy issues of doing such. In the following case, the planning organization was not able to use the rewarding system of MindMixer to give gifts to the online participants based on their level or rate of participation, due to their concern of using the tax money for gifts. e type of funding, we could not In one example, the planning organization who was located in Canada was worried about using MindMixer, which is an American Compan y, since based on Canadian regulations they negotiate with MindMixer Company to make sure that they are going to store the data in a server in Canada. Or, in another case, the planning org anizati on was not sure if they can send out several emails to the people on their mailing list and ask them to participate in the online discussion, since due to the regulations the organizations were not allowed to send out advertisement emails to citizen s.

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143 spam. Which prohibits people from sending out commercial emails to others. A lot of organizations have sent emails to their costumer saying that if they like to receive emails. Even, non profits are worried about. We are fine with asking people to participate in [the tool]. With having people receiving emails that they do not like to receive, may tempt them to complaint. We are going to put a note and saying that please let us know if Managing OPTs require time and resources: More than one third (39%) of the planners argued that they needed more time and resources to monitor the site and analyze the collected data. Some planners (#5, #16, #17, # 21) argued that they needed more staff to manage the site [online interactions]. Staffing issues and not having time are challenging... We have still our norma In another example, a planner has argued that they were able to use the tool effectively; however, with having more time they could get more out of it: In one example, the planner referred to not having effective advertising methods for

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144 In the following two examples, the planners argued that they did not have enough based inputs. spatial location inputs. If we do it now, we have the ability to analyze geo spatial comm limitation to do geo spatial queries. (#20) There were some technological limitations with using O PTs: Half of the planners pointed out that they have experienced technological limitations while using OPTs. These limitations include issues related to the tool interactivity capacity for encouraging specific policy dialogue or tool interface design for e asy interaction of users. (#13) Some of the interviewees (#31, #10, #17) also argued that the tool sh ould make the registration process easy for the users so tha t they can start collaborating without too much of work. took too long. Also, there were asking too much information and people comfortable with providing that seniors have problem with opening their accounts. But, we would like to ask seniors in senior centers to participate to o... but, it is hard for them to do so [because of technological

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145 In the following example, one planner argued that they needed to configure the website design to make it more similar to their formal website for branding purposes; but they could not do so because of technological limitations. (#16) In one of the cases, the organization decided to continue using the tool, since they have already attracted many people to the OPT website and it was not easy for them to ask all the members to try to use another tool: t, to be able to reach people that we already have in [the tool], we are planning to use MM for the next couple of years. Since, we already have [multiple] projects Couple of planners also discussed the interoperability issues of incorporating the OPTs with other technologies. In the following example the planner argue s that it is not easy to link the other pages to the MindMixer page. A few number of planners (#30, #29, #19b) have found the interface design not enough powerful or easy to use: post and other can add sticky notes. That

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146 A small percentage of the planners (11%) a lso mentioned that they have issues with incorporating the collected data through OPTs into their datasets or new sources. One reason for being this challenge not very common is that in few cases planners have used analytical methods (spatial analysis or c ontent analysis) for analyzing the collected data. One of the issues of data incorporation was due to the fact that in some cases the planners were not able to identify all the posts or comments that belonged to a particular person and tabulate the data. (#2) In another example, the organization that have used the OPTs decided to host the tool on another website for branding reasons; however, they were able to do so since they were not able to transfer the data to the new source. that the website is migrating, but the contact information would not migrate. (#2) In one exampl e, the planners mentioned that they needed to find all the posts created by one participants, by the tool did not allow them to do so, due to its technical limitations. [we] could not visualize all the posts made by Fred, since people were not required to provide ndividual participants... (#35) 5.4.1.2. B uilding Consensus Planners have found OPTs influential and useful in consensus building. While the survey results show that the majority of planners (90%+) have fund the OPTs useful in consensus

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147 building; the interview results show that not all of them refer to a same concept when discussing the value of the tool for consensus building. Most of the planners (67%) refer to consensus building as a process to make consensus among the team of experts or planners, instead of among diverse groups of stakeholders including citizens, developers, planners, and decision makers. The of consensus building is different from how John Forester and Judith understanding through discourse. OPTs were u seful for consensus building among planners and policy makers: The majority (75%) of the interview ees who mentioned that the tool was helpful to them in creating consensus, argued that the tool helped the planning team reach consensus on the fact that they have reached out to diverse groups of people, and various groups of stakeholders to support the p suggested alternatives. of how the OPTs have helped them with consensus building. The OPTs have helped them reach to an agreement that they have gone through an inclu sive participatory process and learned from diverse people, particularly the general public (#8, #10, #14, #15, #17) See the following two examples: [using the tool] m comments and publi

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148 In some cases (#20, #21, #22, #23, #11, #27) planners have mentioned that usi ng the tool assisted them to make sure that their policies and plan scenarios were acceptable and supported by citizens: had public meetings as well. We were sort of comparing what we got from individual responses with other [methods]. [it was a method] In addition, in several examples (#1, #2, #22, #26 #31) the interviewees have found the OP Ts useful due to their capacity in helping planners narrow down their ideas and come up with solutions. This capacity is basically related to the capacity of OPTs in helping planners decide about planning alternatives or scenarios. d about different individual ideas. We started from a big topic and narrowed down. The toolbox is a good example, one said we need a toolbox and other [people] supported it (#1) g higher density and people did not like that idea, so we needed to change that in our plan. Also, we learned that In one example, the interviewee mentioned that the tool was helpful since it a llowed the team of experts, which included people from various backgrounds and with different ideas, reach consensus on what to do with the plan.

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149 solidifying decision making. We had environmental planners, engine OPTs were u seful for consensus building among public: 14% of the planners, who believed that the OPTs were he lpful in consensus building, discussed the effectiveness of OPT s in building consensus among diverse groups of people through discussing planning problems and sharing their planning ideas. Reaching out to a broad population has been very helpful to them i n providing an opportunity for diverse population to share and discuss ideas. This conception of consensus building is different from the Habermasian conception that focuses on creating discourse and moving towards mutual understanding as means of consensu s building. like or do not like their connecting and discussing ideas [to reach to agreement] 5.4.1.3. Generating k nowledge the plan making process. Here, knowledge generation refers to the generation of local knowledge. In about one third of the cases, the interviewees did not find the generated knowledge through OPTs helpful in informing their plan making process, or plan, since it did not include new information. In these cases, this knowledge has been useful since it could confirm that a large population is interested in a particular idea but not because of its novelty.

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150 Based on the interview results, one of the most important factors in the usefulness of t he generated knowledge, is the nature of the planning problem It includes scale type, and relevancy of the issues that should be addressed in a plan 1 The interview results show that in more than half of the cases (58%) planners believed that the nature (scale, type, and relevancy) of planning sefulness of the generated inputs in plan making. The planners believed that t very detailed problems and issues (e.g. revitalization of a specific part of the downtown) generate more valuable responses from citizens, some others believed that broad types of problems (e.g. downtown visioning) were more useful for doing such. Several plan ners (#1, #4, #16, #9, #10, #15, #19b, #18) emphasized on the value of tangible, sensitive, and well defined problems in soliciti ng useful inputs from citizens. See the following examples: [We should] a specific policy it is going to be easier to attract people. (#1 2 ) W e got more comments for the questions that were more tangible and understandable by better comments. When you are saying something general, people are not much interested [in participating]. But, when going through details, they are more 1 Some of the respondents also mentioned that the availability of regal limitations has influenced the usefulness of OPTs in their plan making process. In this section, I focus on the importance of the nature of the planning problems, as the main component related to the plan making environment, in i nfluencing the use of OPTs in plan making process. 2 Refers to the interview case #1. The interview cases are anonymized.

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151 planning projects, when you say we have 5 options people On the other hand, couple of planners (#11, #17, #21) mentioned that the general topics or issues attracted more participation and generated more valuable inputs, or l ocal knowledge, comparing to the detailed issues: .. Sometime, we got some unrelated In one example, a planner also mentioned t hat she was not clear either the website design Or, in anot her example, planners mentioned that the usability of OPTs for soliciting valuable inputs can be also related to the stage of the plan making process in which the OPT is used. For example, the planners argued that in the early stages of plan making, it is valuable to discuss broad planning problems; however, after the early stages it is better to get focused on particular topics. beginning [stages of plan making] when yo In one of the examples, the interviewee explained that for soliciting useful inputs from citizens, the questions or issues that are posted online should be defined well since faci litating

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152 In online, you should think a lot about the questions you put. In the meeting, you mediate the conversation.... In [the online environment] we had irrelevant answers but the reason was that in online you do not have that luxury. In [defining] the questions you have to clearly determine what you want to too broad [and not well defined]. Similarly, in the following example, one of the planners d iscussed the importance of asking citizens easy to understand and not technical questions in a right time. The planner believed that it is better not to use the OPT for discussing complex problems, but for broad and simple issues. when you updating your policy plan, your comp plan is a very people t would use [the tool] for visioning, feedback about a design project, engaging discussion about attention and generating ideas. What about the value of the generated knowledge for planners ? How d o planners evaluate the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of the knowledge generated though OPTs? (See Cash et. all, 2003). This issue is explored in the next section. Knowledge salience : This study examines knowledge salie nce through exploring the relevancy

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153 is different from what they have got form their face to face meetings. While about half of the interviewees (47%) mentioned t hat the online inputs were different and useful from the inputs that they have got from their public meetings, the same number (47%) believed that the online inputs were not different. In addition, a bout one third of the interviewees (36%) believed that th e online inputs were more comprehensive, detailed, and useful than the inputs they have got from their public meetings. Several reasons can influence the volume or quality of the generated local knowledge. The following paragraphs will discuss this issue by exploring the type s of participants or people who have produced the knowledge. The online inputs were different from the public meeting inputs and useful: Planners believed that the online inputs were different from the public meeting inputs and more us eful since they were more open and more detailed, and included new ideas and perspectives. New types of people and novel ideas in the online environment: Several planners argued that the online participants were different from and more diverse than the pub participants. They argued that the online participants represented younger generation or those who are not able to attend the meetings due to the limitations of time and place. The planners found the participation of the new population useful due to their value in bringing diverse and new ideas. In one example, the planners decided to use the online tool since they wanted to provide the opportunity for temporary residents and tourists to participate in the discussion without being required to come to public meetings:

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154 Or, in other example s (#19a, #14, #18, #30, #15) the planners were satisfied with using the tool since it allowed them to attract new types of people to engage in the discussion and learn from their ideas which were different from the public meeting ideas. They learned about the nd by looking at their zip codes (in MindMixer cases) or asking them to fill out online surveys. See the following quotes: Internet access. In public meetings, we got fe edback mainly from lower income [groups] about are. Their top need was food trays due to the type of participants [who] participated [in the discussion] property owners and Or, in the following example s the planners found the tool useful since it allowed people who culturally do not participate in public meetings to engage in the on line discussion and share their ideas: online forum] is open to all while public meetings are more focused. (#20) above average education for the online (#27)

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155 In the couple of cases (#19b, #2, #20, #18) pla nners have expressed their interest in the online comments because of the depth of their local knowledge as well as their novelty. For example, couple of planners have mentioned that thy have got online comments related to the use of innovative technologie s in planning. They believed that they usually do not get such information in their meetings. See how planners express this in the following examples: we barely visionary. In the online environment, we got a lot of comments about pubic space and public art Or, in the following example, the planner is explaining how people have had different attitudes and ideas about a single issue; locating high rise buildings in part of a town. But, here [in the online environment] people liked it. Also, [the online participants] were interested in retail stores whic While the type of participants may or may not affect the depth of the information that they have provided, several planners have mentioned that the data generated through OPTs was valuabl e due to its depth. More open discussions in the online environment: Couple of planners (#1, #7a, #28, #6, #5, #30) their participation, represent a particular commun ity or group, or are not very collaborative. They

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156 believed that online participants were generally more open, providing a more effective environment for collaboration. Planners preferred not to see a lot of angry people attending the public meetings and do minating the discussion. See the following comments: change in the city. In [the online environment] we had more diverse groups of participants. People had differe inst The online inputs were not much different form the public meeting inputs: About half of the interviewees (47%) argued that the online inputs were similar to the inputs that have received from their meetings or the information that already had access to; therefore, they did not add much content to the plans. Based on the intervie w results, in none of the cases the planners have done a systematic content or sentiment analysis of the comments; however, the qualitative overview of the online comments by planners show that in about half of the cases, the online comments did not provid e considerable information for planners to change some parts of the the consistency of online and non online inputs can be either valuable or not valuable. So me of comments in public meetings; some other did not find it valuable since they were hoping to receive detailed and new ideas through the use of OPTs. Regardless o f the data usefulness, the

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157 following examples explain how several planners perceive the similarity between the online and non online comments: processes. [the online to ol] was a controlled way of asking the general public. We had public meetings at the time we were generating the options. For example, we asked about types of fitness ot more detailed and useful tha n the data [collected] from stakeholder meetings. In couple of examples (#2, #10, #30) planners were not sure if the online information provided new information for them; but, they were still posi tive about the consistency of that information with what they have got from their meetings: Knowledge credibility : Cash et.a. (2003) consider knowledge cre dibility as if the knowledge is engagement in plan making, this study examine knowledge credibility through exploring whether OPTs generate usable detailed and compreh ensive knowledge for planners, instead of imperial ( Fischer, 2000) ; however, planners may not necessarily looking for scientific knowledge when using OPTs. Therefore, this section examines whether the generated data through OPTs is detailed or comprehensive enough to be used by planners in plan making. The online inputs we re very detailed or comprehensive : While several planners have referred to the value of online inputs because of their novelty (#19b, #20, #18, #34), about one third of the interviewees (36%) have also found the online inputs useful due to their depth. Her e, the

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158 knowledge depth does not only refer to the level of detail of the knowledge, but also the ways in which this knowledge is being presented. The following example show how one of the planners have found the online inputs more comprehensive than the k nowledge they get from public meetings. See the following two examples: of cases we get short comments. Even when we have boards that people can write, stil Or, in the following example, the interviewee likes the online inputs since it allowed people to explain the reason of their expressed interest in detail. talking about different districts within the city to use. People were excited about creating more dense areas ... It was In another example, a planner has found the online inputs useful because of their comprehen siveness about variety of topics: park idea came from the general comments [of the crowd]. Then we asked what amenities should be there. That was helpful to In the following example, the planner useful in determining the details of their design:

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159 n about an area that we In following example the planner compared the value of online inputs with the inputs they got from their neighborhood meetings. She argues that although they are similar in the depth of knowledge that they provide, the online tool has attracted much broader audience. kinds of instruments. Getting localized knowledge of that location which is great and is very helpful. Similar to the information we get from our local neighborhood meetings, but usually [very few] people go to those meetings. The tool broadens the range of voices you hear [and In another example, a planner believed that the online forum pushed people to share and rmat. You [as the online participant] need more commitment. It is more content oriented and in opportunities that online technologies can provide for interaction, including sharing photos, web links, or geo spatial information. In the following example, the online contributions were useful not only because of their depth, but also the way the information was shared through hyperlinks: # 7a)

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160 The majority of the comments were too specif ic or too broad; therefore, not very useful: While about one third of the planners have found the online comments detailed enough to be useful, about 11% of them mentioned that most of the comments that they have got were too broad or too detailed to be us eful. Based on what planners explained, it can be due to the type of project or the knowledge of citizens. See the following example: participants] well. Maybe we shoul d change the questions [that we upload online to ask for Knowledge legitimacy : To examine the legitimacy of the online comments to be used in plan making, the study explores how planners perceive their appropriateness, sincerity, and legitimacy. The online contributions were highly sincere: None of the interviewees expressed major c oncern perceived the sincerity of the contributions as very high. The following examples show how nline behavior. Some of the planners (e.g. #15, #18, #19, #20, #22, #16) argued that people were very well behaved, civilized, and responsible in engaging online. information. Very civil ized In couple of examples (#22, #16) were more civilized in the online environment comparing to their newsletter blogs.

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161 One of the planners who have used Place requirement to provide some information about their living or working locat ion at the time of registration help ed with increasing the sincerity of the comments. live. It helped with more truthfulness and Couple of the planners (#16, #14) also mentioned that they were concerned about the people were very civilized. We were expec Some of the contributions were inappropriate: Appropriateness relates to if the type of behavior that is promoted through a particular comment is appropriate. While a ll the interviewees were very satisfied with the appropriateness of the inputs, some of them mentioned that they have seen some inappropriate comments or posts. The online inputs were either distracting the discussion or promoting bad or aggressive behavio r. Very few interviewees have noticed non relevant posts among what people have shared. In the following example, a planner exemplifies some of these posts and explains how they were distracting other people: s and provide information. Some of the comments

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162 In very few cases (#25, #26, #33, #35) the planner s talked about some strange, rude, or incorrect comm ents that they have received. See the following comment: the (#35) Some of the planners also explained that receiving inappropriate comments have not been a serious issue for them since they were able to control the site by deletin g the comments. deleted them. That one comments were just so mean and those were pulled o ut. For example, one comment that is used # 33) In addition, in very few examples nline comments were no about the issue. The following example comparing to the online was useful. But, was like you should put bikesahre stations here. Online feedback has a lot of personal bias. stakeholder meetings were better. Anytime when you have meeting with people, you get some useless Stakeholder have more realistic information about where people are travelling versus public. So,

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163 mehow 5.4.2. Whether and how do es the Use of This question explores whether and how plans are changed or modified by the use of are categorized in influence in changin in validating scenarios, actions, or processes. 5.4.2.1. i nfluence in c hanging or r efining p lans was different in various plans. While contents or policies, about less than half of them (44%) believed that using OPTs have resulted in of them (25%) did not provide a clear answer to this question. OPTs have changed or refined some parts of plans primarily by adding or removing p olicies or design features or refining visions and concepts. OPTs were useful in adding or removing policies or design features: Less than half of the p lanners (44%) have changed or refined some of the plan policies or design features based on line comments and contributions. For example, see how a planner refers to the value should make decisions [regarding railroad alignments]. (#10 1 1 The number corresponds to the specific number that is assigned to a specific interview case. For example, this quote relates to the interview case number 10.

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164 In another example, the planners changed their policies regarding the density of parking areas in their plans, as they realized that people do not want more parking: our plan. People liked to have less parking [than what we thought they would like to have]! (#6) the center of the site there is an all year 90 foot trees, and people want to preserve [it]. they hanges on In few examples, online inputs helped planners focus on smaller number of alternatives or options: pe of technology to use in their project:

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165 d with brainstorming and adding a new design feature or policy to the plan or thinking about a feature that they have not thought about. In the following example, the online inputs helped planners think about creating an open space theatre and putting the idea for its creation in their plan: Or, in the following example, the pl anner has got new idea that was different from public meeting In another example, an idea came from the online e nvironment and tested through other participatory methods: some type o OPTs were useful in refining concepts or visions: While the online inputs were helpful in making detailed cha nges or refinements on plans, in some cases they have resulted in making conceptual changes or refinements, including refining the design concepts, or even visions for the plans.

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166 For example, in one of the plans, planners changed their vision for their wa ter front revitalization project on various environmental considerations : Or in another project which were asking for a design that suits the character of their city: this design does not show In another example, planners found out that people are very interested in using bike share systems outside of their initial planning area. The initial plan was mainly focused on serving part of the town; howeve citizens in locating stations all around the city. OPTs were useful in adding a new rule or enforcement: I n some cases, the online contributions pushed planners to add new rules, enforcements, or incentives. For example, in one of the plans, planners reinforced a toolbox fo demands: made

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167 Or, in another example, planners changed the density regulations in some part of their initial plan: approved for 30 stories. We were proposing the main corridor as high density. But, people did Or, in one case, designers changed the design code for the use of indigenous material, which was different from what they suggested initially: n [designing] regulations for the use of indigenous material [in our In another design suggested by planners resulted in placement of new incentives in the plan: defined] new types of incentives for key strategies to manage issues of [dealing with] OPTs were not useful in changing or refining plans: S everal interviewees (31%), mentioned did not change their plan policies, designs, or features, mainly because they did not add a new layer of information. The following comments show that planners did not find the online inputs useful since they were not different from what they have alread y got from their other non online participatory methods: contents. (#5)

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168 cha nnels. We use [the tool] to see if there are additional interaction... (#9) Or, in the following example the int erviewee mentioned that they did not use the online but, to attract peoples trust by showing that the City i s trying to engage them through different channels : very use 5.4.2.2. validate or test their (a) plan scenarios or features, or (b) participatory planning and decision making processes. OPTs usefulness in validating plan scenar ios or features: In several cases, planners believed that the inputs generated from the OPTs helped them assure that their policies are in line with what they get from other participatory sources or what the majority of citizens want. The following notes show the examples of how the online inputs made planners more confident about their decisions because of the consistency of the online comments with the comment that they have received from other sources. meeting we really did not know what we want to do Because we got all those information form [the tool], we had a better idea about peopl

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169 qualitative and quantitative techniques. It was another qualitative technique. The tool allowed us to see if we Or, in sev eral other examples (#13, #15, #20, #8) planners found the online comments helpful since they were validating their policies and what they wanted to do with the plan. The comments helped planners make sure that the online participants, or at least a select ed group of them, li ke their strategies or policies. See the following two examples: Consultants made recommendations and [the tool] supported those ideas. It made our thinking process (#15) sure that the ideas that we have are acceptabl e to people. We wanted to make sure that we are our density [ policies to adopt. Our purpose was to see what issues people see in their community (#20) OPTs usefulness in validating participatory processes: Planners also found OPTs useful in validating their planning and decision making process. It can be due to the effect of using OPTs as a participatory method, on the general public or the council members. Here, the focus is not on validation of the planning process and not on the plan content. The following examples explain how planners consider using OPTs for supporting or validatin g their decisions, regardless of the appropriateness of their actions.

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170 ewee is refereeing to the number of times that ideas are supported by online members and the possibility of referring to the numbers for backing up decisions: r Or, here is another example where a planners refers to the importance of the number of online particip Or, in the following example an interviewee explains that the po ssibility of referring to like to support their stakeholder engagement process: et exact words that are more personal and can be used in our plan for more validity [of our participatory Or, in the following example, an interviewee explains that they have used OPTs to facilitate their participatory planning process for r evising their comprehensive plan which was rejected once due to the lack of engaging citizens effectively throughout the process. They used the tool not only to engage more diverse communities, but also to show that they are actively engaging citizens in t he plan making process:

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171 sure that various groups are represented [in t b) Or, in some other examples (#19b, #9, 17) the interviewees argued that one of the values of OPTs relates to their influence on the council members in showing them that people are engaged: makers like to see that people are engaged, the council members like that. Anyone who wants to participate can do it. Council members and decision makers like that people are was very useful mainly because of having that additional la yer of people being engaged in In the following comment, the interviewee has clearly expressed his instrumental intension of using the online tool: as having a map and say here we did public participation. The actual data a great way to reach a large number of people. But, still good that those people feel t hey are part of the process. Also, nobody wants to be responsible for a fail process. It was helpful for the onlin since it shows how diverse the participants are:

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172 affected people participated, to be able to identi fy spatial things. It help us with validating our Or, in the following example, an interviewee explains how the online tool is used in combination with non online methods of participation to make sure that people are satisfied with the plan and decisions: rocess. The online comments were brought up in public meetings and discussed. This is how some of the online questions were set up. The people are happy and are not going to do somethin 5.4.3. Summary OPTs were useful in facilitating the implementation of participatory processes by making these proce sses easier, less time consuming, and cheaper. The incorporation of OPTs in plan making processes did not create major issues for the organizati ons. On the other hand, some planning organizations face d managing and analyzing the collected data, or dealin g with legal issues for using these new technologies. The performance of OPTs in generating knowledge facilitated the plan making process thr ough helping planners with decision making. In about half of the cases, the generated knowledge helped the planners not because of its novelty, but, because it assured planners that ct the value of the generated knowledge in plan making process including the nature of planning problem s and the perceptions of planners about the value of the knowledge generated through OPTs.

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173 In more than half of the cases, using OPTs have had a major influence on plan policies or features validating design features or participatory processes. OPTs made planners more confident about their decisions allowing decisions On the other hand, in about one third of the cases, the planners believed that the OPTs were not very helpful in influencing the plan policies or features. 5.5. Summary of the Result s of the Research Questions The research results emphasizes on not only the organizational, contextual, and technological aspects of using new technologies in plan making, but also the political aspects and consequences of doing such. The research results emphasize on the notion of making processes in new ways through refining this process as a political practice, where multi stakeholders interact at different scales, and wher e the infusion of information and facilitation of social interaction influences these processes. The study examines plan making processes through a multilevel mixed methods case study approach to explore the incorporation and usefulness in plan m aking. Several planning organizations in the U.S. and Canada are studied to explore the research questions. The results show that the organizations have used OPTs in plan making for variety of participatory purposes, including engaging more diverse popula tion, including more number of people, or resolving possible conflicting ideas. While the organizations have used OPTs as supplementary tools and methods of engagement, they did not made major organizational king due to either not having enough time or resources or not considering making changes necessary. For example, in most cases, the planners were not actively involved in facilitating the online discussions, not only due to the issue of time

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174 management but also due to the fact that they did not consider the discussion facilitation necessary. The majority of the planners found the OPTs very useful in plan making processes or design Several factors can influence the performance of OPTs in plan making, including making organizational changes, methods for introducing the OPTs to communities, or even the scale and type of plans. While about one third of the planners believed that the knowledge that is generated through OPTs is similar to the knowledge generated through other sources, including public meetings; they still consider the generated knowledge useful since it shows the desires or needs of a broad community. OPTs do not only helped the planners by influencing the plan making process, but also by making planners more confident about their decisions through ensuring that a wide community supports t heir decisions. The next chapter builds on the research findings to discuss the implications of using OPTs in plan making and come up with recommendations for more effective incorporation of new participatory methods in planning and policy making. It part icularly discusses the sustainability and eq uity implications of using OPTs.

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175 CHAPTER VI CONCLUS ION S AND IMPLICATIONS This chapter discusses the conclusions and implications of the study concerning the use of online participatory tools for plan making Building on policy and theory implications of the research, i t discusses how the use of OPTs can augment or threaten the future of public participatory processes. The chapter provides considerations and discussions for more effective use of new technologie s in participatory land use and environmental planning It particularly focuses on the role of participatory technologies in empowering planning organizations or planners and the consequences of this empowerment. It then explains the importance of the plan making envir usefulness. The chapter also provides considerations and recommendation s for the effective use of OPTs, discusses limitations of the study, and comes up with ideas for future research. The research implica tions, with a focus on the use of online participatory tools in plan making, emphasize on the role of planning field as a situated political activity that requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders at different scales Based on the focus of this research on planning as a pragmatic inquiry and the close interaction among planning practice, policy, and theory, the following paragraphs discuss the research implications based on distinguishable but in terconnected planning subjects. 6.1. OPTs for Empowerin g Planners Planning and power literature has a strong emphasis on the issue of community empowerment, and particularly the on the role of planning as a medium for such empowerment. However, it has which is explored in this dissertation. in decision and plan making process where planners should work with different stakeholders and

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176 deal with technical and polit ical issues. The stakeholders include city council members, developers, neighborhood organizations, business owners, public officials, and community members. The study results show that OPTs can technically and politically empower planning organizations. Their effective use is related to several contextual factors related to the plan making environment, which are going to be discussed later in this chapter. The following paragraphs explain ways in which OPTs can empower planners. Although this empowerment is different from community empowerment, it can result in community empowerment directly or indirectly. 6.1.1. Political Empowerment The power of urban planners have been discussed from different angles by planning theorists. It includes comparing their power wit h the power of other groups in capitalist societies, including policy makers, business owners, or industries in shaping cities. It also includes comparing their as. This section argues the potential role of online participatory tools in providing more power for planners either when they are working with policy makers or with citizens. This power can be used or misused by planners. Online participatory tools can g ive more power to planners in the political environment, when Several planners in this study found the OPTs useful in facilitating buildin g trust in their c ommunities by: E ngaging more number of people in plan making process, S howing the communities that the planning organization is interested in hearing their voices through different channels,

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177 E ngaging the communities from the early stages of plan making, and B eing able to more easily follow up with the participants regarding the project progress or requirements. addition, several planners in the study referred to t he capacity of the tools in documenting the participation of a large community, which can be helpful in satisfying the council members who of judging the ap OPTs can give more power to planners in the political planning environment. 6.1.2. Technical Empowerment The performance of online planning tools in facilitating information sharing and social test planning ideas or scenarios. 6.1.2.1. Generating local knowledge Crowdsourcing local knowledge is one of the drivers of using online technologies in participatory processes. Online tools can help organizations engage the knowledge of more diverse population, which may or may not be different from the knowledge that they collect through employ ing other participatory methods such as public meetings or interviews. Several factors related to the incorporation of OPTs in plan making influence the usability of the generated knowledge. These factors include the type of technol ogy, the method of participation management, the method of data analysis, the type of plan, and the type of community who uses the tool. Different tools generate different types of knowledge. While some of the tools require the participants to somehow vali date their identity (e.g. PlaceSpeak), several other ones do not have such requirement. While some of them mainly generate geospatial

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178 knowledge, some other ones generate text based knowledge. In addition, ways in which the online interactions are managed a nd facilitated may influence the value of the generated information. Plan type also matter; while in some small scale plans the generated knowledge is valuable, in some larger scale and more complicated plans the knowledge may not be that useful. In addit ion, planning organizations may find the generated knowledge useful for testing their results and exploring whether the information that they receive from various sources or different communities overlap. data is generated through online sources every minute. Are all of these data valuable for planners? Do planners need to analyze all these data? In this study, most of the planning organizations did not analyze data because they either did not find it nece ssary or did not know how to do so. What if planners get more educated or more equipped to analyze and interpret these big data? In that case, does the analysis of these data e plans? 6.1.2.2. Building consensus and resolving conflicts The majority of planning organizations in this study found the OPTs helpful for consensus building purposes among the planning team, but not the community that is going to be affected by the plan. The OP Ts helped planners come to an understanding or agreement about what to do with the plan; for example, to decide about the plan alternatives by learning about the interest of a larger community regarding plan scenarios. Due to the current planning requireme nts for responding to climate change issues we see more needs for the engagement of various types of stakeholders at different geographical scales. Inclusive consensus building processes can be more complicated than before due to responding to this multi s cale and multi agent activity. Although the OPTs may not be the answer to this complexity, their usefulness in developing consensus among the planning team is still valuable. They should be used as one of the several methods that are used for consensus bui lding and conflict resolutions purposes. Further research is required to

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179 explore the role of different types of OPTs in facilitating dialogue or conflict resolution among a diverse population. 6.1.2.3. Forming or evaluating decisions and scenarios OPTs have the cap acity to help planners with forming or evaluating their decisions, visions, or scenarios, by receiving feedback from a large or new population, through crowdsourcing. As the results of the study showed, the OPTs helped planners in different stages of plan making, from visioning, to testing and negotiating scenarios, and to following up with citizens to decide about the next stages of plan making or implementation. OPTs allow planners to frame ideas by asking open ended questions from a large community and exploring their ideas and desires. This process, crowdsourcing, is similar to arranging meetings or focus group sessions to brainstorm ideas. However, the structure is different. The deliberation process is different due to the opportunities and limitation s of the online environments in facilitating social interactions. While the online environments can facilitate easier and cheaper engagement processes, they generate social justice concerns. While they facilitate easier information sharing processes, they can hinder deliberation and dialogue based interaction. Considering these opportunities and challenges, the ideas that are formed through web based either frame new ideas or understand how a large group of people thinks about particular planning issues or scenarios. OPTs can also help with creating or testing scenarios. As the study results showed, in several examples planners have used the OPTs to ask the online part icipants what they think about particular scenarios or alternatives that were developed by using scenario making methods. The use of OPTs make planners, decision makers, or policy makers more confident about their decisions, through helping them understan d how a larger community or those who may not attend public meetings react to their decisions or plans.

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180 6.2. OPTs for Participatory Environmental and Land Use Planning: Opportunities and Threats Participatory environmental and land use planning deals with complexity of interaction among different systems that shape cities, including natural, social, physical, or organizational. Particularly, planning for sustainability and climate change requires multiple stakeholders negotiating and discussin g these intera ctions at various. While the capacity of online participatory tools in providing opportunities for facilitating information sharing and social interaction can make them suitable for negotiating or mediating environmental sustainability practices, they can also provide venues for mismanagement of resources or un equal planning. Regardless of whether and how different types of tools are capable building) for land use or envi ronmental planning projects, ways in which organizations use these tools can foster or limit the usefulness. Similar to any other planning tools, new online participatory technologies can also be used by organizations incorrectly and res ult in not desirable actions The methods of using technologies and incorporating them in plan making are as important as the performances of technologies in making them useful in the plan making processes. 6.2.1. O PTs for Multi Stakeholder Engagement Participato ry planning should engage a diverse population in the entire process of plan making from its very early stages. OPTs facilitate the engagement of new and more diverse population The traditional and current debates on the issues of environmental justice are examples of how marginalized communities are affected by decision s that are made or actions that are taken by more powerful or affluent communities. The effective use of OPTs can respond to some of these challenges by engaging those people that are nor mally not involv ed in decision making processes, or informing them about projects and ways in which they can be affected by those projects. For

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181 example, as the results of this research showed about attracting people to discuss issues concerning hackathons, the OPTs can facilitate the participation of young generation who usually do not normally engage in planning processes. OPTs allow planners to go where the youth are, instead of asking the youth to come to their public meetings. In addition, the collabor ation among different actors that are directly involved in plan making can be facilitated by the use of OPTs. These actors include planners, policy makers, business owners, and potential investors. New decision making and participatory technologies are con stantly being developed by companies that work at the intersection of technology and planning. These technologies have revolutionized the creation of easier and more sophisticated collaborative decision making processes through augmenting data visualizatio n, information sharing, and 3D modeling that can happen in synchronous environments. While these web based technologies can enhance collaborative planning among the involved actors, they may threate n the processes if used as the main methods for instrument al planning decisions. 6.2.2. OPTs for Multi Scale Engagement OPTs can facilitate the engagement of diverse stakeholders across different scales, from local to regional and to national scales. For example, in the current study the OPTs disc ussion on a regional rail transportation project by attracting people to share their ideas more easily, reducing the cost of public participatory process, and augmenting opportunities for following up with the involved stakeholders throughout the process. In addition, decisions regarding the issues of environmental planning and climate change are strongly inter related and should be incorporated into the context of other socio cultural or health related decision making procedures (Ad ger et al., 2008) 6.3. Considerations for Using Online Participatory Tools Effectively During the last three or four decades, planning and technology scholars have examined the role of new technologies in planning from different angles; from more technology based positivist

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182 approaches which consider technologies as solutions to create more e ffective planning processes, to more human centered approaches which consider non technological factors as main factors that influence the usefulness of new tools. The study results support the second approach, explaining the critical importance of context ual factors in influencing the usefulness on new participatory methods or tools in plan making. facilitate or hinder, or lead or mislead planning; but, are fea tures that are embedded in planning processes. The usability of these technologies usability cannot be evaluated regardless of their context. While in some communities or in some specific situations, for example in disaster recovery, online tools can be he lpful in stakeholder engagement, they might be less helpful in other contexts where communities are struggling with the Internet accessibility or technology literacy. Different types of technologies have different uses in different contexts. Although the c ontext and type of use and performance of technology is important as well. O one of the many planning methods, and n ot for coming up with defined solutions or policies to shape the future of cities and regions. Similar to the use of GIS or spatial analysis, which are not suitable to be used in every single planning case, the OPTs are not useful in every single case as w ell. Online participatory tools are different from traditional planning tools, including desktop GIS or modeling applications, due to their capacity of engaging mass groups of stakeholders in various scales and facilitating bottom up and grass root actions Of course, the type of online tools matter; although some of the tools are strictly controlled by planning organizations, some other ones are not. The tools that discussed in this study are mainly monitored by organizations whose attitudes can directly i gagement. H owever, in some other online, e.g.

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183 neighborhood based online forums or social media groups, citizens may be more powerful in not only controlling the participatory environment but also initiating actions in favor or agai nst the organizations as planning tools; for example, several local governments are now using online neighborhood forums (e.g. i Neighbors; Nextdoor) to engage loca l and self organized comm unities in local planning processes. The following notes provide recommendations for the effective use and incorporation of OPTs in planning and policy making. Planning organizations should: Learn about effective participatory met hods and practices: Planning organizations are constantly required to seek knowledge about the best participatory practices. For example, they should learn about the effective methods of discussion facilitation and ways in which those methods can enhance t he results of their participatory approach. While gaining knowledge about new participatory technologies is important, this knowledge would not be helpful if planners lack understanding of ways in which public participatory approaches are designed and impl emented Define goals and objectives of the public engagement process: Planning organizations should define their purposes of engaging the public. They may have different purposes for citizen engagement at different stages of plan making. For example, do want to consult different planning scenarios with the public? Or, do they want to inform people about the project progress? Evaluate the character of the plan mak ing environment and their organizational capacities: Planning organizations should examine their abilities of using the OPTs effectively. For do they have experts who can analyze the collected data generated by the OPTs, if they need

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184 to? Or, do they have the knowledgeable staff who can effectively integrate the online participatory methods into their planning process? Evaluate the tool based on the character and ca pacity of the tool and the organization: Planning organizations should evaluate the capacity of different types of OPTs to examine whether they are suitable for their participatory planning goals and correspond to their organizational capacity. For exampl e, if the project focuses on a complex environmental issue when multiple stakeholders with conflicting ideas are involved, is the tool capable of facilitating dialogue and consensus building? If they decide to use the tool, will they be able to assign an e xpert to facilitate the online discussion? Consult possible opportunities for collaboration: Managing and integrating new participatory processes and technologies can be complicated. Planning organizations should consider inter organizational collaboratio n for such management. They can find partners, including professional or academic organizations, to help them with different aspects of managing or using the new online methods, including setting up the tools or analyzing the collected data. Assign a faci litator : P lanning organizations should assign facilitator(s) to manage peoples engagement in the online envi ronment. These facilitators should have enough knowledge about the planning process and the various participatory methods that are used in this process. discussion, l isten and clarify intentions and confusions, correct misinformation, and provide participants adequate information about the project. Of course, the role of the online facilitators and the facilitation methods that t hey use might be different from those who are facilitating public meetings. Planning organizations should find ways in which they can facilitate online interactions efficiently, meaningfully, and efficiently. Facilitators have critical roles in the effecti veness of participatory methods. The role of

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185 communication managers in planning organizations seems to be more important that before with the increase in the use of OPTs in planning processes. Professional development programs (e.g. Soliya) can help planne rs learn about effective methods of discussion facilitation, particularly when they are using new participatory technologies. Planning organizations should actively seek information about ways in which public participatory methods can be organized and mana ged effectively. Learn about the potential concerns that may raise because of using OPTs: Using OPTs may create new requirements or concerns, which planning organizations should be aware of. For example, using OPTs may create legal or privacy issues for t he organizations due to the possible challenges of using the online comments in the plan. Planning organizations may require to consult with lawyers about the potential legal concerns or using OPTs. Get ready to deal with issues of data obesity: Using OPTs may result in the generation of a huge volume of data, which may or may not be useful. Planning organizations should be prepared to be able to interpret the data or decide about the extent in which it is valuable to them. Cities are getting data obese now Will all the data generated by users be useful to planning organizations? To what extent this data is useful for them? Does it worth for the organizations to spend resources for analyzing this data? Be prepared for possible changes: Similar to the use of other participatory methods or tools, using OPTs may result in changes in the plan or plan making approach. Planning organizations should be ready for such changes. For example, by crowdsourcing ideas planners may receive a particular feedback from citizens about the plan which they were not expecting. Based on the feedback of a large community, they may need to reconsider their goals or policies.

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186 6.4. Limitations the Study This secti on discusses the limitations of the dissertation by foc using on issues relevant to the research design, methods, and content. T he current study ex amined the usability of OPTs by exploring whether and how planners find these technologies useful. It explored the research questions by examining self reported comments and n otes that are made by planners. For example, the performance of OPTs in facilitating participation is examined based on how planners perceive this performance and not based on how the OPTs have performed to facilitate participa tion. H evaluation of the OPT s ma y have been different from the OPTs actual usability or performance This issue limited the interpretation of the research results. An important aspect of the plan making process is the incorporation of pub lic interest in these processes. This issue concerns engaging diverse stakeholders and community g roups in plan making. The incorporation of public interest is not deeply explored in this study since data related to the socio demographic or economi c backgr ound of each online participant were not available to the researcher. The research explored the usability of OPTs by asking one planner from each organization. However, different planners who are working at the same organization might have different ideas about the usability of OPTs. This issue limited the interpretation of how each organization evaluates the usability of OPTs in a particular way. Since 2012 that I initiated this study, not only the tools that are ex amined in this study have changed, but a lso se veral other new tools are developed Currently, many more types of participatory tools are being used by planning organizations for

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187 planning purposes. The three tool that are explored in this study may not fully represent the current available types of OPTs. Since the study ex amined a small number of cases the results of the statistical analysis are not easily generalizable. In addition, causal relationships cannot be easily explored due to the small sample size. Since the current study explored the usability of the OPTs by only looking at cases in which the tools are being us ed the research results might be biased. Those cases that have not used these tools could be also engaged in the study to examine the reasons for which the y did not use new tec hnologies. Most of the cases in the current study were from the U.S. and not from Canada. However, the plan making issues and environments in the U.S. and Canada might have been different. Due to this limitation, the research results should be interpreted and generalized cautiously. This research is done at the time that OPTs are still very new for planners Many planning organizations have not been very much familiar with the use of these technologies. As these tools get more common to use in plan making planning organizations usability in a different way. Currently, planning organizations are very excited about using these technologies. Maybe the results of a similar research be different in a dec ade from now when such excitement does not exist anymore. 6.5. Future Research This section discusses ideas for advancing the current study using new methods, or building on the study findings and exploring new topics related to the use of online participatory tools in planning.

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188 6.5.1. Applying New Research Design s or Methods The study employed the multilevel case study design approach through the survey and interview of planners and community engagement specialists followed by a mixed methods analysis approach. The methods allowed the researcher to examine the overall value of OPTs in plan making through the lens of planners who have been involved in using online participatory tools. Future studies are suggested to explore whether and how the plan making process has evolved regardless of ways in which planners have experienced this evolution, but, how the plan features and policies have changed because of the use of new technologies. This exploration is features and policies. Are these changes due to the use of a particular engagement method or dataset or due to the interaction between several methods or factors? For example, when the planning team and city council members select and approve a particular land use planning scenario comments in public meetings. It is the result of the overlay of findings from various methods, including GIS based scenario making models, several public meetings o r focus group sessions with diverse stakeholders, or web based crowdsourcing methods. Considering these complexities, the following methodological approaches are suggested: 6.5.1.1. Research designs Pre test post test research design: these research designs can inf orm the exploration of using OPTs, as interventions, on the process and outcome of plan making. Researchers can benefit from the design by exploring whether and how the impro corresponds to the interest of the public.

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189 Comparative case study research: future studies can also explore the effect of OPTs in plan making processes by comparing cases that have used the OPTs with similar cases that have not used them. The context of planning environment, including the type of o rganization, plan, and community, should be comparable in both cases. 6.5.1.2. Case studies Future studies should focus on new types of tools and technologies in different contexts for deeper exploration of a wide range of participatory tools in plan making. 6.5.1.3. Popu lation sample The experience of more number of people or more diverse people from each organization should be explored. Future studies should expand the population sample to a larger community in each organization not only to explore the experience of more number of people who have been directly or indirectly involved in the use of OPTs, but also those who have not been involved in using the tools. There is a possibility that some people have not used the OPTs because of their low level of satisfaction with the tool, and therefore have not been engaged in the study. 6.5.1.4. Research methods for t he incorporation of public input as a normative criteria Future studies should employ new data collection or analysis methods to explore the incorporation of public inputs in plans. One way to evaluate public participatory methods is to explore their capabilities in incorporating public interests in plans (Brody, 2003; Charles Hoch, 2002) to enhance more democratic approaches. Future stu dies should explore whether and how web based participatory methods or tools help such incorporation. Survey of online participants: to examine the extent to which online inputs represent the public interest, future studies can survey online participants to explore their social or demographic characteristics. These characteristics can be compared with the

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190 similar characteristics of the communities who represent the public in each specific project, using Census or ACS data. Content analysis of the online c omments: to compare and examine the extent to which online comments correspond to the comments that are received from other methods, content analysis methods can be used. The comparison results show whether there are differences in the comments received fr om different engagement methods. 6.5.2. Engaging New I deas Exploring new methods and tools for developing democratic processes that facilitate the creation of cities and regions that are sustainable and just, is not a new idea. Planners need to continue studies on non technical aspects and consequences of using new technologies in planning and policy making. This area of research is less about the capabilities of the technology itself, and more about the policy implications of using those capabilities to address the public interest, as the core of planning practices, in land use and environmental planning and community form the studies being done by computer scientis ts, information scientists, or environmental scientist. The following interrelated topical areas are suggested as future research. 6.5.2.1. Land use and environmental planning Various methods and tools are introduced and evaluated to augment the effectiveness of la nd use and environmental planning projects. What is the role of online tools in this process? Whether and how can online participatory technologies resolve the complexities of land use and environmental planning processes by creating mutual understanding a mong planners?

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191 How can different types of these technologies enhance the meaningful engagement of diverse stakeholders at different scales? What types of environmental or land use planning issues are more suitable to be addressed by online participatory tools and in which contexts? What are the concerns of using online participatory tools for creating or deciding about land use or environmental planning scenarios? How ca n data generated through different online sources enhance land use and environmental plans and processes? How can this data be used in combination with formal data sources? How do the contextual factors that shape the plan making environment influence the overall value of OPTs ? How can online technologies augment inter organizational collaborations to support While the current study have explored some parts of these questions, further research is required to examine the above inquiries by looking at more different types of tools and in diverse planning contexts. 6.5.2.2. Environmental justice Various methods and policy tools have been introduced to enhance equal distribution and effect of environmental burdens and benefits. What is the role of online technologies in this process? Whether and how can new online technologies empower marginalized communities or low income families to cope with the issues of environmental justice ? Whether and how can these technologies augment decision making processes on equal location allocation of green infrastructures?

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192 Whether and how these technologies can give voice to marginalized communities to participate in discussions on issues that h ave negative environmental impacts on them? Whether and how different types of online technologies can empower vulnerable communities to cope with negative impacts on climate change, including natural disasters? 6.5.2.3. Planning equity The negative consequences o f using OPTs in equitable planning and decision making processes have been widely discussed by scholars through arguing the issues of digital divide or technology literacy. However, our understanding of the positive effects of using new participatory techn ologies on incorporating new and more diverse communities in planning and decision making is still limited. Further research is required to explore the potential role of online participatory tools in creating more equitable planning processes through engag ing those who do not usually participate in regular face to face meetings including youth, elder population, or low income families. What is the socio demographic characteristic of those who use online participatory tools? To what extent they represent th e public? How can planning organizations use web based tools to attract children and youth to engage in planning processes? How is the planning power negotiated and distributed by the use of these new participatory methods or tools? 6.5.2.4. Community development The current research discussed the role of online technologies in empowering planning organizations. But, there is a growing research on the role of these technologies in developing communities, building trust, or enhancing social capital. However, most of these studies are exploring the topic from views dominated by sociology or information science (See Foth, 2006;

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193 Hampton & Wellman, 2003; Wellman & Haase, 2001) Further research is still required to the role of OPTs on community development through the planning point of view. How can online communities created through social media facilitate self organized activities in local planning projects? Does engaging online communities in planning process increase or decrease the feasibility of plans? Do they enhance or h inder decision making processes and how? What contextual factors influence the usefulness of online technologies for mobilizing local communities? In what types of communities online technologies are more useful for doing so? 6.5.2.5. Planning Support Systems (PSS) This study implies that online participatory tools, as specific types of planning support systems, can be used to create or examine simple models and scenarios with a group of citizens Among the stakeholders involved in plan making processes, who gets mo re powerful by the use of online participatory tools? How? To what extent the data generated through online planning technologies, including social media, is useful for planners? In which cases and what types of projects? What are the most valuable sources for planners to collect user generated data? What types of online tools generate more useful local knowledge for planners? What types of online tools are useful to enhance trust building and consensus building processes? To what extent planning organizations need to get involved in facilitating the online discussions? How do the type of projects and planning contexts affect such involvement? 6.5.2.6. Planning pedagogy The study results shows that pedagogical changes are required f or training planners who know more about planning law and technology.

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194 How can planning schools help their students learn about legal aspects of using new participatory technologies, including online privacy issues? Whether and how should planning school s make their graduates ready to work in data oriented environments? Do planning schools need to incorporate more types of data analysis or programming courses in their curriculum? In summary, OPTs are still relatively new for planning organizations and pla nners. While many scholars are currently focused on the use of new technologies and big data for understanding cities and ways in which cities work, we still lack rich studies on evaluating the usability of these technologies or data for designer s, planner s, or policy makers who are planning and designing our cities. Future research is required to examine the usability of emerging planning technologies and big data for planners to advance community development, land use planning, and environmental planning practices with a focus on engaging public interest in these processes. 6.6. Concluding Note The usability of online participatory tools in plan making is highly tied to the context in which they are being used. Online technologies are not the solution to the l ong lasting issue of citizen engagement; while they can positively revolutionize participatory processes, they can hinder these processes if they are used instrumentally. Ways in which online participatory tools are used in plan making processes are more important that their technical capabilities when they are being considered as participation tools The capacity of online participatory tools in empowering planners throug h providing them local knowledge and political power promises opportunities and raises concerns depending on how the knowledge and power are used. The gained knowledge should be used as a guide, not a

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195 promise. The gained power should be used to advocate fo r the interest of the public, not a particular group of stakeholders. ust help planners respond to technical and social complexities of plan making. Planners should use new participat ory tec hnologies to discuss the planning problems with not only the planning team members and policy makers, but also the public. The gained knolwedge and power should not be used for legitimizing ideas or actions, but to make plans and policies that are guided a nd supported by a diverse community. In several cases in this study, planners used this gained knowledge to validate for the public interest. This issue creates a c ritical concern for the future of planning, as a field that seeks diversity and effective response to the requests of the general public. If the planning organizations or the communities that are going to be affected by plans are not ready to effectively u se online participatory tools, it is more appropriate to rely mainly on traditional engagement mehtods rather than new technologies Does the use of online participatory tools make the participatory processes more equitable, cheap er, or easier? Does it help communities influence the pla ns that are going to affect their lives in future? The answer is that it depends on variety of factors, including the type of organization, the type of plan, the type of technology, the purpose and m ethod of using the tools, and the type of community that is going to be served by the plan. Online participatory tools help organ izations reach out to a larger number and more diverse population. They can make o utreach processes quicker, simpler, and chea per; but, not necessarily crowd source ideas in a short period However, for this process to be effective, the specific requirements and characteristics of each plan and organization matters. For example, the the tool s, incorporating the tool s with other participato ry

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196 tools and methods, facilitating online interactions, or analyzing the generated knowledge, can make a big difference in making the participatory processes more effective. The prices of different types of tools may also vary greatly; while some of them are free, some other also matter. While some plans require easy to use and simple data sharing tools, some other ones may require more complicated too ls that can facilitate dialogue. In addition, the communities that are going to participate in plan making can affect the tools technology literacy, access to the Internet and technology, and participation behavior can affect ways in which technologies are used. For example, if the plans target low income and less educated families, the organ izations do not only need to allocate resources to incorporate variety of non online participatory methods, but also to educate the community about the use of new technologies. Research on the use of web based technologies in collaborative planning and decision making is growing rapidly. Academic studies and professional activities in this area are attracting a lot of ing and Social Media: A (Schweitzer, 2014) is selected as the best article of 2014 published in the Journal of American Planning Association. In addition, in 2015, for the first time the American Planning Association National Confer ence hosted a Tech zone throughout the conference days to promote professional activities relevant to the interaction of planning and technology. All these facts and the promises of web based technologies for facilitating planning and decision making appro aches, burdens a responsibility on planning scholars and educators to initiate and continue researching and teaching this growing field. As urban and regional planners and policy makers are increasingly engaging online technologies in their practices, plan ning scholars should guide these works through pragmatic approaches. The academic research should guide the use of technologies, as grounded systems that should

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197 p ethically work in an age where the availability of data and new technologies have overwhelmed our cities and regions. Online technologies can make our cities e effectively manage the overflow of data a nd the connectivity of communities in their plan making processes With the increasing need to resp ond to the issues of climate change and environmental sustainability, the mass availability of data and connectivity of communities promise valuable opportunities for more effective participatory planning processes, if managed properly. OPTs can help planners not only make more detailed and community oriented decisions, but also have stronger voi ces in political environments.

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217 Waddell, P. (2002). UrbanSim: Modeling urban development for land use, transportation, and environmental planning. Journal of the American Planning Association Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/ 01944360208976274 Waddell, P. (2007). UrbanSim, (April 2013), 37 41. Watson, R., DeSanctis, G., & Poole, M. (1988). Using a GDSS to facilitate group consensus: some intended and unintended consequences. MIS Quarterly 463 478. Retrieved from http://www.jst or.org/stable/249214 Wellman, B., & Haase, A. (2001). Does the Internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist 45 (3), 436 455. White, J. I., Palen, L., & An derson, K. M. (2012). Digital mobilization in disaster response: the work & self organization of on line pet advocates in response to hurricane sandy. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 866 876). ACM. Policy Sciences 4 (2), 127 153. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01405729 Williamson, W., & Parolin, B. (2012). Review of Web Based Communications for Town Planning in Local Government Review of Web Based Communications for Town Planning in Local Government. Journal of Urban Technology 10 (1), 43 63. Williamson, W., & Parolin, B. (2013, October). Web 2.0 and Social Media Growth in Planning Practice: A Longitudinal Study. Planning Practice and Research Taylor & Francis. Woolley, J. K., Limperos, A. M., & Oliver, M. B. (2010). The 2008 Presidential Election, 2.0: A Cont ent Analysis of User Generated Political Facebook Groups. Mass Communication and Society 13 (5), 631 652. doi:10.1080/15205436.2010.516864 Yanow, D. (2004). Translating Local Knowledge at Organizational Peripheries*. British Journal of Management 15 S9 S 25. Yiftachel, O. (1998). Planning and social control: Exploring the dark side. Journal of Planning Literature 12 (4), 395 406. Yin, R. (2013). Case study research: Design and methods Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE publication. Yli pelkonen, V., & Kohl, J. (2005). The role of local ecological knowledge in sustainable urban Sustainability, Science, & Policy 1 (1), 1 14. Zellner, M., Hoch, C., & Welch, E. (2011). Leaping forward: Building resilience by communicat ing vulnerability. In B. Goldstein (Ed.), Collaborative Resilience: Moving Through Crisis to Opportunity MIT Press. Zhao, Y., & Zhu, Q. (2012). Evaluation on crowdsourcing research: Current status and future direction. Information Systems Frontiers

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218 Zittr ain, J. (2006). The Generative Internet. Harvard Law Review 119 (7), 1974 2040. Zook, M., Graham, M., Shelton, T., & Gorman, S. (2010). Volunteered Geographic Information and Crowdsourcing Disaster Relief: A Case Study of the Haitian Earthquake. World Medi cal & Health Policy 2 (2), 6 32. doi:10.2202/1948 4682.1069 Zuboff, S. (1988). In the age of the smart machine: The future of work and power Basic Books.

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219 APPENDI X

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220 Appendix A: Survey Instrument

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226 Appendix B. Interview Questions This document shows a s ample of the interview questions that are sent the interviewees before the interview session The interview questions have been a little bit different for each interviewee based on her responses to the survey. Hello, Her e is a list of points that I would like to chat about in our talk. They may change based on how our conversation goes. Also, as I explained in the survey, please note that taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take pa rt in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are entitled. Background information: What was your position in this project? Why did your organization decide to use an online tool? Why MindMixer (MM)? How were you involved in using MM? How many people or what types of people (stakeholders) were involved in setting up or managing the tool? Which departments have h ad access to the data? What was the role of MM staff? In which stage of the plan were you in February 2014 (the time that you filled out the survey)? When did the plan start? When finished/s? Incorporation of tool in plan making process: How did you att ract people to participate in MindMixer? How did you incorporate MindMixer with your other participatory processes? o Did you use any other online tool or social media for this plan? Did you introduce MM through your other social media sites? Have you used MM in combination with face to face meetings? Examples? Did you see overlaps between people who participate in the discussion online and offline? Did you notice major differences between the comments you got through MM with the ones that you got in your p ublic meetings? Have you evaluated the use of MM in your planning process? Did you have any specific limitation in using MM? (e.g. limitations of the tool capabilities, or incorporation of the tool in planning process). Incorporation of data: How did you analyze the data? After each stage of the plan? Looked at the comments on or not on a regular basis? A specific person/ group was involved in the analysis part? What do you think about the collected information:

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227 o What do you think about credibility and qual ity of the generated information? Did you find the information too detailed/ broad, or organized/ fragmented to be used? o What do you think about sincerity of the online contributions? (rate from 0 10) o What do you think about anonymity of the comments? o Did this information made a major/ minor change in any part of your planning process? Have you ever referred to MM and the collected information in any formal meeting? Have any specific information/ comment/ idea attracted your attention or raised questions ? Please provide specific examples? What types of MM questions generate more valuable responses/ more number of interactions? How did you incorporate the collected data in your plan? o How did you deal with the most/ least supported ideas (the ideas/ topic s with high number of seconds)? Have you noticed MM participants create social relationships with each other? Or, have you noticed people asking their current friends to join MM and participate in discussion? If yes, have you see them doing any group activ ity against or in favor of your plan? Land use/ environmental planning: o Have you used MM for siting specific land uses? Could you provide specific examples? Influence on plan: Which of the policies or aspects of the plan were most affected by the (on line) comments? how did the comments influence the policies and projects that were adopted? Or, if/ how they have affected the plan evolution? Please give specific examples. Did the online comments have an effect on how the planners think about the plan? What was the main thing that made MM useful in your plan making process? E.g. Based on the survey questions: I am going to ask some follow up questions based on your survey responses for further clarification. (I will skip the ones that you have already answered) Q5. For which stage of this plan have your organization used the tool? In which stage it was more useful? Why? this project? How and for what purpose were they valuable? Q9. Did you have legal limitations regarding the incorporation of the collected information in your plan? What types of limitations did you have? How did you deal with those limitations? Q10. How d o you rate usefulness of text based online contributions in your project? What do you think about the usefulness of this information in the visioning stage/ process?

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228 What types of questions has provided more interaction or more number of comments? Can you provide specific examples? Q11. How do you rate usefulness of geo tagged online contributions in your project? Did you use the geo tagging capability at all? How? Did you make r eferences to specific comments or the number of supports for comments in your plan? the project approval? How? Could you provide an example? Q14. How do yo u rate the effectiveness of the tool for different purposes in plan making? Have you contacted any of the participants for other planning purposes? Q15. To what extent you think the online inputs represented the community as a whole? Q16. Have any of the online contribution been unexpected, but useful to this plan? If yes, or maybe how, can you provide examples? Have this unexpected information changed the plan or the plan making process in any way? Q17. How did you introduce this tool to the community? Which one was more useful to you? Q18. How many participants? Q20. Who analyzed the data? Why you did not analyze the data? Q21. How did your organization analyze the data? Depends on the answer e.g. How did you do the content analysis, specific methods? Why you did not use specific methods of analysis? participation? Who was this person? What was the role of th is facilitator? Was s/he a discussion facilitator, technical facilitator, or what? Q23. Have your organization collected information about basic characteristics of the online participants? What characteristics? How did you use this information? Is this oth er than gender and age that MM provides? Q24. Have your organization made any organizational changes to best use this tool? Needed any organizational changes?

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229 Has MM affected your participatory processes? e.g. Has using MM affected the amount of time you s pend on participatory processes? Q27. Overall satisfaction? How can your satisfaction of the tool be improved? Do you suggest any one else that we should contact for interview?

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230 Appendix C. The Effect o f Planning Process and Environment o n nce This appendix shows the regression analysis results for exploring the effect of plan making environm ent A. The influence of plan making env The Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added participation facilitation .730 .00 52.9% Plan and organization type .530 .005* Presence of legal limitations is added participation facilitation 56.9 .008* 54.9% Presence of legal limitations .128 .573 Base ( Effect on plan approval is added to the earlier base model) Participation facilitation .393 .119 70.2% Effect on plan approval .367 .169 Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Participation facilitation .529 .021* 47.1% Plan and organization type .614 .002* Effect on project approval .506 .037* Presence of legal limitations is added Participation facilitation .539 .098 71% Presence of legal limitations .412 .203 Effect on project approval .381 .232 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Participation facilitation .393 .119 70.2% Effect on plan approval .367 .169 Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Participation facilitation .676 .010* 73.8% Plan and organization type .594 .002* Presence of legal .31 .188

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231 limitations Effect on project approval .427 .079* plan approval: Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Consensus building and conflict resolution .613 .00* 36.4% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .601 .007* 39.3% Plan and organization type .361 .114 Presence of legal limitations is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .598 .015* `30% Presence of legal limitations .125 .601 Base ( Effect on plan approval is added to the earlier base model) Consensus building and conflict resolution .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .190 .331 75% Plan and organization type .476 .019* Effect on project approval .776 .001* Presence of legal limitations is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .174 .515 61.1% Presence of legal limitations .081 .774 Effect on project approval .754 .007* Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Mode l (R2) Base Consensus building and conflict resolution .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Aggregated model (all the Consensus building and .166 .453 75.9%

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232 variables are added) conflict resolution Plan and organization type .475 .025* Presence of legal limitations .063 .785 Effect on project approval .791 .002* Perfor mances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating public interest .717 .00* 22% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating public interest .699 .004 20% Plan and organization type .024 .865 Presence of legal limitations is added Generating public interest .729 .002 22.1% Presence of legal limitations 1.45 .284 Base Generating public interest .860 .000* 44.1% Effect on project approval .508 .001* Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating public interest .770 .002* 43% Plan and organization type .506 .003* Effect on project approval .173 .237 Presence of legal limitations is added Generating public interest .921 .000* 48.4% Presence of legal limitations .329 .370 Effect on project approval .441 .005* Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients Sig. Model (R2)

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233 (B) Base Generating public interest .860 .000 44.1% Effect on plan approval .508 .001 Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Generating public interest .883 .000* .504 Plan and organization type .150 .282 Presence of legal limitations .316 .046* Effect on project approval .490 .003* in generating unexpected but useful information and in influencing the plan approval: making e Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating unexpected but useful information .23 .232 1% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating unexpected but useful information .455 .122 5% Plan and organization type .046 .756 Presence of legal limitations is added Generating unexpected but useful information .450 .126 6% Presence of legal limitations 081 .583 Base (Effect on plan approval is added) Generating unexpected but useful information .281 .348 20.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006 Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating unexpected but useful information .375 .266 27.4% Plan and organization type .266 .169 Effect on project approval .501 .010 Presence of legal limitations is added Generating unexpected but useful information .495 .148 26.3% Effect on project approval .407 .026

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234 Presence of legal limitations .215 .234 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating unexpected but useful information .281 .348 20.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006* Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Generating unexpected but useful information .429 .207 30.3% Plan and organization type .213 .193 Presence of legal limitations .199 .266 Effect on project approval .486 .012* approval: Performances Unstandardi zed Coefficients (B) Sig. Mode l (R2) Base Generating Knowledge .964 0.00* 32.1% Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating Knowledge .872 .000* 29.5% Plan and organization type .062 .639 Presence of legal limitations is added Generating Knowledge .880 .000* 29.1% Presence of legal limitations .020 .879 Base Generating knowledge 36.6 .011* 44.1% Effect on plan approval .953 .000* Change (new variable(s) are added) Plan and organization type is added Generating knowledge .875 .001* 47.5% Plan and organization type .219 .137 Effect on project approval .493 .003* Presence of legal limitations is added Generating knowledge .901 .002* 43.6% Presence of legal limitations .030 .853 Effect on plan approval .414 .010*

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235 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating knowledge .875 .001* 29.5% Effect on plan approval .219 .137 Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Generating knowledge .843 .003* 47.5% Plan and organization type .219 .143 Presence of legal limitations .032 .842 Effect on project approval .494 .004* B. the following table shows how the plan making environment influences the performance of OPTs in facilitating the participation and influencing the plan approval. New va riable included in the model Performances Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base participation facilitation .577 .00* 52.2% Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added participation facilitation .689 .006* 74% Making organizational changes .498 .015* Data analysis process is added participation facilitation .781 .011* 34.6% Data analysis process .083 .760 Tool introduction is added participation facilitation .719 .018* 59.5% Tool introduction .130 .603 Facilitating the online engagement is added participation facilitation .774 .010* 59.1% Facilitating the online engagement .104 .681 Base Participation facilitation .393 .119 33.2% Effect on plan approval .367 .169 Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Participation facilitation .810 .014* 71% Making organizational changes .624 .014* Effect on project approval .164 .553

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236 Data analysis process is added Participation facilitation .64 .078 60.5% Data analysis process .461 .106 Effect on project approval .672 .041* Tool introduction is added Participation facilitation 54.6 .147 49.4% Tool introduction .053 .870 Effect on project approval .549 .133 Facilitating the online engagement is added Participation facilitation .556 .146 49.4% Facilitating the online interactions .042 .881 Effect on project approval .553 .120 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Participation facilitation .393 .119 33.2% Effect on plan approval .367 .169 Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes .553 .048* 76.7% Data analysis process .319 .227 Tool introduction .025 .925 Facilitating the online interactions .037 .875 Participation facilitation .811 .026* Effect on plan approval .310 .370 plan approval: New variable included in the model Performances Unstandardized Coeffi cients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Consensus building and conflict resolution .613 .00* 36.4% Change (new variable(s) Making organizational changes is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .555 .008* 60%

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237 are added) Making organizational changes .455 .009* Data analysis process is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .786 .016* 38.2% Data analysis process .230 .405 Tool introduction is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .539 .065 36.5% Tool introduction .139 .568 Facilitating the online engagement is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .625 .016* 36% Facilitating the online interactions .119 .644 Base Consensus building and conflict resolution .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .143 .476 75.4% Making organizational changes .408 .016* Effect on project approval .430 .033* Data analysis process is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .481 .121 65% Data analysis process .459 .097 Effect on project approval .629 .011* Tool introduction is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .183 .544 51.7% Tool introduction .008 .976 Effect on project approval .585 .040* Facilitating the online engagement is added Consensus building and conflict resolution .219 .447 53.1% Facilitating the online interactions .157 .613 Effect on project .624 .028*

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238 approval Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Consensus building and conflict resolution .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes .346 .129 79.1% Data analysis process .188 .557 Tool introduction .002 .993 Facilitating the online interactions .212 .424 Consensus building and conflict resolution .326 .379 Effect on plan approval .528 .068 New variable included in the model Performances Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig Model (R2) Base Generating public interest .717 .00 22% Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Generating public interest .748 .007 33.3% Making organizational changes .288 .107 Data analysis process is added Generating public interest .872 .003 27.2% Data analysis process .056 .772 Tool introduction is added Generating public interest .856 .003 27% Tool introduction .021 .909 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating public interest .784 .004 34.2% Facilitating the online interactions .314 .083 Base Generating public interest .860 .000 44.1%

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239 Effect on project approval .508 .001 Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Generating public interest .861 .005 55.6% Making organizational changes .183 .371 Effect on project approval .526 .040 Data analysis process is added Generating public interest .876 .005 54.7% Data analysis process .132 .523 Effect on project approval .568 .026 Tool introduction is added Generating public interest .971 .001 61.6% Tool introduction .430 .062 Effect on project approval .805 .004 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating public interest .855 .004 59.1% Facilitating the online interactions .287 .128 Effect on project approval .583 .017 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating public interest .314 .076 57% Effect on plan approval .638 .002* Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes .121 .530 67.7% Data analysis process .198 .307 Tool introduction .370 .121 Facilitating the online interactions .232 .214 Generating public interest .819 .007* Effect on plan approval .744 .010 the plan approval:

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240 New variable included in the model Performances Unstandardize d Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating unexpected but useful information .23 .232 1% Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Generating unexpected but useful information .258 .461 14.8% Making organizational changes .397 .040 Data analysis process is added Generating unexpected but useful information .350 .408 2% Data analysis process .022 .915 Tool introduction is added Generating unexpected but useful information .291 .489 3% Tool introduction .116 .569 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating unexpected but useful information .367 .361 8% Facilitating the online interactions .275 .163 Base Generating unexpected but useful information .281 .348 20.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006 Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Generating unexpected but useful information .517 .290 27.4% Making organizational changes .224 .365 Effect on project approval .672 .017 Data analysis process is added Generating unexpected but useful information .588 .225 26.3% Data analysis process .142 .527 Effect on project approval .735 .010 Tool introduction is added Generating unexpected but useful 1.026 .033 39%

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241 information Tool introduction .574 1 .047 Effect on project approval 1.005 .001 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating unexpected but useful information .668 .136 37.6% Facilitating the online interactions .332 .113 Effect on project approval .757 .006 Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating unexpected but useful information .281 .348 20.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006* Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes .072 .767 54.2% Data analysis process .149 .481 Tool introduction .489 .114 Facilitating the online interactions .247 .236 Generating unexpected but useful information .848 .117 Effect on plan approval .993 .003 approval: New variable included in the model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Mode l (R2) Base Generating Knowledge .964 0.00* 32.1 % Change Making Generating Knowledge 1.09 .000* 52.7 1 Based on how the tool introduction variable is coded, the ( ) sign refers to more number of methods used for tool introduction.

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242 (new variable(s) are added) organizational changes is added Making organizational changes .309 .037* % Data analysis process is added Generating Knowledge 1.17 .000* 45% Data analysis process .065 .671 Tool introduction is added Generating Knowledge 1.15 .000* 46% Tool introduction .103 .507 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating Knowledge 1.140 .000* 45.4 % Facilitating the online interactions .059 .710 Base Generating Knowledge .953 .000 44.1 % Effect on plan approval .366 .011 Change (new variable(s) are added) Making organizational changes is added Generating Knowledge 1.02 .002* 47.5 % Making organizational changes .262 .165 Effect on project approval .420 .072 Data analysis process is added Generating Knowledge 1.071 .001* 43.6 % Data analysis process .214 .224 Effect on project approval .485 .039* Tool introduction is added Generating Knowledge 1.043 .003* 63.2 % Tool introduction .046 .852 Effect on project approval .507 .084 Facilitating the online engagement is added Generating Knowledge .980 .005* 62.3 % Facilitating the online interactions .149 .421 Effect on project approval .519 .039* Aggregated model Performances Unstandardiz ed Coefficients (B) Sig. Model (R2) Base Generating Knowledge .953 .000 44.1% Effect on plan approval .470 .006* Aggregated model (all the variables are added) Making organizational changes Data analysis process .197 .284 Tool introduction .036 .885 Facilitating the online interactions .112 .551 Generating Knowledge .959 .008* Effect on plan approval .489 .106

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244 Appendix D. Considerations for Choosing OPTs Considering online participatory technologies as embedded systems in planning processes, various factors influence their usefulness. These factors are defined under the following two categories: the character of planning environments and the character of technologies. To decide many factors that s hould be considered. Several non technological factors related to the capacity and character of planning environments should be also considered. The factors related to plan making environment categorize tools based on ways in which they are incorporated in plans, types of communities they serve, and types of plans that they are used for. The technology type factors categorize tools based on their technological capacities and characteristics. The following table summarizes the issues that should be considere d when incorporating OPTs in plan making based on the discussed factors. To explore the usability of The purpose of this discussio n is to introduce the contextual factors that should be considered in the use of online participatory tools, but not to categorize the tools based on their typology. Table. 1. Issues that should be considered when incorporating OPTs in plan making Charact er/ Class Type Description Planning environm ent character Management and Control Top down control The tool is mainly controlled by a planning organization. Contribution or discussion is initiated by a planning organization. Bottom up control The tool is mainly controlled by citizens. Discussion can be initiated by either citizens or planning organizations. Organization al involvement Public agency involvement The public agency has the major role in using the tool in different stages of plann ing. Private firm involvement The private firm has the major role in using the tool. Involvement of public agency and private firm The local government and private firm closely work together in using the tool. Organization al behavior and attitude and attitude Planners perceive the use of OPTs or their generated data in a particular way. Tool incorporation and interoperabili ty Tightly incorporated The tool employment is highly incorporated with other planning methods and syst ems. Loosely incorporated The tool employment is loosely incorporated with other planning methods and systems and is used as a separate medium.

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245 Judging about the usefulness of online planning tools is valid when they are being explored in their contexts. For example, in using Shareabouts as a planning tool, organizations can control or to share their ideas anonymously. Similar actions can take place by planning organizations when they are using other types of tools, e.g. Facebook groups, for citizen engagement purposes. Online technologies are not nec essarily administered and controlled by organizations; in some 1 The community that is going to be served by the plan. Community 1 capacity and involvement attitudes and capacities of using OPTs The extent to which communities are ready to use OPTs in plan making. The availability of technology infrastructure and accessibility for communities. Goals or desired outcomes Informing citizens The tool is used for information diffusion or stakeholder education. Learning about citizens ideas and interests The tool is used for learning from local knowledge. Consensus building The tool is used for consensus building or conflict resolution. Find potential stakeholders The tool is used for recruiting stakeholders or identifying volunteers. Planning problem Time sensitivity Long term planning (e.g. Comprehensive plans) Short term planning (e.g. Area plans) Immediate interventions (e.g. Fixing the city infrastructure or disaster response) Scale Includes large scale plans, such as comprehensive plans or regional plans. Includes local scale plans, such as neighborhood plans, local district plans, urban design plans Tool character Interactivity High and Medium interactivity Citizens interact with the planning organization Citizens interact with each other Low interactivity (Feedback systems) Citizen only interact with the City Location relevancy Geo tagged communication geo tagged information. Text based communication not be geo tagged and is mainly stored as text based information. Function structure Tightly structured The tool is designed for a specific purpose or addressing a specific problem. Loosely structured The tool is designed for a broad range of activities. Some parts of these activities are not directly related to urban planning.

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246 cases, they provide a great deal of freedom for citizens to share and discuss their ideas, or to organize actions. For example, while online neighborhood groups facilitate arranging grass root activities by local residents they can be also used as planning tools for planners. In some of these online forums, citizens do not only have more power than planners in controlling the participatory environment but can also arrange activities in favor of considering using these forums as planning tools for facilitating local planning projects, by proactively joining local communities instead of asking communities to join their official meetings (See Afzalan & Muller, 2014) These citizen governed online forums, as new generation of online planning t ools, can be used by planning organizations for variety of purposes, from rojects. The usability of these forums can be related to several non technological factors, including ways in which they are used and the types of issues that they intend to address. A. Planning Environment Management and control: Planning organizations have different levels of control on the type of the information that they collect through OPTs, based on the type of the OPT they use. Different online participatory tools allow different types of participation. For example, while so me of the tools allow people to participate anonymously, some other ones ask for some specific information whether the registration process can encourage or disco that it can generate different types of information for planners. For example, by using PlaceSpeak, planners were able to explore whether the participants are located in the areas that are going to be directly affe cted by the plan. However, planners did not have access to such information when using Shareabouts or MindMixer. The three tools that were explored in this research are particularly designed for planning purposes and controlled and managed mainly by plann ing agencies. On the other hand, social media platforms are now increasingly being used as participatory planning technologies. Planning organizations have less control on managing these platforms, since they are usually controlled by citizens or community leaders. online participatory tools through encouraging or discouraging a particular behavior. For omments in the online environment irrelevant, too detailed, or too general to be used in the plan. The reason might be that planners ask or choosing how to fo llow up with people. In less controlled environments (e.g. social media platforms), planning organizations might face with different types of comments that are not relevant to the topic or not detailed enough to be useful. Of course, other factors includin g the factors are discussed in the following pages in this chapter. Further research is needed to examine the suitable threshold for asking citizens to provide inf ormation about their background when they register on the tool. Asking people to provide a lot of information (e.g. age, zip code, gender) as part of their logging in process, may discourage their participation; but, it can provide more valuable informatio n for planners to evaluate the to what extent the online community represent the public. Organizational involvement: The type of organizations that are involved in the use of OPTs and their methods of interaction with the online participants can influence Different organizations have different capacities in using or incorporating new participatory

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247 methods. For example, the current study demonstrated a positive relationship between the use of the use of OPTs by private organizations. In several cases, private and public agencies collaborate on developing comprehensive plans. Depending on which organization is taking the lead on using or managing the tool, the tool usability may be different. Ways in which an organization uses a civic engagement technology can influence the results of the technology use. Consequently, this result can influence how the organization uses the technology in other stag es of plan making, or how it communicates the participation results with other organizations that are involved in plan making process. Organizational Behavior and Attitude: of OPTs, or technologies in in this study, while some of the planners perceived PlaceSpeak useful for their participatory her use of these technologies, or the participatory processes in ge usefulness. Another example relates to the perception of planners about conducting participatory processes. As the results of this study showed, the planners perceived their roles as facilitators in many different ways. W some other ones believed that they should not involve in the online conversation to not to interfere the conversation and to keep it open. Ways in which planners perceive their responsibility (e.g. whether and how to involve in the online conversation) may influence the In another example, we can consider the behavioral difference between planners and community engagement specialists. While in some organization s the participatory tools and methods are managed by planners, in some other ones community engagement professionals have the main role in managing the tools. These two groups may have different perceptions or desires towards the purposes for which the too towards the use of technologies, but their general attitudes towards changing or refining participatory processes or even their general attitudes towards citizen engagement. For example, if a planner considers participatory processes as efforts that should engage the majority of the stakeholders in all the stages of plan making to discuss complicated planning issues, she may not rely much on the online tools for their community engagement eff orts. On the other hand, a community engagement manager whose main goal is to engage large number of stakeholders in the plan making process may find the tools more helpful with her engagement efforts. Planners and community engagement specialists should g et educated not only about the appropriate use of new participatory tools and methods, but also about their effective incorporation in their planning processes. Further research is required to explore the perceptions of different organizational stakeholder s involved in plan making (planners, community engagement specialists, or even planning lawyers) about the usability of OPTs for different participatory purposes. Tool incorporation and interoperability: Ways in which participatory methods or tools are inc orporated in the plan making process and can influence their usefulness. As the results of this study showed, in most of the cases the OPTs are used as a supplementary participation method in combination with other methods including public meetings, focus group sessions, or paper incorporation as well. The possibility of usin g OPTs in public meetings for integrating online and

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248 non online participatory methods, or the possibility of incorporating data generated through OPTs with other available data sources are examples of such. While some of the tools generate ready to use GIS data (e.g. Shapefiles), some other ones do not provide those types of data. Or, while some of the tools can be easily used in public meetings (for example, since they do not require the participants to go through a complicated registration process), some other ones do not have such capacity. The incorporation of the online tools in public meetings can facilitate the participation of a more diverse community; on the other hand, this incorporation may make the public meetings more complicated by, for example distracting the participants. There are opportunities and constraints associated with highly interconnected systems. Planning organizations should find the effective threshold for integrating their participatory methods and tools in a way that this integ ration is more constructive rather than disruptive. Community involvement and capacity: The usability of OPTs can be influenced by the behavior and characteristics of the communities that are going to be engaged by new participatory technologies or methods Communities that are directly or indirectly going to be affected by the related to their level of education, level of experience with the use of technologies, level of access to the Internet, level of involvement in democratic planning and participation, or range of age. Community related factors should be taken into account when an organization tends to design its participatory process and decide whether to us e new technologies for community engagement or what kind of technologies to choose. For example, the use of OPTs in well educated communities can be more effective than their use in less educated ones. While several organizations, including Pew Research, a re rigorously engaged in researching the use of technologies by different communities, there is still a lot to be explored. For example, while several scholars have discussed the negative equity effects of the use of technology in planning and decision mak ing (S ee Dawes, 2008; Zook et. al. 2010) ; the current literature lacks understanding of the positive equity implications of such use. The current study shows that planners have found the OPTs useful to attract more diverse communities, including those who nor mally do not attend the meetings. The use of OPTs may result in more equitable planning outcomes in younger communities comparing to older ones, by attracting more diverse types of participants. Of course, gement or the desired project outcomes are also Goals or desired outcomes: The goals of the participatory efforts, and particularly the purposes clearly define the goals of using OPTs before deciding about their use. Is the main goals of using the OPT to inform and educate citizens, follow up with citizens about particular aspects of the pla n, engage citizens in a consensus building process, resolve tensions between conflicting ideas, or build trust in communities? Or, is the goal of using the OPTs to attract those who usually do not or cannot attend public meetings? Or, is the purpose of usi ng the OPTs to ignite excitement about a project in a community? Depending on purposes for which the OPTs are used by planning organizations, their usefulness may vary. For example, if the purpose of using the OPT in a small touristic village is to attract seasonal visitors to share their ideas, the OPT might be very useful. However, if the purpose of using the OPT in the same village is to engage residents in consensus building, maybe face to face dialogue sessions be more effective. Type of planning prob lem: The type of planning projects or problems should be considered to decide whether or what types of OPTs should be used. The type of planning problem can be related to the type of issues that are going to be addressed by the plans, the scales of the pla ns, or the time length of the plans.

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249 For example, the usability of OPTs can be different based on the type of planning issues. Some of the planning issues are complicated and may require the engagement of stakeholders in highly interactive sessions where people should move towards consensus building and make decisions through dialogue. On the other hand, some other types of planning issues are less complicated and can be addressed through information sharing or simple communicative processes. Different typ es of OPTs have different values to be used in each one of these projects. While place based online forums (e.g. online neighborhood forums) can facilitate consensus building processes through dialogue (Afzalan & Muller, 2014) some other formal online tools, including the ones discussed in this research, may not have this capability. n facilitating citizen engagement in regional planning projects can be different from their capacity of doing so in local planning projects. While the results of this study show that there is a positive relationship between the usefulness of the OPTs and t heir smaller scale, it is not still clear whether the OPTs are more issues that are addressed in the smaller scale plans. Regardless of this discussion, differe nt OPTs Another example is the time period that an organization is planning to spend on the citizen engagement part of its plan making process. The usability of the OPTs may be different if they are used in plans with shorter time periods for public participation comparing to plans with larger comprehensive plans comparing to dis aster response activities. Regardless of the fact that the time that is spent for public participation can be related to various factors, including organizational capacities or attitudes, the time duration can influence the extent to which the OPTs can hel p the participatory process. Further study is needed to focus on whether and how B. Tool The study categorizes participatory planning tools based on their level of interactivity, location relevancy, and structure. While this section provides ideas for classification of online The main goal of this section i planners want to selected them as new participatory tools. Level of interactivity: The OPTs can be categorized based on the level of interactivity that they provide for the participants. While some of the tools allow the participants to discuss ideas with each other or follow the discussion thread (e.g. MindMixer, Shareabouts, PlaceSpeak), some other ones does not allow such level of interactivity (e.g. CitySource). For example, in MindMixer the part icipants can discuss the proposed topics with the other participants, respond to the requests made by the planning organization, or follow the online discussion by reading the discussion thread. However, in some other tools like CitySource, the participant s are allowed to send their feedback to the organization, but not to discuss ideas and follow up with the other participants. This research does not value a particular type of tool comparing to the other ones; however, it emphasizes on different usability of different types of tools in different projects and contexts. For example, the OPTs with low level of interactivity may be more usable for helping with reporting physical issues in urban areas (e.g. pothole related issues); however, they may not be very useful for discussing complex policy issues (e.g. tax incentive options for revitalizing controlled by the organization or the group that manages them.

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250 Locati on relevancy: Whether and how OPTs generate geo tagged information or allow location based interaction should be considered when they are used in plan making. OPTs can be classified based on their capacity in allowing geo tagged interaction and information sharing. While some of the online tools (e.g. Shareabouts) are mainly designed based on the idea of geo tagged (location based) interaction for generating Volunteered Geographic Information, some other ones (e.g. MindMixer) are mainly encouraging text bas ed interaction. For example, Shareabouts asks the participants to share and discuss their ideas on a map; while, MindMixer mainly asks the participants to share or discuss their ideas through text based comments. While in both tools the participants are al lowed to share and discuss ideas as geo tagged or text based information, a specific type of interaction is encouraged in each one. Function structure: Some of the tools are tightly structured around a particular type of interaction or activity and some o f them are loosely structured around variety of activities. While most of the OPTs are designed or used for a specific planning or decision making purpose, some other ones are designed to promote and engage various activities, including those that are not directly related to planning. For example, MindMixer is mainly designed to facilitate the particular topics or projects. MindMixer is controlled by an organization a nd used to address the neighbors, an online neighborhood forum, is designed neighbors to engage neighbors in a pro ject, the group is also used for other non planning related purposes including selling or buying used furniture.