Comparison of the nominal group process among citizen participation methods in the National Park Service

Material Information

Comparison of the nominal group process among citizen participation methods in the National Park Service
Mayerson, Michele Love
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77, 5 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
National parks and reserves -- Planning -- Citizen participation -- United States ( lcsh )
National parks and reserves -- Planning -- Citizen participation ( fast )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Michele Love Mayerson.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
28207300 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A78 1988m .M394 ( lcc )

Full Text
A Thesis Presented to
the Faculty of Urban and Regional Planning University of Colorado at Denver
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts
Michele Love Mayerson
May 1988

The author wishes to express her appreciation to the study participants in the ional Park Service who graciously offered their time and comments.
Special appreciation and respect is extended to the members of the thesis committees. Thanks is expressed to the thesis advisors, Dr. David Hill and Dr. Bernie Jones and Dr. Dan Schler for their continued encouragement and understanding throughout the graduate program, and to Ms. Jan Harris of the National Park Service, for providing the author with outstanding advice and longstanding support.
Finally, the greatest and most sincere thanks is extended to the authors friend Laurie Braunstein, and her family members Peter, Lois, and Keith. Without their love, patience and sacrific there would not have been this achievement.

Various methods have been used to obtain citizen input for the planning of National Parks. These methods include open public hearings, workshops, nominal group techniques, brainstorming, simulations, charrettes, advisory committees, surveys, delphi techniques, and mass media responses. This study explores the public participation methods of the National Park Service to form an evaluation of
various processes used in park planning in urban and semiurban areas. The
thesis also explores the hypothesis that the nominal group process, an infrequently used citizen participation technique, is as useful as alternative methods in most stages of park planning in urban and semiurban areas. A matrix is used to compare the qualities of the various approaches in terms of their usefulness to citizens and planners. While this thesis does not determine the superiority of the nominal group process or any other method, it highlights the nominal group process as an over ooked yet very useful way to elicit citizen participation.

Chapter Page
1. Introduction.............................................................. 1
History................................................................ 1
Statement of the Problem............................................... 2
Purpose of the Study................................................... 2
Research Questions..................................................... 2
Methodology............................................................ 3
Limits to the Study.................................................... 4
Organization of the Thesis............................................. 4
2. Literature Review of the Function of Citizen Participation in the
Planning Process....................................................... 6
The Role of Public Participation.................................. 6
Major Obstacles to Obtaining Effective Citizen Participation
in All levels of Planning...................................... 10
Conclusions...................................................... 13
NPS Citizen Participation Program Design Issues.................. 14
3. Methodology................................................................. 16
Methods of Data Collection............................................ 16
Literature Review................................................ 16
Survey Technique................................................. 16
Questions used to solicit responses......................... 17
Selection of participants................................... 18
Interview Technique.............................................. 18
Data Analysis......................................................... 18
SPSS Procedure................................................... 18
Matrix........................................................... 19
Vertical axis............................................... 19
Horizontal axis..............................................24
Case Studies .....................................................28
4. Comparison of Various Citizen Participation Processes in Urban
and Semiurban Parks in the National Park Service...................... 29
Use of Public Participation Programs in Urban and Semiurban Areas . 29
Issue Analysis/Scoping......................................... 30
Alternative Development........................................ 31
Draft Plan..................................................... 31
Selection of Proposed Action................................... 32
Final GMP Preparation.............................(........... 32
Explanation of the Matrix and its Variables as a Conceptual
Evaluation.......................................................... 33
Conclusions......................................................... 38
5. An Explanation of the Nominal Group Process................................. 40
A Description From the Works of Andre Delbecq and Andrew
Van de Ven..................................................... 40
Past and Anticipated Uses of the Nominal Group Process...........49

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Nominal Group Process
A Case Study..................................................
A History of the Process in Urban and Semiurban Areas .
Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.................
Question Used to Solicit Participant Responses ....
Selection of the Participants.......................
Conduct of Participation Sessions...................
Inclusion of the Responses in the Cuyahoga NRA GMP
Summary and Conclusion........................................
Recommendations for Future Research......................
Bib iography........................................................
A: Questionnaire B: Priority Lists
C Citizens Evaluation of Nominal Group Workshops
60 60 64

1. Frequency and Type of Citizen Participation Programs used in GMP Planning of Urban and Semiurban Parks in the National Park Service
A Matrix: Citizen Participation Processes and Variable Comparisons.................

CHAPTER 1 Introduction
Within the past twenty-five years, a broad range of methods to solicit public participation has been used in the 36 urban and semiurban parks of the National Park Service (NPS). One of the results of this study shows that sixty percent of National Park Service/Denver Service Center (DSC) planners would like to conduct more effective programs in these areas, but that there are no formal guidelines to assist them. This chapter presents the general history and definitions to explain the planners dilemma, identifies the specific problem used for the study and evaluation, and also outlines the remainder of the thesis.
To ensure that NPS embodies general needs and concerns, it must conduct public involvement programs consisting of meetings and workshops. Such meetings were prevalent in the 1960s: grass-roots activism around urban and semiurban parks encouraged the enactment of legislation defining elements of citizen participation in public administration. In 1969, the results of organized concern and participation by individuals and agencies prompted the enactment of the Natural Environmental Protection Acts (NEPA); in the mid-1970s, the private consulting group SYNERGY conducted open training sessions for DSC/NPS staff to increase staff skills in
citizen participation techniques.
Since 1978, agency interest in public involvement guidelines and workshops for planners has been discouraged due to budgetary and management decisions. To date, there are no explicit guidelines for public involvement in the development of General Management Plans (GMP) except as required by a compliance action. Public participation programs are structured on a case-by-case basis and largely determined

by exogenous forces: the interest and expertise on the individual planning teams, national and regional politics, and budgetary considerations.
Statement of the Problem
Although the Service does not anticipate any enlargement of the system in the near future, it is pursuing activities to ensure resource protection within the system boundaries and surrounding areas, and is using various public participation methods to achieve these needs. To date, there has not been an evaluation of the citizen participation methods that have been used in urban and semiurban parks. The lack of such an evaluation tool to help planners design an effective program, in addition to a variety of their problems later described, cause planners to overlook very useful methods to elicit citizen participation.
Purpose of the Study
This study will not propose guidelines, but will provide an evaluative framework of the citizen participation processes utilized by NPS planning teams for use in current and future endeavors of the Service in urban and semiurban areas. Specifically, this thesis attempts to suggest relationships between the qualities of various public participation methods as they are used in the overall GMP planning in these areas. The thesis elaborates on the Nominal Group Process because it is not frequently used by NPS planners, and because it is believed by this author to be as useful as other methods in most planning processes of parks in urban and semiurban areas.
Research Questions
The basic elements of this thesis are NPS planning in urban and semiurban areas and citizen participation. The scope of the study is defined by the research questions which this thesis addresses. These questions are:
1. What are the main characteristics of the NPS organization?

What role does citizen participation have in overall NPS planning processes?
What are the problems with citizen participation which are encountered in
urban and semiurban areas?
4. What are the primary citizen participation processes in present use and what are their relative comparisons?
5. How does the Nominal Group Process compare with them?
6. What are the characteristics of the Nominal Group Process?
7. How has the Nominal Group Process been used in various planning levels of GMPs of urban and semiurban parks?
8. How can this process be used with current and future park planning efforts?
Four methods were used to obtain material for the thesis: A review of the literature, statistical evaluations of public participation programs in urban and semiurban parks, interviews with planning professionals, and case studies of influential parks. After an extensive search of literature, material concerning public agency planning and/or citizen participation processes was selected as text sources of information. A questionnaire was used to determine the frequency and type of NPS public participation methods used in the past; and then statistical procedures were used to derive correlations between various public participation methods and their overall performance in relation to their qualities. Interviewees were selected on the basis of their direct involvement with public participation processes in urban nd semiurban areas. The case studies were selected as excellent examples of the effectiveness of the Nominal Group Process in urban and semiurban areas.

Limits to the Study
This study was subject to the following limitations:
1. The Nominal Group Process was evaluated by the results of citizen participation programs in urban and semiurban park settings; rural parks, which compromise approximately 60% of the Park system, were not evaluated. However, the communication process in itself may be useful in general cooperative efforts with rural park planning with private landowners and other agencies.
2. This study was done for planning efforts in the Denver Service Center, and may or may not be applicable for other park units. This study does not suggest means for service-wide implementation.
3. The data produced were not sufficient for a comparative analysis of public participation programs in each of the five planning stages; the results compare the overall qualities of various programs that are produced in all the stages.
4. Due to the lack of statistically significant findings produced by the survey results, many of the comparative relationships shown between the public participation programs are based more on interviews with NPS planners and supported by literature research. The matrix presented in Chapter 4 should be regarded as a theoretical framework for evaluation.
Organization of the Thesis
The remaining chapters of this thesis are organized as follows: Chapter 2 contains an extensive literature review of the role of citizen participation methods, a description of National Park planning characteristics in urban and semiurban parks, and the general planning problems which are encountered.
Chapter 3 is an in-depth discussion of the methodology and definitions used in the study.
Chapter 4 contains the results of the research. First it discusses the type and

amount of public participation used in each stage of planning. This part is illustrated with a table. Second, the chapter presents an assessment of each of the of the various citizen participation processes including the Nominal Group Process. A conceptual, quantified framework compares these processes in terms of their usefulness for promoting citizen participation in National Park planning in urban and semiurban parks. This is displayed in the form of a matrix.
Chapter 5 explains the Nominal Group Process according to the works of Andre Delbecq and Andrew Van de Ven who developed this instrument. Uses of the Nominal Group Process and its strengths and weaknesses as a citizen participation forum in National Park Planning are also explored.
Chapter 6 describes a case study of the Nominal Group Process as it was successfully applied to various planning stages of the GMP planning process at Cuyahoga National Recreation Area.
Chapter 7 is composed of the summary and conclusions in which the Nominal Group Process as a forum for citizen participation at the Denver Service Center planning level for current and future park needs is discussed.

Literature Review of the Function of Citizen Participation in the Planning Process
According to the Encyclopedia of Urban Planning, citizen participation is defined as the "action of community or area citizens wanting and seeking direct involvement in the development of plans and programs which affect the future of community or area in which they live" (345). Due to facts later described in this chapter, the NPS has a more difficult task in formulating its citizen participation programs in urban and semi-urban areas as compared with the program planning in rural areas. This chapter will more fully explain the roles of citizen participation as they may be applied to NPS programs, and will also address the issues that the NPS must consider when designing an effective citizen participation program.
The Role of Public Participation
An essential ingredient for the successful functioning of planning in urban and semiurban parks is citizen participation. The NPS needs the help of the public in order to perform the following functions:
1. Citizen participation is used to meet federal requirements. NPS requires that public involvement be "a discussion of the levels of public participation that will be required or desirable during the completion of the project and any required compliance actions of documentation" (Chapter 3,9).
2. Citizen participation advances the freedom of speech principle of the democratic process. The concept of participation implies that people should have access to the choices and proposals open to a planning authority and should be able to put forward ideas and comments at every stage in the planning process from the initial identification of social objectives to the detailed implementation (Whittick

850). Burke states that .citizens should share in decisions affecting their
destinies. Anything less is a betrayal of our democratic tradition" (Citizen
Participation Strategies 371). Cornett states:
Our system of government is rooted in the premise that decisions made in the name of the people must be related, in an appropriately sanctioned manner, to constituency opinion. Since the political process is the process by which constituency opinion is determined and given force, a planning function which fails to subordinate itself to this political process is squarely in conflict with a basic element of our form of government. Such a planning function has no legitimacy. (Substate Districting 48)
3. Citizen participation provides a check and balance on the planning teams. Godschalk states:
Participation is a form of partisan influence, whose purpose in democratic decision making is to counter-balance the social control activities of elites by providing opportunities for citizens and interest groups to influence their decisions. It is a check on the power of those holding public office. (Godschalk 3)
4. Citizen participation processes provide a forum which allows citizens to express their needs and concerns to the units of government and the federal agency. This interactive function involves the citizen, planners, politicians, and others who are jointly working on a process, problem, or project. Whittick declares:
The demand for participation stems from a growing concern that the decisions which determine the quality of life in a community should reflect the wishes of those who live there rather than represent purely technical solutions imposed from outside. (Whittick 345)
Godschalk proposes that citizen participation could be viewed as an:
. .exchange processes in which citizens or other interested parties give their time, energy, information, cooperation, and support to finding solutions to public problems in return for access to officials, government responsiveness, information, community status, or recognition and potential influence over the allocation of resources. (Godschalk 4)
It is further stated:
One of the major purposes of involving the public in planning is to produce plans which are generally consistent within the values of the various publics.

In order to do this, the planner must develop alternative solutions embodying quite different values so that the public can get a feel for the implications of different values. The planner plays a major role in identifying the implications of the alternative, but the publics because of their familiarity with their individual problems may also pay a role in forecasting consequences. (Citizen Participation: Public Involvement Skills 21)
Citizen participation gives a certain amount of psychological and therapeutic
benefit to the individuals involved in the process. Godschalk states:
In its broadest context, citizen participation could be thought of as a collective learning process; a continuous cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation and on and on as (all parties concerned with the planning process) learn their way into the future. (Godschalk 4)
Crenson notes that participation can have positive effects upon citizens involved in
the process. He cites participation as a means to overcome isolation, alienation,
and a sense of powerlessness; he states that this involvement generally helps one to
become a "good citizen" (Organizational Factors in Citizen Participation 357). In
addition, Heberlein says:
Public involvement can serve as an assurance function. Here the prime goal of the agency (and government) is to make sure that a group knows that its views have been heard and that it has not been ignored in the planning process. The agency may have a very good idea of the values and preferences of a particular group, but needs to use techniques which assure the particular public that it has been heard. (Principles of Public Involvement for NPS Planners and Managers 10)
Citizen participation facilitates a more complete decision making process to obtain a more valid product. Successful public involvement, initiated by a federal agency, is not a one-shot affair. The public must be involved on a continuing basis to achieve desirable decision-making in the agency planning processes. A genuine effort must be made in the NPS to make citizen participation an integral part of the planning process. Only when planning information is made available to all individuals and citizen feedback is genuinely sought, can positive participation be achieved. The function of citizen participation is not necessarily to tell politicians "there is the answer," but instead it is to provide politicians (and planners) with

more date for making decisions (Urban Planning in Transition 172).
Another author states:
The advantages of involving the public in all stages of planning are threefold. (1) the planner can identify the range of socially and politically feasible alternatives before becoming committed to a particular outcome; (2) the public may be a source of viable alternatives if they are allowed the opportunity to present these alternatives at an appropriate stages in the planning process; (3) in the process of developing alternatives the public also develops a commitment to change and are less resistant to new proposals. (Synery 20)
7. Citizen participation in the NPS should meet the need for citizen support of and input into the planning process in order to further facilitate product implementation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers believes that the primary objective of citizen participation is to develop trust in the planning process (39). Burke states that (individuals and groups) will probably support a decision and, equally important will probably assist to carry it out if "they have had a part in discovering the need for change and if they share in the decision making process" (Burke 289). The National Association of Regional Councils contends that plans developed through a process of community involvement have a better chance of being implemented since they have community support (Regional Council Communications 23). By initiating an active citizen participation program, the NPS will encounter fewer "stumbling blocks" and therefore will have its plans implemented at a faster pace. The expenditure of time and money by the NPS planning team should be viewed as an investment which will yield substantial returns. Citizen participation can be seen as a strategy useful to a public agency in "coopting dissenters or in mediating conflicts, in building support for a proposal, or in changing the behavior and attitudes of participants" (Regional Council Communications 3).

Major Obstacles to Obtaining Effective Citizen Participation in All levels of Planning
The major obstacles to obtain effective citizen participation are the planners and citizens misconceptions of the interrelated functions of public participation, and the lack of communication about the objectives of the planning process. Without overcoming the obstacles, confusion, suspicion and distrust develop between both parties involved. For example, 45% of the NPS planners sampled in this research have the attitude that two-way communication between themselves and the public is unnecessary. They believe that it is acceptable and perhaps desirable to inform citizens about park planning activities, but that this should be a one way flow of information, and that DSC members are responsible only to their directors and park officials.
Some planners also feel that citizens do not want to be heard anywayunless they are directly affected by the plan. "Two-way communication only brings out the dissenters, not the majority" (Planner, NPS/DSC July 1986). As one author states:
. those people who are directly affected by any particular change are most opinionated and involved in the decision. Those with a marginal, general, or no interest in the issue choose not to be involved in most concerns. (Regional Planning 1)
Lack of effective communication between citizens and planners can complicate
progressive NPS planning, even if its only because local citizens do not like
"foreigners" telling them how to live or what they should do with their property.
The problem of facilitating communication between these two groups to obtain
effective citizen participation is one that must be resolved so as to avoid placing
citizens and planners in competition with each other.
The competitive process is most likely to occur where there is a misjudgment or misperception on the part of one or more parties in the

process. Competition is also created if one side perceives the other as inflexible in its position. (Synergy 20,22)
Lack of communication also distorts the perspectives of one group toward one
Often the planner sees himself, because of his professional training, to be uniquely qualified to identify community needs. Studies indicate that many planners view the public as lacking in planning, lacking in objectivity, and extremely parochial. The public often views the planner as a narrow
specialist with no appreciation for social values. Public participation provides the planner with the opportunity to test his perceptions of the public prior to beginning the search for possible solutions. (Synergy 21)
Reports by many local newspapers in the affected areas confirm the fact that citizens frequently become disenchanted when their recommendations are only given token consideration. Another point of distress occurs when citizen participation is solicited only to meet federal requirements. Thus, some citizen participation has now receded into a ritualistic phase of the planning process instead of being a meaningful process. "Grass-root input has been reduced to a mere window dressing effect" (Kaztnelson 10). Many citizens, in fact, believe that their involvement will not effect a change; and much of this feeling may be a result of their own attitudes toward all forms of government and all types of public planning agencies.
Negative attitudes by the public toward government and/or NPS planning may be manifest because of one or more of the following problems:
1. Those groups which complain the worst are served while those which are quiet, diffuse, or unable to make a case may be ignored.
The views of organized groups seem to be given more weight than opinions of
unorganized citizens.
The citizen often must initiate the inquiring.
When the agency initiates public involvement, the meetings and processes are
too formal. This restricts input and the effectiveness of a citizen is largely based

on prior participation.
5. Public participation takes place after positions have been solidified.
6. The procedures are aimed at letting the public preview and (at best) react to material largely prepared by the bureaucracy.
7. There is little feedback concerning the impact of suggestions on the agency.
8. Because participation is erratic, there is always the feeling that options are being quietly dropped into the deep bogs of the bureaucracy while the citizen is still waiting to make comment (Heberlein 3).
It must be noted that it is difficult for planners to conduct public participation meetings; a random sample of participants is almost impossible to achieve in a citizen meeting. "Regardless of whom you would like to involve, the citizens who actually participate will be those who choose to do so" (Shober interview). Also, participation potential is not randomly distributed throughout the region. Qualities that encourage one to participate-opportunity, interpersonal skills, resources, motivationare not distributed on a random basis (Bertcher 337). Similarly, there is no such person as a "representative" citizen. All people are different with different attitudes and opinions (Bertcher 24).
The uneducated and the poor generally do not participate as freely as the educated and higher status public. It is generally believed that persons with lower income and education levels have neither the time nor interest for participating in park planning problems; on the other hand, those with higher income and educational levels (normally with more time and money) are able to participate. "Participation is largely the prerogative of person with high social status with the result that governmental performance and responsiveness is geared largely to the needs of these higher status individuals" (Verba 340).
As has already been mentioned, it takes time and money for responsible citizen

participation both on the part of the agency and on the part on the individual participant. The lack of these elements is a barrier to conducting a good citizen participation program by the agency and to the participation from the affected citizenry. Citizen participation in the planning process sometimes delays a plan with a deadline to meet, which is another time and money cost to the program.
While it may not be possible to overcome monetary, time, and sampling obstacles, it is possible to overcome obstacles of miscommunication and misunderstanding through
first educating the public about the NPS as a planning unit.
. .citizens must know what the DSC/NPS is, what it is doing, and what the impact of the plans will be on their lives. They must also be aware of opportunities for involvement in the planning process. (National 44)
Of course, the attitudes toward public/private participation may not be due to
lplete misunderstanding of NPS intentions; the public skepticism and mistrust may exist simply because average citizens do not want another level of bureaucracy forced upon them. NPS planners must calm these fears with honest and effective communication.
Once the citizens have been involved the course is set. Failure to be responsive to the problems and dealings in the alternatives with the impact on citizen identified problems will cause more anger than if there had been involvement in the first place. (Citizen Involvement in Land Use Planning 13)
Another writer declares:
If the citizen truly understands that any governmental action will in one way or another affect his private life and thus reacts to the governmental proposal, then the participation problem is automatically resolved,and we will be living in a truly "by the people, of the people, and for the people" society. In other words, the citizens are and should be involved. The citizens desire and willingness to serve are the key ingredients to success. The question is whether we can really get them involved in activities that will affect us all. (Cuyahoga Planner remark 1986)
The characteristics of NPS/DSC and the general planning issues which the
agencies must consider are related here as general overview material for the thesis.

The scope of park planning for urban and semiurban areas is relatively new when compared with other park areas such as the rural and outlying areas. The multifaceted public in the areas have different needs than the traditional rural park visitor; yet the obstacles for effective public participation are not insurmountable.
NPS Citizen Participation Program Design Issues
The design of public participation programs in urban and semiurban areas is as complex as the composition of the areas themselves. The parks are located in high density areas of more than one million populations, and have more local and even visitation throughout the year. Management and planning in the parks may become a complicated issue because it must address a variety of concerns immediately and frequently. In urban and semiurban areas, NPS planners confront conflicts between many unique policy and management goals of various federal and regional agencies, city governments, and citizen organizations that are more difficult to resolve than in rural areas.
To recapitulate the literature review and list the issues that NPS planners may consider when designing an appropriate program:
1. Who are the citizens the agency is trying to reach? Who will be affected by the planning program or project?
2. Is the purpose of the citizen participation program to educate the citizen, to solicit citizen response, or to meet federal requirements?
3. How much decision making authority will citizens really have? What decisions have already been made?
4. At what stages should the various citizen participation processes occur throughout the planning process? What type is appropriate at what stage?
Unfortunately, the myriad of programs that will fit NPS specific design objectives are confusing, and have never been studied. The NPS needs to evaluate

their citizen participation practices to help increase awareness of the urban and suburban parks constituencies and their needs involved. Chapter 3 presents the methodology used to construct evaluative tools that compare the various public participation methods.

CHAPTER 3 Methodology
Methods used to obtain data for the thesis included: A review of the literature, a questionnaire, and personal interviews with planning professionals. The data were then analyzed with statistical computations derived from the questionnaire answers, an evaluative matrix and table, and case studies of influential parks. This chapter will describe the people, processes, and the formats used to derive the results of the research described in chapter four.
Methods of Data Collection
The data for this thesis were found through literature research, a comprehensive survey, and personal interviews. This basic information was later analyzed to confirm or deny the thesis statement.
Literature Review
After an extensive search of literature, material concerning public agency planning and/or citizen participation processes was selected as text sources of information. These sources were used for references for the basic definitions and guidelines of public participation programs. From this type of research, I was able to derive general public participation program characteristics, and write a questionnaire used in a survey of National Park Service planners.
Survey Technique
Surveys are a common technique used to obtain information from small and large populations. In the thesis, a survey was used to solicit responses from 36 planners, each of whom was directly involved in the General Management Plans of one of the 36 urban and semiurban parks in the National Park Service. The entire questionnaire may be referenced in Appendix A.

The survey was designed to discover the methods and purpose of public involvement programs that are used at various stages of the planning process in high population-density areas.
Questions used to solicit responses. The questions elicited program characteristics through ordinal-choice answers. In this manner, the answers could be coded for quantitative analysis. The questionnaire also allowed room for comment.
Initially, the planners were asked to describe the rationale behind the overall program choice in the planning of a specific park. Then they were asked ten questions pertaining to the program that were repeated for each of the five stages of the planning process as outlined in National Park guidelines. The stages in question were Issue Analysis/Scoping, Alternative Development, Preparation of Draft Plan and Environmental Document, Selection of Proposed Action, and finally, the stage of Final GMP Preparation.
The first question asked for each stage ("Was public involvement used in this stage?") allowed the planners to continue with the section or explain why a program was not used. The information obtained from this question allowed better understanding of their goals and objectives for an overall public participation plan.
The subsequent questions asked the size, cost, staffing needs, time requirements, consensus-reaching ability, the degree of participant interaction, the degree of multiple-problem solving, and the overall success of the program in achieving usable results for the next stage of planning. The participants were given a range of answers, asked to circle the relevant answer, and then comment on the response if they desired. All of these questions related to variables of any public participation program that were later tabulated and organized into an evaluative matrix.
The final question in each section asked the planners if they would do anything

differently if they were to start the process again. This question gave the participants time to reflect upon the choices for the particular program at this stage of planning, and provide explanations of the program success or failure. I was able to use many of the comments from this question to strengthen my research and survey findings for a particular program.
Selection of participants. The method used to select participants involved obtaining the names of the planning team leaders for every urban and semiurban park GMP from the National Park Service records. I then contacted the leaders personally or via telephone and mail. If a particular leader was no longer working for the Service, or could not be traced, I contacted a team member who felt qualified to respond to the questionnaire based on his/her direct involvement with the public participation program. I obtained answers to the questionnaire from 36 planners, one in each of the 36 urban and semiurban parks.
Interview Technique
Seven people directly and indirectly associated with the planning of urban and semiurban parks, general public participation techniques and public policy were consulted for additional thesis data. These individuals were asked various questions related to their particular expertise in public participation programming. Their responses helped to clarify problem areas and support other data.
Data Analysis
The responses of the participants were analyzed quantitatively by SPSS and hand tabulation, and also evaluated with a matrix and tables. Additionally, case studies were selected as excellent examples of the effectiveness of the Nominal Group Process in the urban and semiurban areas.
SPSS Procedure
The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used to analyze the survey

results quantitatively. The procedures determined the frequency of each of the questions, and also cross-tabulated each of the public participation methods used with the questions that were asked about each process. The results of this analysis are discussed in Chapter 4.
A matrix was used as a conceptual framework based on various types of information. The results of the survey provided the strongest data in this study.
In the matrix, a number of variables are compared as they related to the used of citizen participation techniques in urban and semiurban parks planned by the NPS. An explanation of the vertical and horizontal axis and a relative scale for variable comparison for each are given below.
Vertical axis. The thesis separated ten reported processes into the categories of meetings and surveys. This was done to facilitate organization and to promote reader understanding of the nature of the processes. The definitions of each of these are:
Open Public Hearings: An open public hearing is an announced meeting which is open to anyone who wants to come. Agency personnel describe proposed courses of action of decisions that have to be made. The citizens then voice their opinions and indicate approval or disapproval of the ideas or plans presented. Frequently, they also ask questions to obtain more information about specific issues or ideas concerning the planning process. After the meeting is over, the citizens may submit written letters or reports, expressing approval or disapproval of the ideas presented or stating recommendations for other courses of action (Synergy 64). Normally, an open public hearing is held in a large room with enough chairs to accommodate the participants and the appropriate audio visual equipment needed for the agencys presentation.

____________Variables for Comparison____________________________________________________
Trained Multiple
Group Size Financial Logistics Personnel Time Abili ty to Problem Likelihood of
Participation for a Typical Require- Require- Require- Requi re- Participant Participation Reach a Flow of Consider- Achieving
Process Exercise ments ments ments ments Interaction Satisfaction Consensus Ideas at ion Usable Results
Open Public Hearing
Nominal Group Technique
Simulations and Gaming
Mass Media Response

Small Workshops: Small workshops are small working groups usually composed of not more than 10 to 12 people. Citizen participation at a workshop can be either by invitation or open to the general public. The group is given information, data, and graphic materials by a trained leader and is asked to develop planning procedures or plans or revise present procedures or plans. The participants interact verbally by indicating approval or disapproval of ideas and proposals which have been developed by the planning team. The team was used as a workshop when some alternatives and/or procedures have been developed and additional ones are desired from the public (Synergy 66). A workshop can also be used to involve people from different user groups to discuss mutual concerns in order to seek solutions acceptable to all of the groups. "The value of this technique is in coming up with proposals for consideration that are the product of various publics and groups working together" (Fairfax, Public Involvement 19).
Brainstorming: The usual "brainstorming" group consists of 10 to 12 people. A trained leader distributes planning materials and data to the group. Through the use of this information, the brainstorming group develops a series of ideas by group discussion. These ideas are then utilized by the agency in its planning procedures. The concept of brainstorming frees individuals from "Inhibition, self-criticism and
criticism by others in order that in response to a specific problem they may
produce as many different ideas as possible" (Taylor, Administrative Sciences
Quarterly 24). While members share many ideas with each other in verbal form, there is no set order or fashion to follow. The assumption is that the larger the number of ideas produced, the greater the probability of achieving usable
recommendations for decision making. Brainstorming is normally conducted in one session. Sometimes a second session is needed at another phase in the planning process, depending on the nature of the problems at hand, and the abilities of the

team members.
Nominal Group Process: The Nominal Group Process is a small workshop format which is formed to analyze a particular planning problem or situation. Briefly described, the individuals in the group nominally respond to a question or statement as given to them by the group leader. The responses are then given by the entire group. After the discussion, the responses are ranked by the group to obtain a group priority consensus list. This process is explained in detail in Chapter 5. As with other workshop sessions, the Nominal Group Process can be conducted in a small room with accommodations for the participants and appropriate materials which the agency needs to conduct the session. Because the process is highly structured and is controlled by a trained leader, a group consensus and a priority list is almost always produced.
Simulation or "Gaming": A "game" is a structured process which can either be
conducted as a simulation or be used to address issues and problems of an actual
plan. The process requires a room in which to display a graphic or board model and
which will allow participant interaction. A small model of the proposed planning
scheme is presented to the participants, who the play "roles" under conditions that
allow comparison in a normal (controlled) environment.
These models focus on quantifiable human activity such as transportation, land use and visitation, although extrapolation into less quantifiable social aspects is possible. Gaming processes are often highly complex, take considerable time commitments, and provide results which are often too aggregated to be of much use in urban problem solving situations. (Runyan
Charrette Planning: A charrette is a "marathon planning session which is open to
the public but built around an invited backbone of experts. ."(Fairfax 19). The work sessions are very intense with set deadlines. The citizens and elected officials are involved throughout the process as full partners. A charrette may last from
several days to several weeks depending on the nature of the agency task to be

performed. Much advance planning is needed to conduct a charrette including selection of participants and deciding on a time in which the participants can actively and fully take part. Several months are usually needed for this phase of the process. A charrette is designed to generate ideas, identify and analyze solutions and develop proposal is order to allow the planning agency to complete production and implementation.
Advisory Committee: The advisory committee generally consists of professionals, technicians, and interest group representatives from which the team wishes to obtain information. The team may use a citizen forum as a form of advisory committee. Although these forums can be large in the number of participants, involvement of all members is not guaranteed. To increase the potential for effective committee operation, the agency staff representative who has responsibility for the forum should be trained in group dynamics and must devote considerable time to organize and administer the committee (National Association of Regional Councils 25). These types of committees bring a variety of perspectives to bear on the problem.
The last three types of processes discussed in this study are survey techniques.
Survey Interview: The survey interview process involves interviewing a "representative" cross-section of the public to determine attitudes, opinions and other factual information regarding the planning issues (Synergy 70). Respondents are obtained by selecting a statistically valid sample of the public. The purpose of a survey is to gather information to assist the team in its decision making processes, to evaluate alternatives, and to measure the effectiveness of particular programs (Hagood interview 6/86). Surveys can provide a planning agency with information which is easily analyzed and sharply focused.
Delphi Technique: The Delphi technique was originally developed "to tap the

opinions of experts about complex, technical problems" (Runyan 8). The process is directed to the "literate: citizens of the area, and is usually a series of four or more questionnaires distributed to selected individuals. The participants do not meet as a group. Instead, communication through questionnaire responses are used to obtain a usable product. Each questionnaire is based on the responses from the preceding one, a procedure which serves to continue the communication process.
Mass Media Responses: The use of the media (radio, television, newspaper, NPS newsletter) can be an effective way for a team to give and receive information from the public. It is frequently used by NPS, and is often used with open public hearings. Information concerning a project of planning process is solicited. The public can respond by telephone, letters, or face-to-face contact with the planners.
Horizontal axis. The horizontal axis included the variables of group size, cost, time, personnel requirements, participant interaction, and flow of ideas. Each of the variables was assigned its own designation scheme which is described as each is explained.
Group Size: Group size pertains to the number of citizens who can submit information to a planning agency while being involved in a particular citizen participation process. Some processes can solicit a wide range of participants. An open public hearing may solicit from a small group of three or four persons to a large number of participants. Normally the structured workshop sessions (such as brainstorming and the Nominal Group Process can accommodate from 10 to 12 individuals. The group size of other techniques may vary considerably. In the matrix, quantifiable group size comparisons are designated as either small (25 or fewer, medium (26-100), or large (100+). The typical size for a survey interview is a valid percent of the population being considered.
Financial Requirements: The budget of a planning project does not always allow

for an extensive, elaborate citizen participation process. Hagood states that the "major problem with having the type of citizen participation a team would like to have is money" (Interview 6/86). Budget constraints and program limitations, according to Shober, "Frequently determine what type of citizen participation process the team uses" (Interview 8/86). In the matrix, the cost per unit of the process, excluding team member salaries, is categorized into low ($50 or less), medium ($51-200), and high requirements ($200+).
Logistics Requirements: Generally speaking, logistics concern the procurement and maintenance of material and facilities in order to conduct a citizen participation process. This would include room size and support equipment necessary to conduct the process. In the matrix, these are designated in terms of low, medium and high requirements.
Trained Personnel Requirements: Trained personnel refers to a person(s) who is hired specifically to conduct a citizen participation process or to a team member especially trained in this area. In any case, "the leader must (1) understand the process; (2) possess self-confidence to lead a group through the process steps; and (3) be legitimate so as to be accepted as he or she directs group behavior (Delbecq and Van de Ven 80). In the matrix, the designation of "yes" or "no" is given to indicate whether or not the leader must go through specialized training in order to conduct the specific citizen participation process.
Time Requirements: This requirements relates to the amount of time it takes to complete a single part of the particular citizen participation process. A part (or unit) is determined by the way the process is structured for the teams use. According to Van de Ven, "Research indicates that the success of problem-solving groups in arriving at creative decisions is related to the proportion of time spent working on the problem" (Van de Ven 207). In the matrix, time requirements are

designated in terms of low (8 hours or less), medium (2-7 days), or high (7 days or more) for each unit of the participation process.
Participant Interaction: Participant interaction refers to the amount of direct mutual influence that both the citizens and planners (the participants) have on one another.
The quality of decisions made by groups is positively related to the amount and quality of interactions among the group members. Decision making procedures which require and/or permit increased interaction produce better decisions than do procedures involving less interaction (Holloman 182).
In the matrix, this variable is designated as low, medium or high levels of participant interaction.
Participant Satisfaction: Citizen satisfaction measures that level at which
citizens perceive they have been a part of the process and have had an influence in the decision making process of the planning product. The psychological nature of this variable makes it difficult to put in quantifiable terms. In the matrix,
processes are designated, nevertheless, in terms of low, medium, or high levels of satisfaction.
Ability to reach a Consensus: Synergy describes consensus seeking as
"cooperative problem-solving in which the conflicting parties have the joint interest of reaching a mutually satisfactory solution" (Synergy 21). Openness is the extent
to which the team allows the participants access to the entire planning and decision
making process through the citizen participation procedures. High degrees of openness and interaction among participants are conducive to reaching a consensus. In the matrix, quantitative measures are in terms of a low, medium, or high ability of a citizen participation process to enable the participants to obtain a consensus.
Facilitating the flow of ideas: The rapid flow, expansions, and/or consolidation of ideas during a participating process is generally considered to be a positive aspect of a planning process. The helpful flow of ideas among participants usually has a

positive effect on some of the variables already described. In the matrix, the terms of low, medium, or high are used to quantify the ability of the process to facilitate the flow of ideas among the participants.
Multiple problem consideration: The multiple problem variable concerns the extent to which the participation process enables participants to consider various dimensions, aspects, or parts of the planning process. For example, there may be many elements which will affect a stage of planning such as transportation, concessionaires, and social considerations. In the matrix, a process is designated as low, medium, or high, based on its ability to consider multiple problem dimensions or increments during the citizen participation session.
Likelihood of achieving usable results: The likelihood of achieving usable results is directly related to the ability of the participants to obtain a product or results which will be of use to the agency in the decision making process. Stated another way, the opinions and information gathered for participants involved in the process are likely to be incorporated in the team decision making process. The parameters which a process imposes on participants because of its structure will definitely affect the achievement of those usable results. In the matrix, a process is evaluated on the basis of its high, medium, or low ability to allow participants to achieve these results.
The cells of the matrix were filled using the designation schemes. The results of the survey, interviews, and literature reviews contributed to the tabulation of the program scores, and to the final results in the table. The matrix was made to give a conceptual base upon which various citizen participation processes available to NPS/DSC planning teams can be compared and to help the reader distinguish differences among the various processes. It is hoped that the matrix itself can be used as a beginning basis for utilizing citizen participation in decision making for

any type of planning.
Case Studies
The final method of data analysis was the use of case studies of salient public participation methods. Specifically, this thesis concentrated on those park plans that inclded the Nominal Group Process, because the writer thought this process was not used as often as the other processes; the research surfaced the variations on the Nominal Group Process as it was used in GMP planning. The thesis closely analyzed the Cuyahoga National Park planning process as an excellent example of
Nominal Group Process.

Comparison of Various Citizen Participation Processes in Urban and Semiurban Parks in the National Park Service
This chapter presents the findings from the research conducted Fall, 1986 on public participation programs used in urban and semiurban parks of the National Park Service. The results from the surveys, interviews, statistical analysis and literature research gave the author enough information to develop an evaluation of ten public participation programs used by the NPS based on eleven program variables. The following discussion explains the frequency and type of programs used among the stages of NPS/GMP planning (Table 1) and also provides some program rationale in the context of planning stages. Then, the analysis elaborates on a comparative discussion of the programs with the aid of a conceptual matrix (Table 2). The chapter will close with an evaluation of the matrix as a tool for planning efforts, and with the suggestion for more frequent use of an overlooked public participation method, the Nominal Group Process.
Use of Public Participation Programs in Urban and Semiurban Areas The research results revealed that each of the ten public participation programs was used at some point of GMP planning by at least one of the 36 urban and semiurban parks surveyed. In addition, some type of program was used at least 18% of the time in any particular stage of planning.

Table 1
Frequency and Type of Citizen Participation Programs used in GMP planning of Urban and Semiurban Parks in the National Park Service.
Issue Analysis/Scoping 90% Public Hearings 30%
Mass Media 30%
Survey 20%
A.C./Workshop/NGP 15%
Simulation 5%
Alternative Development 36% A.C./NGP 45%
Survey 30%
Mass Media 15%
Charrette 5%
Brainstorming 5%
Draft Plan 45% Mass Media 50%
A.C. 40%
Charrette 5%
NGP 5%
Selection of Proposed Action 18% A.C./Workshop 80%
NGP 15%
Delphi Technique 5%
Final GMP Preparation 36% A.C./Workshop/NGP 100%
*A.C. (Advisory Committee), NGP (Nominal Group Process) and Workshop methods were grouped together in 75% of the responses; many planning teams used variations and combinations of the methods, and could not describe the processes within the strict definitions explained in Chapter 3.
The survey findings revealed the following frequencies for each stage of GMP planning:
Issue Analysis/Scoping
This initial stage of planning is noted by most planners as requiring some sort of public participation program. According to the survey, 90 percent of planning teams used public participation at this time. NPS participants mentioned that it was crucial to fully grasp the local opinion in a park area, and are enthusiastic about

launching a program.
Eighty percent chose to use some sort of "mass appeal" program such as open public hearings, mass media campaigns or surveys. Of those 80% using this type of strategy, 70 percent said that it helped them to proceed to the next stage of planning.
Twenty percent chose to use programs requiring a greater time, personnel, and money commitment such as Advisory Committees, Workshops or the Nominal Group Process. Ninety percent of the cases reported that this type of process helped them to proceed to the next stage of planning.
Alternative Development
In thirty-six percent of the cases studied, public involvement was used at this stage. The most common rationale for this low level is based on the thought that it is more "efficient" to complete the alternative development in-house, and later present the alternatives to the public for review.
However, of the cases that included public participation programs, 55 percent used a small group process of Advisory Committee, Nominal Group Process or Charrette. Ninety-five percent of the teams reported that this form of public participation helped them to proceed to the next stage of planning.
Forty-five percent of the teams using public participation at this stage used a type of mass appeal strategy of surveys, or mass media. Of this percentage, 65 percent reported that it helped them to proceed to the next stage of planning.
Draft Plan
Forty-five percent of the planners used some sort of public involvement program at this stage of planning. Half of the planners used mass media approaches, and half used Advisory Committees, Nominal Group Processes or Charrette planning. Eighty-three percent of the planners reported that all of these

types of programs helped them to proceed to the next stage of planning.
Selection of Proposed Action
A mere 18 percent of the cases included public involvement at this stage; the majority of the respondents stated that "political and budgetary influences supersede the opportunity for widespread public involvement." Many felt a time constraint at this point, and did not attempt public involvement for fear of not reaching a consensus in a short time. Of those cases that used public involvement, 100 percent used a small group approach, either Advisory Committees or Workshops (80 percent) or the Nominal Group Process (20 percent). Of those planners using public involvement at this stage, only 44.4 percent reported that the program was effective in helping the planners proceed to the next stage of planning.
Final GMP Preparation
Thirty-six percent of the planners used public involvement at this stage. The majority felt it was not necessary to use public input for a process that is traditionally completed in-house. Those that used a program at this stage used small group approaches of Advisory Committees, Workshops, or the Nominal Group Process.
In sum, the bulk of public participation programs were used in the initial three stages of planning. The inconsistency of public participation frequency throughout the planning process is due to the fact that the team using mass appeal approaches in the Issue Analysis/Scoping, Alternative Development and the Draft Plan stages did not use public participation in the Selection of Proposed Action of the Final GMP Preparation stages.
The teams that used a smaller group approach continued the public involvement programs throughout the planning process, despite some reports that the type or style of program was not always effective in helping them to proceed

from one stage to the next.
The program rationale for the types of processes used in these stages are cross-referenced with the matrix findings, and are more fully explained in the following section.
Explanation of the Matrix and its Variables as a Conceptual Framework
The matrix which follows (Table 2) is a conceptual framework based on various types of information. The matrix is exploratory; each process and its relationship to the variables is evaluated according to the study results. In many cases, the degree to which the variable becomes manifest depends upon the specific planning issue for which the team is conducting citizen participation. It is also important to consider the stage of the planning process, types of citizens involved, number of people involved, geographic area involved, and the decisions that are to be made. Thus, the remaining analysis will discuss the programs in the context in which they are used to reveal a realistic framework for their evaluation.
This evaluation will separate the types of programs into mass appeal (open public hearings, surveys, mass media responses) and small group (workshops, brainstorming, nominal group process, charrette, simulation, advisory committee, and delphi) based on the fact that NPS planners used one type of technique or the other, and rarely (3 percent of cases) utilized both types of public participation methods. It is important, however, to consider that combinations of various methods may achieve planning goals. The first type of program addresses a large group, has a small budget, requires little preparation time, and achieves quick, although not always useful, results. The small group approach utilizes a representative few members, requires a larger money and time commitment, and achieves a consensus and usable results in most instances. Disadvantages of both

____________Variables for Comparison____________________________________________________
Trained Multiple
Group Size Financial Logistics Personnel Time Ability to Problem Likelihood of
Participation for a Typical Requi re- Requi re- Requi re- Require- Participant Participation Reach a Flow of Consider- Achieving
Process Exercise ments ments ments ments Interaction Satisfaction Consensus Ideas at ion Usable Results
Open Public Normally Normally
Hearing Large Low Low No Low Low Low Low Low High Low
Workshop Small Medium Medium No Low High Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Nominal Group Technique Small Low Medium No Low High High High High Medium High
Brain- Storming Small Low Medium No Low Medium Medium Medium High Medium High
Simulations Small High High Yes Low High Medium Medium High Medium Medium
and Gaming Normally Normally
Charrette Small High High Yes Medium High High High High High High
Committees Small Medium Medium No Low High Medium Medium Medium High Medium
Survey Valid percent Normally
Interview of population Medium Medium Yes High Low Low Low Low High Medium
Delphi Technique Medium Medium Low Yes High Low Medium High Medium High High
Mass Media
Response Large Medium Low Yes Medium Low Medium Low Low High Low

types that lead to unsuccessful results include mistargeting of participants, misuse of techniques, and mismanagement of time and personnel. A thorough investigation of the individual programs will highlight the differences among the approaches and among the individual programs.
According to this study, the main objective of public participation is to
encourage two-way communication and promote understanding of the planning
process. Mass appeal strategies such as open public hearings, surveys, and mass
media responses "generally do a poor job of fulfilling the functions of public
participation" (Heberlein 11). These strategies are generally used when agency
decisions require certification concerning decisions that have already been made.
These forms of communication are a means by which the agency informs the
citizens and then makes them aware of the planning process, and is normally used
to fulfill federal requirements. In open public hearings, for example, the discussion
is usually polarized between the avid proponents and opponents of the plan allowing
only a small percentage of audience input which is usually given by the "vocal few,
who may not represent the feelings of the majority of the group" (Synergy 64).
Because of the format of public hearings:
. . .the natural polarization between interest groups can be and
often is reinforced through the process. There is seldom a feeling of mutual concern for achieving the best solution in the highly charged atmosphere of the hearing process. (Voelker 1)
Survey interviews, although they restrict the number of people who can
participate, may also be designed for large groups. However, because the designers of the survey must have had experience and/or training in planning questionnaires, the survey may not always obtain the results needed (Fairfax 17); the technique is misused frequently because "most planners are not skilled in drawing statistically significant results" (Hornback Interview 8/86). Another mass media technique, mass

media responses, may draw a larger, less polarized audience (Fairfax 17). In this process, newspapers are most commonly used to convey the information, and all the average citizen has to do is "sit down and write a letter to request a study or write a response" (Shober Interview 7/86). In general, however, the major problems in the mass appeal strategies are that they do not always convey the entire planning picture, they do not encourage vocalized discussions of the planning issues, nor do they incorporate the same audience during the entire planning process (Heberlein 13).
In contrast, the smaller groups found in advisory committees and workshops, emphasize participant continuity throughout the planning process. In all cases, small group strategies have a high degree of participant interaction and the flow of ideas. These types of public participation directly involve participants in the planning process, and help the participants to better understand the procedures used for decision making (Synergy 66).
Advisory Committees, charrettes, delphi groups, simulations, workshops (including nominal group process and brainstorming) invite select individuals that are representative of the public, issue, or other salient planning objective. Any of these procedures takes considerably more time and planning effort in order to be successful because the participants consider important issues for the decision making process and make recommendations to the team: the respondents in this study agreed that small group approaches "when properly used, are an effective way of solving problems, generating solutions and involving citizens in planning." Workshops, nominal group processes and brainstorming are often used with advisory committees and normally achieve a high degree of citizen satisfaction; normally, participants feel that these meetings are worthwhile because their ideas are given fair consideration (Hornback interview 6/86). In brainstorming, criticism is ruled

out, "free wheeling" is welcome, quantity of ideas is wanted, and the combination and improvement of ideas in sought. In the nominal group process, the ideas are prioritized, and all ideas are considered. Hence, with proper control, consensus is reached, and participant satisfaction is high.
Another advantage to the small group is that it tackles complex problems in an effective manner. The delphi process, charrettes, simulations and nominal group techniques all ask specific questions, and encourage objective criticism. The delphi process avoids face-to-face confrontation and allows participants to fully explain their position; charrettes are very effective because they develop workable strategies designed by public officials from different authority levels; simulations imitate realistic parameters of a complex situation; and the nominal group process identifies multiple problem in stages to encourage participant understanding. Complex information is more readily obtained through the small group technique rather than the mass appeal techniques by the nature of their structured problemsolving agendas (Runyan).
When the small groups procedures are misused or poorly organized, however, they are nothing but a "waste of time" (Johnson Interview 6/86). A serious problem of small committees is their potential "lack of representativeness: (Heberlein 12) because the methods limit the size of the working groups" (Synergy 68) to those specifically invited by the team to help in the planning process.
Mass appeal strategies may avoid this problem by sending their messages randomly when the agency needs to simply inform citizens of the plans. Initial use of mass appeal may provide a catalyst for future citizen involvement: "The simplicity and straightforwardness of mass appeal can be an asset to the planning team" (Synergy 89). Small group sessions sometimes confuse the issue at hand because they are often misdirected, leading to citizen dissatisfaction: advisory

Group Process in this instance was timely and productive. Other techniques, such as workshops, survey interviews, or mass media response could have been used. According to comparisons with other urban/semiurban parks using these forms, and in line with the Matrix, the likelihood of achieving usable results would have been less, the flow of ideas among participants would have been slower, and except for workshops, the time requirement would have been higher. The organizers and planners of these citizen participation sessions found that the Nominal Group Process worked very well.

An Explanation of the Nominal Group Process
A Description From the Works of Andre Delbeca and Andrew Van de Ven The Nominal Group Process was developed in 1968 by Dr. Andre Delbecq, a professor in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Andrew Van de Ven, a graduate assistant working with Dr. Delbecq. The authors developed the process as an alternative means of solving difficult problems and decision making situations faced by planners.
The Nominal Group Process has been given wide recognition as a useful tool in a variety of situations. It was derived from social/psychological studies of decision conferences, management science studies of aggregating group judgments, and social work studies of problems surrounding citizen participation in planning. The process has been used extensively by planning agencies in the fields of health, social services and education, and also by industry and government (Voelker, 3).
As described in Chapter 2, one session of the process consists basically of four procedural steps: (1) large group meeting; (2) nominal small group process
function; (3) round-robin group interaction and voting; and (4) second large group meeting. The process described in this chapter is according to the works of
Delbecq and Van de Ven, but with some variations so that it can be effectively utilized by the National Park Service.
Prior to a Nominal Group Process meeting, the planning agency selects a sample of individuals from which responses will be sought. This sample of participants can be obtained by selecting a random sample of the public or publics that should be involved in the planning process or by extending an open invitation to anyone who might want to participate. For purposes of this thesis, the

participants in the citizen participation process will be referred to as the "client" group. The explanation of the Nominal Group Process is taken from an article by Van de Ven and Delbecq as published in the American Journal of Public Health (1972). In addition, this study has added certain statements to this explanation which are specifically designed to make the process more useful to the NPS.
The Nominal Group Process meeting is usually opened by the planner, or
moderator, who expresses the sincere interest of his organization is seeking
information about the problems which the clients are experiencing in the area being
investigated. The planner then indicates that the role of the client group, based on
its perception, experiences, and expertise, is to relate information for the purpose
of defining the character of these problems. The planner explicitly requests the
cooperation and commitment of each participant to the task at hand. The
planner carefully emphasizes that the theme of the meeting is to be
"problem-centered," not "solution-centered." Further,
# ,
The planner indicates that most problems have both subjective and objective components. The subjective components center around feelings and emotions of individuals in the problem situation. The objective components deal with organizational or environmental realities surrounding the problem. (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group 330)
The planner then tells the client group that both subjective and objective responses to the question will be sought during the meeting.
Because of the structure of the Nominal Group Process, each participant has an equal opportunity to contribute to the group task. This is accomplished at the beginning by "nominal" of "silent" generation of ideas. The planner or moderator divides the client group into several smaller groups from 5 to 12 individuals, as determined by such factors as the size of the overall client group, space available for smaller group meetings, and the number of trained facilitators on hand. The facilitators for the smaller groups pass out writing materials to each person, states

the exploratory question or statement each participant is to respond to as a means of defining critical elements of the problem, and invites discussion about the question or statement to make certain that all participants understood what is being sought.
The planning team must decide which is more appropriate in order to solicit the type of information it needs. A question may be asked such as "What are the major obstacles to implementation of this park?" Or a statement such as "List the major obstacles to implementation of this park." As previously mentioned, the participants are asked to respond in terms of a list of "personal feeling" toward the problem and then with a list of "organizational difficulties." These two lists can be as long as each individual wishes but should be kept separate from the other. The participants are then asked to spend a short time, usually 15 to 20 minutes, listing aspects of the problem on the writing material which they had received earlier. They are asked to do this without speaking to anyone else at their table and to proceed in silence (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 470). The facilitator enforces silence by requesting those participants who have stopped writing not to distract others still working (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339).
At the end of the allotted amount of time for writing in silence, the moderator indicates that each small group area, (usually in an "around a table" setting) be provided with marking pens, a large pad of paper, and tape. A team member, acting as the recorder for each small group, then asks the clients, one at a time, to read aloud one "organizational difficulties" item from his card. This person writes that item on a large pad, exactly as the client member reads it from his card (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 470). Terse statements are requested and no group discussion is allowed (Voelker 4). The recorder sequentially receives one item from each client, assigning a number to each item as they are written on

the pad. Then, this person asks members at the table who have the same item on
their cards to raise their hands to be recorded it by putting check marks next to the item. No debate is allowed about equivalency of items. All related "problems" are written on the pads as expressed by each participant (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 471). Even if there is response overlap, no rewording is done.
The mechanical format of this step allows equal participation of all group members and ensures that all ideas are ultimately considered. An interesting phenomenon occurs in this round. Group members "hitchhike" (Voelker 4) on the ideas suggested by other; that is, additional ideas spontaneously develop from
previously mentioned ideas. The recorder encourages participants to hitchhike as their turn occurs in the round-robin (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group Process" 339), and these new ideas are also added to the recorders list. By this time in the session, the large pad begins to assume a central role in the group; it becomes the focal point of the groups common effort, acting as a strong visual focus and providing a written record and guide (Voelker 4).
The recorder continues to list items until all "organizational difficulties" have been aired. Then the recorder removes the sheet from the pad, tapes it to the wall, and repeats the entire process for the "personal feelings" items (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 471).
After all ideas from the nominal forms of all participants have been listed
and displayed, the recorder initiates a 30 minute discussion among members of the group concerning the ideas which have been expressed. The purpose of the discussion is to clarify, elaborate, defend, or dispute these recorded items or to add new ideas which may emerge through the discussion (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339). However the collapsing or condensing of items into general problem categories should be avoided in order to maintain a greater specificity of problem

dimensions (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 471). Although the pace of the discussion should be slow, unproductive arguments which can sidetrack or unduly delay the process should be discouraged by the recorder (Voelker 5). The
discussion should progress one idea at a time, not with the list in its entirety (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339).
Following the discussion period, the group is asked to rank the priority or critical problems from the total list. Usually this list of critical elements contains either 5 or 10 items. The recorder requests each member to independently choose
and record (by name and number) on cards or paper those items (either 5 or 10)
from the list which is considered most important (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339). Each member is asked to privately vote (by number) on the items they
consider most crucial on the "organizational" problem list (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 471), assigning a value of 5 or 10 to the most important item down to a value of one to the least important. The recorder then collects the individual votes and records them on the appropriate lists.
After the ideas have been ranked in order of priority, the participants can reclarify, elaborate, defend, or dispute this preliminary vote on priorities. If the priority vote discussion results in a redefinition of some problem (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339), and it usually does, the recorder asks the individual participants to review and change, as they wish, the individual preliminary priority items. Each individual privately reranks their critical priority items and the recorder then asks each participant to privately rate their reranked items by assessing a value from 100 (highest priority) to zero (lowest priority) so as to reflect relative differences in importance between items. This final rating of
priorities is collected by the recorder (Van de Ven, "The Nominal Group" 339).
The next step in the Nominal Group Process is to reassemble all participants

and to report the votes of each small group to the entire gathering. If desired, members of the whole group can individually rank the items from all of these small group priority lists. In this way, the 5 or 10 most crucial problem areas can be given a priority ranking by the whole group. Discussion is allowed for as long as the participants desire-usually about 20 minutes.
The moderator then briefly explains that the Nominal Group Process will be conducted with other groups of people involved in the planning process. This moderator asks the group if it would like to select representatives to participate in the next nominal group meeting of the planning process. If so, members vote for their representatives. The client group is thanked and the meeting ends (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 472).
As detailed in this study, the client group meeting is a deliberate, structured process designed to accomplish the following general objectives: (1) to define the problem or problems by determining their dimensions using nominal group techniques; (2) to focus attention on those items which have the highest priority in the clients perspective; (3) to avoid defining a problem in terms of how a few leaders or a single client group would act on it but, instead, to react to problem definitions from multiple reference groups and representative clients; (4) to force professional members in the groups to react to the opinions and expressions of the clients rather than to their own theoretical or professional biases; (5) to create enough tension to assure that the professional organizations will react to the comments and suggestions of the clients; (6) to provide a forum which allows clients and professionals to confront each other in a manner which avoids mutually frustrating semantic hangups, and (7) to involve clients early in the planning process so that they may more closely relate to later program proposals, thus increasing the possibility of plan implementation (Delbecq 478).

The second nominal group meeting begins with the identification of external scientific and organizational experts whose discipline and functional skills relate to the priority items which evolved in the client group meeting and which are to be considered for application to a particular planning stage of the NPS. The organizational experts involved in the project could include planners, engineers, specialists and technicians from various related fields. Combined with internal functional experts from the principal team members responsible for the implementation of the planning program, this group of knowledge resource people from the area is invited to engage in a problem-solving meeting which follows processes somewhat similar to the format of the first nominal group meeting (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 478). An outline of procedure for this second meeting in NPS planning processes follows. As in the first "clients" session, this meeting is sponsored and conducted by the planning team. The moderator welcomes the large group and emphasizes that the focus of the meeting is on the list of priority problems developed by the client group during the previous meeting. The moderator provides a visual display of these priority problems for the present group to see. A brief description of how these priorities were developed is given without any attempt at analyzing them. The moderator stresses that the specialists involved in this meeting are to develop ideas about the specific planning project or stage under consideration and that they are not to act as "representatives" of specific plans in which they have a personal interest or of organizations by which the may be employed (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 481).
The large group of specialists from the area is then divided into smaller nominal groups, in a similar manner as was done in the client group meeting. These smaller groups ideally should contain a cross section of age, and of scientific and organizational affiliation and functional expertise. The specialists are

instructed in the nominal group format and are asked to provide information in two categories: "Solution components and existing resources which can be adopted or used" and "solution components and resources which can and should be developed" (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 481). A specific period of time is set for the specialists to list those priority items obtained from the first meeting under the two headings which each believes should be part of the solution plan. Again, silence in maintained during this part of the meeting.
When all participants have completed their listing, a recorder provides a large pad of paper for each nominal group and each specialist shares individually-noted solution components and resource items in the round-robin format as described for the client group meeting. A separate sheet should be used for each priority
problem. After all items have been shared, a discussion ensues in which a group
consensus of solution components and resources is obtained. The small groups then reassemble and report, in turn, to the whole session. A master list of all solution components and resources is made. After a discussion period, the participants are asked to nominally vote on and rate by priority those solution components and resources they believe to be absolutely essential for a plan which could effectively solve the priority problems generated during the first meeting (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 484).
This second meeting is a deliberate, structured Nominal Group Process which seeks to accomplish the following objectives: (1) to reconceptualize the priority
problems, initiated in the client group meeting, in terms of essential solution components and resources through use of scientific and organizational specialists; (2) to avoid defending existing organizational or team plans and to focus on new
combinations of solution components and resources necessary for this particular planning process; (3) to obtain a wide range of information about the planning

process by making the composition of the nominal groups as interdisciplinary and as diverse as possible; (4) to call attention to existing but untapped solution components and resources as well as the need for new components and resources; (5) to provide a legitimate "scientific endorsement" of essential program components and resources by the participant specialists and, hopefully, by the organizations and team they represent in order to develop an adequate solution to priority problems (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 484).
These two types of meetings, as explained in terms of using the Nominal Group Process, and the people involved in these meetings are indeed important in the majority of planning stages at the NPS. All client groups of administrators, local citizenry, industry, etc., may be grouped together or separated into different nominal groups. Planners should be in a position "to respond flexibly to the type of realistic adjustments which administrators and resource controllers are likely to suggest" (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 486).
It is not unusual for relevant planning processes to be vetoed by resource controllers or administrators because of rather minor implementation issues. In other words, they may feel that, while the planning process is needed or desired, minor matters of plan implementation may not be satisfactory. Therefore, the objective of this meeting "is a review of the types of reservations or qualifications that resource controllers and key administrators may have and the adjustments required in order for the plan proposal to be fully endorsed and supported" (Delbecq). Because the priority problem, solution components and resources, and plan implementation factors are juxtaposed with one another in these meetings, the essential concerns and solution of each of these reference groups from all of the nominal group meeting can be included within the content of the final planning process proposal (Delbecq 486).

After the planners have had time to interpret and use the information obtained from these meetings, a third meeting or a series of meetings could be scheduled. These meetings would follow the first series to determine if the planners awareness and subsequent use of the outputs of the first series has been adequate. The Nominal Group Process could be used in these meetings but may not be necessary, depending on what needs are to be considered and the kind of responses required for input into that particular phase of the planning process.
Past and Anticipated Uses of the Nominal Group Process The National Park Service first initiated the use of the Nominal Group Process in October, 1974, to help develop Coordinated Guidelines for Recreation Resource Use in the Great Smokies Region. Since that time, the NPS has used the Process as a tool to explore issues and develop guidelines for a number of their land areas in urban and semiurban park areas. The Nominal Group Process is typically used in the Issue Analysis/Scoping stages, and Alternative Development stages. Although is has been used in the planning of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Gulf Island National Seashore, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Cape Cod NRA, Gateway NP, Cuyahoga NRA, Fredricksburg, and a few others, it is used in under 50% of planning efforts. According to Jim Ryan, Public Information Specialist with the NPS, "People would not go to a citizen participation meeting unless they wanted to give information. The question is, how is the best way to get this information?" (Ryan Interview 2/86). The NPS makes use of the Nominal Group Process because it brings individuals with different interests together to hear what each other has to say. "This interaction is precisely what is needed in urban and semiurban areas.
It gives the citizens an opportunity to listen directly to each others viewpoint and it makes them feel like they are a part of the planning process. This aspect promotes trust between the citizens and the agency". (Ryan Interview 2/86)

promotes trust between the citizens and the agency". (Ryan Interview 2/86)
In 1978, the NPS had tentative plans to formalize the use of the Process through official mandate as a means to obtain alternatives in the planning of new areas. As mentioned, budgetary and political concerns and a lack of understanding of the importance of citizen participation processes of any type caused the ultimate dismissal of this idea.
Some speculate that the nonacceptance was based on case study "failures" of the Nominal Group Process. At Gateway NRA (New York), for example, the process did not function to the satisfaction of all parties involved. This particular case was one of a series of confrontations in NYC. The Nominal Group Process was chosen for the planning of Gateway because the NPS wanted a more structured meeting in order to get the product desired, and hoped to accomplish this by controlling the number of people who would attend the meetings (Smith interview
The issue addressed was "Harmonizing Urban Development with the Natural Environment." The workshops, in which a modified Nominal Group Process was used, were designed to produce specific products "which should form the environmental agenda for the Advisory Committee (NYC), the National Park Service, and other agencies with environmental responsibilities" (Smith Interview 8/86). The nominal groups developed a list of issues ranked by the participants according to the relative importance of each issue. The future application and implementation of these issues was not considered.
Experts from various fields of environmental concerns were asked to give presentations and moderate the different nominal groups. However, insufficient time was allowed to properly train these experts on controlling and moderating a nominal group, and this was one of the main reasons why the nominal groups were not as

successful as they could have been. Another problem was the size of the nominal ) groups. Each group there was composed of 25 or more people. It is extremely
difficult to achieve the high level of controlled and spontaneous participant interaction, which is characteristic of the Nominal Group Process with a group of this size. There were "too many people, not enough money and not enough time" to conduct the Process (Smith Interview 8/86). Time was lacking to give adequate feedback of the issues list to the participants. Giving ample feedback is a most important characteristic of the Nominal Group Process (Consultant Interview 7/86).
Although some individuals in the nominal groups appreciated the opportunity to participate, the general feeling was that the Nominal Group Process was not the best method for this particular situation. Smith suggests that is might have been better to have the "town hall, public hearing type of meeting" to fulfill the purposes of citizen participation for this planning process". He also suggested that although a workable product was eventually obtained, team members did not anticipate using the Nominal Group Process again for similar purposes.
According to Hornback and other consultants, the Nominal Group Process cannot be used effectively in situations in which the moderators of the nominal groups have preconceived ideas about what the product should be. Further, if ranking priority issues is the goal of the meeting, the moderators must approach this task as objectively as possible, avoiding the possibility of biased interests affecting the product. If specialists are requested to be moderators of nominal groups, they must dedicate a certain amount of their time for training and must be committed to achieving an unbiased, nominal group product.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Nominal Group Process
The organization, groups, and/or individuals that seek to use the Nominal Group Process must understand the strengths and weaknesses which are characteristic of its application. Most individuals interviewed and surveyed by the author stated that the Nominal Group Process had produced positive results for them in all instances to which it had been applied. However, the strengths and weaknesses of the Process depends on the objectives of the planning stage as well as upon the degree of modification of the process needs to obtain the results desired for the particular planning procedure.
The characteristic strengths and weaknesses of the Nominal Group Process are many. Perhaps its greatest strength lies in the high degree of interaction which is allowed all participants. Jim Ryan states that the process "gives the participants an opportunity to listen directly to each others viewpoint. It makes them feel like they are a part of the process and the exchange of ideas promotes trust between the participants and the represented agencies (Interview 7/86). Delbecq asserts that when the participants meet in nominal groups face-to-face around a table they become acquainted with each other and communicate directly with each other and with the group moderator (Van de Ven and Delbecq, "The Comparative Effectiveness of Applied Group Decision-Making Processes"). Hornback states that a great strength of the Nominal Group Process is that the people who attend the meeting are "obligated" to participate, that the round-robin group interaction "forces" people to share thoughts and ideas, and that, because the participants become acquainted with each other and talk with one another, a group sense of "oneness" is obtained (Interview 6/86). Another planner says that this type of inter- action establishes everyone on a equal basis even though they may be from different backgrounds. Because of its interactive nature, the Nominal Group Process allows

group members to "educate" one another; this constant flow of new information breaks down defensive barriers and creates a sense of group well-being whereas before there may have been hostility among certain members of the group (Voelker 27). This high degree of interaction is attained by limiting the number of
participants in the nominal groups to a range of from 5 to 12 persons. This group size also promotes greater exploration of problem dimensions (Delbecq, Group TgShniques 69).
Another important strength of the process lies in the nominal generation of information which mitigates status and conformity pressure on the part of group members toward other group members. The structure of the process does not allow group dominance by on or two persons (Voelker 28). Also, because of the independent voting mechanism in the Nominal Group Process, the more influential members or the ones who verbalize the most during the discussion may not
command the group influence that they normally would (Delbecq, Group Techniques 79).
A third strength is displayed in the high degree of individual participant
satisfaction. A persons ideas and problem statements are written on paper for all to see, and the participants develop a good deal of individual pride and self-satisfaction in observing their ideas transcribed in front of the group (Anderson).
The products developed during a Nominal Group Process lend creditability for subsequent decision making procedures for planning processes. In certain types of planning, products are sought through objective discussion and interaction means; the Nominal Group Process reduces the possibility of arbitrariness in decision
making. Thus the agency can claim a systematic procedure involving all persons necessary for the decision making process (Voelker 26). In certain planning processes in which a hypothesis has been proposed, the nature of the Process allows

for the testing of the validity of this hypothesis. The interaction of participants from various field of expertise in an interdisciplinary forum also allows for this testing (Voelker 26).
The Nominal Group Process provides quantitative data in terms of voted- on priorities and qualitative data in terms of rich descriptive discussion of the problem dimensions. This process strength combines qualitative and quantitative data to create a situation in which decision makers and/or planning agency officials cannot easily ignore client priorities (Delbecq, "A Group Process Model" 477). The product obtained in a nominal group meeting is usually in the form of a priority list. Because this is a "guide from the citizens" (Van de Ven, "The Comparative. ." 28) the planning agency stands a better chance to implement its planning process by giving credence, as it conforms with policies and procedures, to this citizen priority list (Delbecq, Group Techniques for Program Planning x).
Another strength in the Nominal Group Process results from the satisfaction of participants who feel a high level of individual accomplishment. Because of this sense of accomplishment in achieving a product, they have a greater degree of pride about their role in the process and about the "task being brought to closure," or termination (Delbecq, Group Techniques for Program Planning).
The mechanics of the Nominal Group Process are flexible and can be modified and adapted to fit the needs of a particular planning process. Through this strength, the type of product desired can be obtained for used in the specific planning procedure. However, the basic element of the Process (i.e. nominal group listing, round-robin interaction and a large group rating or ranking procedure) should not be omitted.
The nature of the nominal groups as problem-oriented rather than solution-oriented is another strength of the Process. It is necessary to maintain

this attitude throughout the various sessions because "it appears to be a human tendency to seek solutions even before the problem is understood" (Van de Ven, "Nominal Versus Interacting" 207). If the process is to maintain this "problem-mindedness," it must be highly structured and controlled by a person who has been trained to moderate it. The training of a person or persons to moderate a nominal group may require more time and money but the product will be more useful in the planning procedure.
Finally, there is the strength of instant feedback to the participants concerning the rating or ranking of priority problem or issues. A tabulation is taken while the large group session is still being conducted and the results of this tabulation are made known to all participants. This characteristic of the Nominal Group Process adds to the sense of meeting closure and participant satisfaction.
There are some weaknesses and limitations which are generally intrinsic with employing the Nominal Group Process as a form for citizen participation. For one, the operation of the entire process takes a reasonable amount of time, usually from two to three hours. This amount of time is usually necessary to achieve the product results desired.
The process "calls for certain physical facilities and leadership requirements which are not always readily available (Delbecq, Group Techniques for Program Planning 81), and this can be considered a weakness. Juxtaposed with these requirements is the possible cost of renting facilities, the time and money required to train leaders and the cost to participant for traveling to and from the meeting site.
The Nominal Group Process "can deal with only one question at a time, so that is a single-purpose technique" (Delbecq, Group Techniques for Program Planning 81). Consequently, a nominal group is generally not able to address problems at

different scales of planning, and that, too, can be a weakness of the process. The response question or statement which is given to the nominal group members dictates the product sought and the level of planning for which it is sought. The scale of the participant responses cannot be controlled because the moderator is not allowed to demand consistency of scale (Voelker 29). Therefore, the question or statement for which responses are sought must be worded so that the participant product desired is in fact the one obtained.
Another weakness which could jeopardize the product of planning process is method of selecting participants (Anderson). Generally, the participants are either randomly selected or are invited by open invitation. The type of strategy used to obtain participants depends on the type of citizen participation product needed for the planning process. If a random selection of participants is desired, a problem may develop in obtaining a good attendance (Ryan). Some selected people may not be able to attend the meeting while others may not wish to do so. An open invitation, on the other hand, involves the problem of planning for an undetermined number of people. How many moderators must be trained, how big a facility is needed, and the accompanying logistics needed to accommodate the participants in order to achieve the desired product must also be determined (Ryan). Open meetings, because of their nature, will also attract people who have biases for or against the planning effort (Ryan).
A fifth weakness is that even though nominal groups may generate a large quantity of ideas and stimulate a high level of group satisfaction, the mechanics of the process cannot guarantee that the results will be accepted as any more valid than the results from any other process (Van de Ven, "The Comparative Effectiveness" 7). "Problem-oriented decision (obtained during the Process) have to be judged by both acceptability and quality. Organizational acceptance is based on

many variable on which quality is but one" (Delbecq, Group Techniques for Program
nine 79). The Nominal Group Process must be analyzed and used on the basis
of producing a needed product in a certain planning process and not as a panacea for obtaining needed citizen participation products in all NPS planning processes.
This description of the Nominal Group Process gives the reader operational guidelines for use of the Process. The NPS should consider this process for inclusion in a comprehensive citizen participation program specifically directed to urban and semiurban areas. Chapter 6 describes the Nominal Group Process as it was employed in a citizen participation forum to help develop the Cuyahoga Valley Urban National Recreation Area.

CHAPTER 6 A Case Study
A History of the Process in Urban and Semiurban Areas On October 27, 1972, a potent alliance of environmental and urban interest groups witnessed the creation of both Gateway National Recreation Area, in New York City, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in San Francisco. The Gateway Citizens Committee and the Regional Plan Association spearheaded the effort on the East Coast, while, on the West Coast, People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area marshaled its forces under the leadership of Amy Meyer and the Sierra Clubs Egdar Wayburn. As mentioned in the previous chapter, NPS efforts in citizen participation via the Nominal Group Process was not too successful. Efforts at Golden Gate were very successful because the planners allowed for enough time, money and most importantly, allowed the citizens to feel part of the planning process (Smith interview 6/86).
Equally important in the history of Golden Gate were the urban riots of 1968, that stirred a commitment in the area to provide recreation for the poor and minority groups. This commitment became reflected in innovative park programs to provide subsidized transportation from poor neighborhoods to the park and environmental education for school groups. In the planning of urban and semiurban parks to follow, namely Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Atlanta), Lowell National Historical Park (Boston), and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (Los Angeles), public participation programs became paramount in GMP preparation. The planners of many of these parks learned from the Cuyahoga
Valley National Recreation Area experience.

Cuvahoea Valiev National Recreation Area
This NRA was established in 1975. It is located along the scenic valley between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. The remains of successive American Indian, Moravian, trading, and other settlements as well as the old Ohio and Erie Canal add cultural and historical interest to the area. When the efforts of local citizenry to enlist state aid to protect the valleys rural character from suburban encroachment foundered, advocates turned to Congress. An area resident, Congressman John Seiberline (D-Ohio), was a member of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Congress authorized $34.5 million to acquire property within park boundaries, providing for both conventional fee purchase and scenic easements. Compatible local zoning was encouraged, rather than required, as a condition for allowing residents to remain. Unfortunately, a combination of circumstances, including park service opposition to the parks designation of an urban area, and misunderstanding of the parks objectives, aroused a good deal of local controversy in the initial planning stages. In 1976, a park social science team (S team) entered to mitigate the planning process, and instigated the Nominal Group Process to encourage overall cooperation between NPS planning team members and citizens groups. The process is detailed below.
Question Used to Solicit Participant Responses
The question chosen for soliciting responses from the citizens and elected officials was developed at a meeting held in Denver, Colorado at the Denver Service Center in September, 1976. The meeting was attended by social science experts, people that would train personnel who would conduct the meetings, and consultants from the original planning team.
The group wanted the question to be as simple and easy to understand as possible. They also wanted to elicit a wide range of responses. The question they

developed was: "What kind of a place should Cuyahoga Valley NRA be?" They also added that the moderator could suggest: "Answers may include ideas about specific events, experiences, activities, facilities, and services or more general consideration, goals, issues, and concerns." This question, according to the group leaders, was open-ended enough so as not to possibly bias or affect any of the responses and was not so narrow in scope that certain responses would not be given. According to one specialist, the question worked out "pretty well" in that it gave all participants an equal opportunity to respond to what each one thought the characteristics of their area should be. On the other hand, the question did not allow participant to respond directly to the issue of how coordinated guidelines for the NRA should be developed.
Selection of the Participants
The method used to select that participants was not difficult in this case. Citizens in the Cuyahoga Valley had organized themselves from the inception into the Cuyahoga Valley Communities Council. The Council was organized to provide a forum for local governments and park service representatives to discuss park issues of mutual interest. If this Council had not existed, planners could have used a random sampling technique from names in the telephone book to solicit names, or any number of other methods (Hornback interview 6/86).
Conduct of Participation Sessions
The Nominal Group Process was somewhat modified for this planning procedure so as to meet specific needs for development of the GMP. In addition, time constraints did not allow use of the full process and the procedure described in Chapter 4 was not stringently followed.

Briefly, the participation sessions were conducted as follows:
1. The participants were assembled and a brief introduction was given by the coordinator; the purpose of the meeting was explained and the question for which responses were sought was given to the participants; it was explained that responses were to be written in order of personal priorities and in silence.
2. The participants were divided into smaller groups of about six persons who were given a period of time (usually 10 to 15 minutes) to write their answers to the question described earlier in this chapter.
3. Members of each smaller group presented their responses to that group in a round-robin procedure; responses were recorded by the group leader on flip-charts so that each persons response to a certain priority was given equal weight.
4. After a short break, the whole group reassembled to discuss the items on all flip-charts; priorities were not condensed but were given as the participants had expressed them.
5. Each participant was requested to list nominally on 3 X 5 cards those items on the flip-charts which are considered most important by a rating of 1 to 10; the votes were collected, tabulated on the flip-charts, and the results shared with the group.
6. After another short break, all the votes had been tabulated; and the large meeting began again. All priorities were discussed; each priority was re-ranked by its summed tally; from these new ratings, a group consensus was obtained and this information shared with the group.
Analysis of Responses
The responses and priority rating of the participants were sent to the Denver Service Center of the NPS for analysis by other team members. For purposes of simplification, results from the process were grouped into societal categories.

A wide range of responses from the citizens and officials resulted from these meetings and many were surprising to the planners. Some participants expressed a need for land use controls, particularly the need for flood plain and wet land use controls. The control of inadequate and unneeded subdivisions of land was considered important. Considerable response, both pro and con, was expressed on the impact which large numbers of tourists have on local areas and the region as a whole.
Many responses concerned building new transportation arteries or upgrading existing roads. In this same context, mass transit was discussed as a possibility for certain areas of the region. A number of responses expressed a desire to disperse the tourist industry into areas of the region which lacked this industry.
The impact which the Park has on the region also aroused comment. Concern was expressed that the relationship between Park management and local governments was not as intimate as it should be and it was suggested that communication lines should become more open within the Council to facilitate trust and understanding. A priority list of responses from the meetings is given in Appendix B.
Even though the purpose of the whole planning process was to develop
guidelines for the area, recreation had an aggregate rank of only 10 out of a possible 15 on the regional priority list. The planners "went into the citizen participation meetings with blinders on to make a recreation plan and they came out with blinders on to make a recreation plan" (DSC planner interview 6/86). According to this unnamed source, "the evaluation (of the citizens responses by the planners) was rather superficial. the problem lies with the planners and not the citizens."
The responses used to develop the alternatives for development were obtained

from two sets of meetings; the first set was held in November and December of 1976. Two meetings were held in the area for the first round, one to discuss issue identification, and the other to discuss alternative opinions. These meetings were held to help with the Issue Analysis/Scoping, and Alternative Development Stages of the GMP.
The second set took place in May and June of 1976. The citizens and elected officials who had attended the previous set were invited and an open invitation was extended to the general public.
The second set of meetings occurred after a preliminary draft of the alternatives had been completed so that a basic outline could be presented. Comments and suggestions from citizens and the Council were recorded on flip-charts during these sessions. As stated earlier in this chapter, the Nominal Group Process was modified to meet the specific needs of this planning process. Participants at both rounds of meetings were given questionnaires in which they were asked to elucidate their attitudes toward the meetings. Composite answers from these questionnaires (shown in Appendix C) indicate that the participants viewed the meetings as "worthwhile and challenging, moderately fun, and minimally disorganized and confusing." In terms of satisfaction rankings, this places the meetings in the satisfactory to highly satisfactory category and indicates that the participants considered the meetings were successful. The participants were asked to evaluate the "worth of input" of individuals at the meetings. Generally, each person evaluated their own participation as having more worth than that of the individuals conducting the meetings and also of more worth than that of the other participants. This indicates that the participants felt individually satisfied with the experience and believed they had contributed valid, relevant information.

Inclusion of the Responses in the Cuvahoea NRA GMP
The responses of the Council generated at the first round of meetings were distributed to two planning workshop sessions.
The purpose of these workshops was to develop and draft the alternatives document for the Cuyahoga NRA. The first workshop in April lasted for a week. It was an intense planning session. Members of the planning team were divided into smaller workshop groups and brainstorming was used to list ideas and make recommendations. Members of the team rotated among the brainstorming sessions to obtain maximum use of each individuals expertise. The development of the alternatives was not completed at this first workshop session. A second workshop of three days, held in May, was not as intense as the first. It was here that the task of drafting the Alternatives Document was completed.
It took the coordination and cooperation of members of the planning team and the Valley Council to develop the alternatives. The participants represented federal, state, regional, and local units of governments, citizens organizations, and private business.
The planning team determined that there were five alternative strategies for the development of the Cuyahoga Valley. These alternatives were:
1. Pursue current policies and practices;
2. Maximize recreational development;
3. Minimize environmental deterioration;
4. Maximize economic growth, and
5. Balance economic growth and environmental quality.
Relying on the expertise of the planning team, a ranking system was developed to determine which of the alternatives would be the basis for development of the area. Alternative number five received the highest ranking and

so the planning team determined that a strategy of "balanced economic growth and environmental quality" would have the greatest positive impact on the Cuyahoga Valley. Despite this selection, the analytical process actually used by the planning team was heavily weighted toward the development of recreational activities and
facilities. This strategy was determined after the meetings in which the priorities of the Council were obtained from the first round of nominal group sessions. These participants did not have an opportunity to react to the development of recreational strategies for the region, the document reports "does not do a good job of saying to what extent the priorities were taken into account at the workshops." However, the planners from the team state that "The guidelines for development of the regions recreation potential. .were reached by addressing the identifies priority issues as closely as possible."
The aggregate regional priority list from the Council placed recreation in perspective in the peoples lives. This perspective led the planning team to realize that the development of the alternatives must be more than "saying that all area problems revolve around recreation or that solving the recreation problems will solve all other problems." Although the objective of the workshops was to develop area recreational guidelines, this recreational perspective was used to determine how recreational development could be the impetus for solving other problems which had a higher priority, such as better roads or more job opportunities. This controversial misunderstanding was clarified in the next round of meetings, and through a series of correspondences between the NPS and the Council members. (Coordinated Guidelines 1975)
The GMP was completed in 1977, and, according to Council members does reflect their original ideas for Cuyahoga NRA. The Council remains as the head forum for discussion on park matters. For example, the council has provided

information to area residents about federal tax credits for historic preservation and about federal payments in lieu of taxes to local governments.
The use of the Nominal Group Process to develop the GMP in the Cuyahoga Val ey was different from the traditional ways citizen participation is solicited by the NPS in the early urban areas. Process participant responses were generally very favorable, For this planning process, an effort to maintain a Valley Council was beneficial to the NPS decision-making processes.

Summary and Conclusions
This thesis is written in an attempt to give the reader general information about NPS planning and citizen participation in urban and semiurban areas. It eva uates processes of citizen participaction with the aid of a comparative matrix. The work focuses primarily on a particular citizen participation technique, the Nominal Group Process.
Chapter 1, which dwells on introductory material, explains the purpose of the study, limitations of the study, methodology and thesis organization. The chapter exp ains that there is no federal citizen participation process guideline or outline for the National Park Service.
Based on the responses from interviews and surveys, the chapter concludes that National Park Service planners at the Denver Service Center have problems in addressing the needs of diverse populations and agencies in the General Management Plans of urban and semiurban parks. It is proposed that standards of comparison for the representative types of citizen participation program used in these areas, would help planners to strategize a comprehensive program to meet participant demands.
Chapter 2 provides an extensive literature review of citizen participation, and also includes interview responses from National Park personnel directly involved in pub ic participation. These sources provide* information for a detailed history and description of the characteristics of urban and semiurban parks, NPS planning approaches, and the general planning problems which the agency encounters. The roles which citizen participation performs and the obstacles the agency encounters in obtaining this participation are also described.

From the textual analysis and interviews, it is concluded that there is a real need to overcome obstacles of public fears and doubts during the NPS planning process in urban and semiurban park areas. One of the keys to overcome these problems is to design more effective citizen participation programs.
Chapter 3 describes methods of data collection and data analysis used for the
thesis. Processes of literature review,^survey of 36 planners, each of whom was directly involved in the General Management Plan of a urban/semiurban park, and interviews of experts in public participation are discussed as techniques of data collection; statistical procedures, a comparative matrix and case studies are discussed as methods of data
Chapter 4 investigates various citizen participation processes, including the Nominal Group Process. A conceptual framework compares these processes in terms of their usefulness in promoting citizen participation in NPS planning. The matrix contains information to support an evaluation of traditional mass appeal approaches and small group approaches.
It is concluded that a comprehensive citizen participation program may contain a number of participation processes, and that the matrix is a valuable tool to help NPS planners strategize a program to help meet varied participant demands, provide openness and results throughout the planning process. On the basis of the matrix information derived from survey responses, interview comments and literature reviews, it is summarized that mass appeal approaches, such as open public hearings, surveys, and mass media responses rarely result in two-way communication forums and/or problem resolution. In contrast, small group approaches, including workshops, advisory committees, brainstorming, and the nominal group process frequently result in high participation interaction and satisfaction, enable consensus information, and often provide useable results for the problems at hand. The

Nominal Group Process is introduced as one of many possible techniques to be considered by a planning team for incorporation into a total citizen participation program.
Chapter 5 details the Nominal Group Process as developed by Andre Delbecq and Andrew Van de Ven. Uses of the Nominal Group Process and its strengths and weaknesses as a citizen participation forum in NPS planning are also described.
From this discussion and in reference to the matrix, it is concluded that the Nominal Group Process is as effective at soliciting citizen attitudes, feelings, and input as compared with other small group approaches described in this study. In addition, the matrix and literature review show that the ideas, priorities and decisions generated from the Nominal Group Process will have an equal or better chance of being implemented as compared to those generated during other citizen participation methods, such as advisory committees and workshops.
Chapter 6 examines the Nominal Group Process as it was utilized in a citizen participation forum called for the purpose of developing a General Management Plan for an urban park unit, Cuyahoga National Recreational Area.
It is concluded that although it has not been frequently used by the National Park Service, the Nominal Group Process can be effectively applied to NPS planning problems, concepts and projects in the areas of goal definition, priority setting, and decision-making throughout the planning process in urban and semiurban areas. Even though it is not a panacea, the Nominal Group Process should be considered more frequently by the NPS for inclusion in a total citizenn participation program directed towards urban and semiurban areas.

Recommendations Tor Future Research

As a result of this research, the author believes that there are several areas hich can be explored in depth. An in-depth study on the effectiveness of the techniques as evaluated in Chapter 4 should be done as they relate citizen groups nd management systems in existing parks. From this, a more comprehensive
rogram in the planning of citizen participation and general management of urban and semiuruau paii^s could be researched to aid future growth of the park service.
It is also recommended that the National Park Service formulate its own guidelines for public participation. The research would elaborate upon this study and investigate specific problems and opportunities within National Park planning and design public participation strategies for particular planning stages in rural and urban areas.

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The response to this survey will contribute to a masters thesis which will investigate the effect of public involvement programs on decisions in GMP's in urban and suburban parks." The objective is to discover the methods and purpose of public involvement programs that are used at various stages of the plannihg process in high population-density areas. Following the study will be a presentation of findings and collective decisions on preferred citizen participation techniques in planning of urban and suburban parks at the DSC.
Below ^re different planning stages requiring different public participation methods. Please review these levels and then answer the following questidns.
1.) Please describe the rationale behind the overall program choice in GMP preparation at
2.) ISS a. Was IF YES,
UE ANALYSIS AND SCOPING public involvement used in CONTINUE IF NO,
b. What was the typical group size for a typical exercise?
SMALL(25 or less) MEDIUM (26-100) LARGE (100+)
c. What was the cost at this stage (excluding staff salary)7
LOW ($200 or less) MEDIUM ($201-500) HIGH ($500+)
d. Were public participation "specialists" necessary at this stage?

e. What was the time requirement of this program at this stage?
LOW (8 hours or less) MEDIUM (2-7 days) HIGH (7 days or more)
f. Did the participants reach a consensus at this stage? Describe the degree of participant cooperation
g. To what degree did the process facilitate participant interaction?
h. To what degree did the process consider multiple oroblems? (i.e. transportion, employment opportunities, etc...)
i. Was this process successful in achieving usuable results for the next
stage? YES NO
a. Was! public involvement used in this stasre? YES NO IF YES, CONTINUE IF NO, PLEASE COMMENT
b. What was the typical group size for a typical exercise?
SMALL (25 or less) MEDIUM (26-100) LARGE (100+)
c. What was the cost at this stage (excluding staff salary)?
LOW ($200 or less) MEDIUM ($201-500) HIGH ($500+)
d. Werb public participation "specialists" necessary at this stage?
e. What was the time requirement of the program at this stage?
LOW (8 hours or less) MEDIUM (2-7 days) HIGH (7 days or more)
f. Did the participants reach a consensus7 YES NO
Describe the degree of participant cooperation LOW MEDIUM HIGH
g. To what degree did the process facilitate participant interaction7
h. To; what degree did the process consider multiple problem? (i.e. transportation, employment opportunities, etc...)

i. Was this process successful in achieving usable results for the next stage? YES NO
a. Was IF YES
b. What
public involvement used in this stage? YES NO
was the typical group size for a typical exercise?
SMALL (25 or less)
MEDIUM (26-100)
LARGE (100+)
c. What LOW
d. Were
e. What LOW
($200 or less) MEDIUM ($201-500)
public participation "specialists" necessary at this stage?
was the time requirement of this program at this stage?
(8 hours or less) MEDIUM (2-7 days) HIGH (7 days or more)
i. Was
was the cost at this stage (excluding staff salary)?
HIGH ($^00+)
f. D|d the participants reach a consensus? YES
Describe the degree of participant cooperation LOW MEDIUM
g. To what degree did the process facilitate participant interaction?
h. To what degree did the process consider multiple problems? (i.e. transportation, employment opportunities, etc...)
:his process successful in achieving usable results for the next
a. Was public involvement used in this stage? YES NO

b. What was the typical group size for a typical exercise7 SMALL (25 or less) MEDIUM (26-100) LARGE (100+)
c. What LOW
was the cost at this stage (excluding staff salary)? ($200 or less) MEDIUM ($201-500) HIGH ($500+)
Were public participation "specialists" necessary at this stage? YES NO
e. What was the time requirement of this program at this stage?
LOW (8 hours or less) MEDIUM (2-7 days) HIGH (7 days or more)
f. Did : the participants reach a consensus? YES NO
Describe the degree of participant cooperation LOW MEDIUM HIGH
g. To what degree did the process facilitate participant interaction?
h. To what degree did the process consider multiple problems7 (i.e. transportation, employment opportunities, etc...)
i. Was this process successful in achieving usable results for the next stage? YES NO
a. Was public involvement used in this stage?
b. What was the typical group size for a typical exercise? SMALL (25 or less) MEDIUM (26-100) LARGE (100+)
was the cost at this stage (excluding staff salary)? ($200 or less) MEDIUM ($201-500) HIGH ($500+)
d. Were public participation "specialists" necessary at this stage7
e. What: was the time requirement of this program at this stage?
LOW (8 hours or less) MEDIUM (2-7 days) HIGH (7 days or more)
f. Did the participants reach a consensus? YES NO
Describe the degree of participant cooperation LOW MEDIUM HIGH

g. To what degree did the process facilitate participant interaction9
h. To what degree did the process consider multiple problems? (i.e. transportation, employment opportunities, etc...)
Was this process successful in achieving usable results for the next stage of implementation? YES NO


1. Better Roads and Travel.
2. More Doctors and Medical Facilities.
3. More Industry and Jobs.
4. Better Educations and Facilities.
5. Begin Zoning.
6. Abate Pollution of Streams and Lakes.
7. Adequate Water and Sewage Systems.
8. Better Waste and Trash Disposal.
9. More Planning (Regional).
10. More Recreation and Facilities.
11. Better Waste and Trash Disposal.
12. Improved Relationship Between Park Service and Counties.
13. Better Law Enforcement.
14. Better Health and Welfare Services.
15. Solve Park Lands and Monetary Problems.
Adapted from Coordinated Guidelines from Recreation Resource Use in the Cuvahoea National Recreation Area. June 1975.
*Combined list elected officials and citizens.


cribe Sessions as:
thwhile Challenging Fun
Total Responses: 138
Figure 4. Evaluation of Sessions.
Worth of Input:
By Others By Organizers
By Self
Figure 5. Worth of Input.
Mean Score (Scale 1-10)
3.9 3.7
Mean Score (Scale 1-5)
Regional Planning Agenda," p. 11.