Public Participation

Conceptually similar to 'stakeholder engagement,' public participation is the mechanism by which citizens (and sometimes, also more generally 'residents') of a territory can be engaged in decisionmaking processes (OECD 2001; Brodie et al, 2010). Whereas stakeholder engagement may well refer to entities that are not only individuals, public participation often refers specifically to the way in which individuals can be brought into the processes surrounding policymaking (Barnes et al, 2007). This can be through various mechanisms and tools, notably voting, consultation, and support for monitoring of policies. Many public institutions across the world have been engaged in debates around how public participation is evolving due to various societal and technological transformations (e.g. European Commission, 2005; Shahin et al, 2009).


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2001), Citizens as Partners. (J. Caddy & C. Vergez, Eds.), pp. 1–253

Brodie, E., Cowling, E., Nissen, N., Ellis Paine, A., Jochum, V., and Warburton, D. (2010), Understanding participation, pp. 1–50

Barnes, M., Newman, J., and Sullivan, H. (2007), Power, Participation and Political Renewal: Case Studies in Public Participation, Policy Press.

Shahin, J., Soebech, O., & Millard, J. (2009), Participation in the European Project: How to mobilise citizens at the local, regional, national, and European levels (No. QG-31-09-153-EN-C). Committee of the Regions, pp. 1–185

Brussels: Committee of the Regions, doi:10.2863/14653 European Commission. (2005), The Commission’s contribution to the period of reflection and beyond: Plan-D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate (COM(2005) 494 final), pp. 1–12, Brussels: European Commission.

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