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Sharing contested space : participation in the planning of UBC’s University Boulevard area Whitelaw, Peter 2004

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Sharing Contested Space: Participation i n the Planning of U B C ' s University Boulevard Area •  .  by  Peter Whitelaw B.Sc, The University of British Columbia, 1994  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF • • T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E DEGREE OF Master?; of Science (Planning) in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (School of Community and Regional Planning) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A April 2004 © Peter Whitelaw, 2004  !  Library Authorization  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes'may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Name of Author  D e  9  r e e :  :  (please  print)  /y-/r 5^S^^ f  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC Canada  Date (dd/mm/yyyy)  Year:  ABSTRACT Rooted in democracy, the field of public participation has a long history and continues to evolve. In- the last fifty years, a huge number of approaches have been created to involve the interested community in decision making. Most recently, contingent strategies and deliberative techniques have drawn theattention of practitioners; so too has the systematic evaluation of participatory processes. The goal of this thesis is to take advantage of these recent developments by building and testing an evaluation framework for public participation that is principled, robust, and responsive to different points of view. A comprehensive, contingent evaluative framework is developed based on recent community involvement literature and applied to the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process at the University of British Columbia (UBC). For each criterion in the framework, data was collected from interviews, documents, media reports, and participant observation, and triangulated to maximize objectivity. Combining the results for each criterion led to broader conclusions, recommendations for UBC, and lessons for evaluators. Overall, U B C staff responsible for the consultation process with the community put many of the right elements in place: the process was representative, inclusive,, and informative, and was flexible when challenged. However, staff lacked commitment to adopted planning policy and faced time pressure, encouraging them to limit the influence of the community in order to obtain approval quickly. The evaluation of implementation showed that the process was not a credible attempt to involve community members in making planning decisions, and highlighted significant issues with governance of planning at U B C . At the end of the day, the process was only marginally successful, failing to meet many internal goals and meeting few broader social goals despite the eventual approval of a plan for the area. U B C should give the interested community more influence, and •enhance accountability, transparency and objectivity if they are to improve results from planning ^ processes. Overall, the evaluation framework was appropriate to the case study and could be applied elsewhere. Evaluators should be aware of constraints from resources, timing, and access to infonnation in applying the model, and should develop a clearer understanding of the links between contextual factors and process characteristics i f they are to improve on this method.  u  Executive Summary Background Idealism and pragmatism are two defining characteristics of planners, who must constantly balance them in reaching for a better future in a political world. The evaluation of public participation in planning decisions is a good example of this balance. The very concept of public participation is contested, with'a wide range of philosophies competing to define it. In order to be useful, an evaluation of participation must make a comparison with an ideal. At the same time it must be practical, responding to the situation at hand and to differences of opinion, i f it is to be widely accepted as a fair and objective assessment. Rooted in the great democratic experiment, the field of public participation has a long history and continues to evolve. In the last fifty years, a huge number of techniques and strategies have been created to involve interested members of the public in decision making. Most recently, contingent strategies and deliberative techniques have drawn the attention of practitioners. So too has the systematic evaluation of participatory processes. The goal of this thesis is to take advantage of these recent developments by building and testing an evaluation framework for public participation that is principled, robust, and responsive to different points of view.  The University Boulevard Case Study Since the mid-I980's, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has been developing parts of campus for residential and other "Non-Institutional" uses. As a result of opposition from the public and the neighbouring municipality of Vancouver, the Greater Vancouver Regional District ( G V R D ) produced an Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw for the U B C area in 1997. U B C and the G V R D also agreed on requirements for planning processes at a more detailed neighbourhood scale in a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), most recently in 2000. Following the O C P , U B C produced a Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) that incorporates some neighbourhood-scale planning and campus-wide-infrastructure planning. Planning for neighbourhoods is being completed by U B C in the form of "Neighbourhood Plans," with one for each of 8 areas defined in the O C P . University Boulevard is one such "Neighbourhood." It is a 3 hectare area located at the social center of campus, and is bordered by a student athletic/recreational/social area, the biomedical precinct, and the science precinct (Figure ES-I). The Student Union Building and bus loop, located there, are important draws for people from across campus. As such, the space represented by University Boulevard is used and  Figure ES-I: University Boulevard  valued by a tremendous variety of people: it is truly a shared space, and one whose future is also contested by its various users. The community was consulted on Draft #2 of the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan (UBNP) in spring 2003, offering a great case study for the thesis to test evaluation of participation' and to help the U B C staff improve their planning practice. Planning for University Boulevard began in December 2000 and ended in October 2003, going through three major phases, each of which culminated in the production of a Draft Plan (Figure ES-2). The Draft #2 process had two' important sub-phases, of which the first was primarily internal work by U B C staff and the second was the public participation process. The timeline for the entire planning process is shown below; the case study is focused on public involvement in the production and review of Draft #2, marked . as a shaded-area on the timeline. Because the case study is the middle part of a larger overall process, the investigation considers the planning process to be on-going: the process for Draft #1 is considered as part of the context and the process for Draft #3 as an outcome.  Planning Phase Draft Plan #1 • Draft Plan #2 University Boulevard Committee Report Draft Plan #2 l Draft Plan #3  2001 A J  J  O  J  2002 A J  O  J  2003 A -K  o  Billy  •11111111!  Figure ES-2: University Boulevard Timeline  The Research Project: Design and Methods This research considers two questions: • "To what degree was public participation in the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process successful, and why?" 'and • "What lessons does this research teach us about evaluation of public participation?" T o answer them, a comprehensive, contingent evaluative framework is developed based on a review of the public involvement literature. This framework was applied to the U B N P process through the collection and analysis of data from interviews, participant observation, media review and document review. The research follows the "Guiding Principles for Evaluators"of the American Evaluators Association. Ethical research practices were used throughout, and care was taken to ensure objectivity, including selection of a broad range of interviewees and the use of data triangulation. Information collected in the research is applied in three ways: to construct an accurate history of the process, to refine contingent criteria, and to evaluate the process against the refined set of criteria. In this way, the study describes the process, then analyzes its three components: process design, implementation, and outcomes.  Results A conceptual model of public participation in decision-making is developed^ased on the literature. It describes three inter-related elements of public participation: Context, Process, and  iv  Outcomes (Figure ES-3),which structure the presentation o f the study's major findings in three corresponding sections. Context  ' process responds to context'  Community  n  / ' ,V .  IJecision — Institution  "7T  Process Strategic response  ^strong influence oi^outcome!  Participation occurs in an overall group decision-making framework  Outcome  Characteristics:.  impacts on  •  representativeness  decision quality  •  access and competence  •  interplay of reason and power  impacts on  -  community  weak influence:: on outcome  Figure ES-3: Conceptual M o d e l o f Public Participation i n Decision-Making  Context Planning at U B C is unusual in that the municipal government — in this case the G V R D — has developed an O C P but has not developed local area plans or land-use bylaws; rather, i t has agreed through M o U s that U B C will produce neighbourhood plans through a mutually acceptable process. In their M o U s , U B C and the G V R D have agreed that the G V R D ' s role will be to review the O C P regularly and .to approve Neighbourhood Plans i f they are consistent with the O C P , while U B C ' s role is to conduct the planning process and approve plans subject to consistency as understood by the G V R D . U B C has a much greater role in conducting and governing Neighbourhood Planning than does the G V R D . The contextual factors are summarized as they were following the production o f the University Boulevard Committee's report in A p r i l 2002. A t the time, the following factors were important to the planning process: 1.  a requirement that the U B N P be consistent with the O C P and with C C P principles and overall density allocations; , . 2. a requirement that the process had to comply with tKe 2000 M o U . with the G V R D ; 3. an enormous planning scope, equivalent to zoning, subdivision, and public realm and building design guidelines combined, indicating the need for more public influence and a more inclusive process, commensurate with the potential impacts on the community; 4. 5. 6.  a part o f campus that was o f central importance to many people, indicating a need for a broadly inclusive process that could resolve conflicts among competing interests; a long history o f community mistrust, indicating the need for significant community influence over outcomes; adopted policy — A Legacy and a Promise: Principles for Physical Planning at UBC— that committed to collaborative planning and therefore to providing significant public influence;  7. a history o f presenting a single draft option to the public at any given time, limiting public influence to refining each one; , '  8.  public concerns with Draft #1 and more significant concerns with the University Boulevard Committee's recommendations, indicating strong potential for public opposition and controversy; and  9.  pressure to develop the Dentistry building and transit loop quickly, indicating the need for an expeditious process.  T h e major results o f the context evaluation in the thesis are that the evaluation should consider whether the process was broadly inclusive and i f the community had significant influence over the outcomes. It also highlights a conflict between the need for inclusiveness and public influence on one hand, and time pressures and U B C ' s history o f planning practice on the other.  Process Based on the interviews conducted with responsible administrative staff and the review o f available documents, it is evident that U B C staff assumed that the public was satisfied with previous processes and decisions and thought that University Boulevard proposals were improvements. Therefore, anticipating public acceptance, their strategy was to prepare a draft plan internally and then present it to a broad cross-section o f the. community for approval. Table E S - I summarizes U B C ' s objectives and the activities they implemented to achieve them. Activities  Objective Meet G V R D requirements.  Incorporate the M o U ' s requirements into the process.  Be inclusive.  Conduct a large number o f accessible meetings between February and A p r i l .  Inform the' public.  ,  ;  Use a website and provide Draft Plan Diagrams and a Discussion Guide to the public.  Obtain and document feedback from the  Develop and use a Feedback  Form  public.  Produce a Consultation Report to summarize feedback.  Obtain Board o f Governors approval in M a y . Schedule the process i n time to report feedback to the Board i n M a y . Promote and defend the Draft Plan.  Obtain public acceptance.  Table E S - I : U B C Strategy for the Public Process  Evaluation of the Strategy Four elements o f the strategy were critical to the eventual success or failure o f the process. These are summarized in the left-hand column o f Table ES-2. T o the right o f each strategic-element is a ' statement (or statements) that summarizes its evaluation; the symbol ( ^ ) indicates a positive evaluation, (~)'a mixed result, and ( ) a negative ^valuation. T h i s convention is used throughout x  the Results section.  i  '  Strategy  Make information readily available.  V  Evaluation  Likely to enhance the public's ability to respond meaningfully.  Maximize the number o f participants.  ~  C o u l d be seen as a response to calls for improved planning process. However, given known public concerns over the proposals, it was likely to produce significant opposition.  M i n i m i z e public influence by limiting their role to reviewing a completed plan.  *  Likely to worsen the existing atmosphere o f distrust.  *  D i d not match internal policy.  T i m e the process to culminate in Board o f  *  Governors approval in M a y .  Likely to worsen the existing atmosphere o f distrust, given that incorporation o f public input was not possible on this schedule.  Table ES-2: Evaluation o f Strategy  Evaluation of the Implementation T h e characteristics o f the M a r c h process are evaluated against criteria that fall into three categories: representation, information, and procedures. Table ES-3 summarizes the evaluation with a statement for each criterion. Evaluation  Category Representation,  V  Participant selection was fair.  V  T h e process was inclusive.  V  t  •  _  W i t h the exception o f undergraduate students, participant composition was representative o f community composition.  ~  Although meeting signage was poor and advertising uninspired, events were quite accessible.  Information  V  W r i t t e n information was accessible and readable.  V  Participants were assisted in understanding graphics at open houses. T h i s was critical to their understanding in some cases.  ~  Although individual communications materials did not stand alone, together they formed a complete package.  *  W r i t t e n communications contained biases a n d / o r omissions, in particular the Feedback Form and the Executive Summary o f the Consultation  Report.  Verbal communications were also biased, often having a promotional or defensive tone.  Vll  Evaluation  Category Procedural Rules  ^  T h e process was flexible when challenged, permitting the extension o f the process beyond the original approval date.  ~-  T h e process incorporated two-way communication, but it was not o f an interactive nature, and both participants and staff were sometimes disrespectful.  *  U B C was unclear and sometimes inaccurate i n its communications about scope and constraints.  *  T h e process was poorly transparent: reporting was biased and incomplete, and reasons for decisions were not communicated by staff.  x  T h e process lacked accountability, except for the attendance at the public meeting o f the Chair o f the Board o f Governors.  Table ES-3: Evaluation o f Implementation  Key Findings  Looking at the evaluation o f the U B N P process as a whole, U B C staff put many o f the right elements in place for a successful consultation process, including identifying an appropriate set o f public events and-selecting potentially useful communications tools. However, their strategy failed' to respond to key contextual factors, leading to loss o f community trust, significant opposition, and a need to extend their timeline and revise the plan. T h i s analysis o f the process identifies two overarching issues: credibility and governance. T h e credibility o f the process was first raised as ari issue because o f the bias o f U B C ' s communications. T h e Feedback F o r m was particularly aggravating to respondents, one o f whom was quoted in the Consultation Report. " Y o u might as well.ask i f people like apple pie or not." T w o issues with scope and constraints further weakened the University's credibility: ( I ) U B C insisted that plans comply with the C C P , although that did not reflect actual constraints, and (2) despite the fact that U B C ' s plan did not comply with the O C P , staff insisted that public input had to. Finally, the inadequate time planned for incorporation o f public input confirmed that the process was not a credible attempt to involve the public i n making decisions about University Boulevard. Rather, as a member o f the administration put it, it was an attempt "to sell our vision in the broadest conceptual terms." Governance issues are related to the links between decision-makers, administration, and the public. First, decision-makers were not accountable to the community because there was virtually no formal public access to them, either during the process or at Board o f Governors meetings. Second, the administration's documentation o f feedback was biased, overstating support for the plan and emphasizing public incapacity to contribute meaningfully. F o r example, where the Executive Summary o f the Consultation Report said that "there was a clear indication o f support for the overall vision," other sources said much the opposite, for example "opposition to the University Boulevard idea is fierce." Staff also failed to communicate rationales for decisions to the public; Communications to the Board o f Governors were similarly biased; in fact, the administration presented less information to the Board than they made available publicly. Because  vm  the process was poorly transparent, the accountability o f the administration to the Board and the public as well as the Board's accountability to the public were weakened. T h e governance o f the process was poor.  - •  .  Outcomes Outcomes are evaluated based on a review o f media articles and U B C documents, personal observations, and interviews. T h e evaluation o f outcomes is limited 'because the evaluation took place immediately after the process when some outcomes are difficult to measure. T w o types o f outcomes are considered: U B C ' s internal goals and broadly accepted "social goals." Table E S - 4 shows that U B C achieved only half o f its internal goals. Internal  Evaluation  Goal  Implement planned activities  V  Staff implemented all planned activities.  Meet G V R D requirements  V  T h e process exceeded G V R D requirements.  Obtain public acceptance o f Draft * #2  Obtain approval in M a y 2003  *  T h e public opposed most key elements o f the proposal, including market housing, residential towers, and opening University Boulevard to traffic. T h e y had concerns with the p o o l relocation, the underground bus loop, and commercialization. Approval was not obtained for this plan; a revised plan was not \ approved until October 2003.  Table ES-4: Evaluation Against Internal Goals Similarly, evaluation o f U B C ' s achievement o f social goals shows only partial success. However,' it also provides useful insights. T h e evaluation is summarized in Table E S - 5 . Social  Evaluation  Goal  Educate and inform the public.  ~  T h e community was educated only about topics U B C communicated about, for example, they knew nothing o f the financial implications o f proposals because U B C said nothing about them.  Incorporate public input and  "  ~ • W h i l e plan revisions incorporated public input, they reflected the  values.  values o f the decision-makers and the authors o f the revised plan more than those o f the public.  (  Improve decision quality.  ~  Although decision quality was difficult to measure, the new plan appeared to reflect compromises rather than improvements. F o r example, density was reduced, reducing financial returns; the opportunity to explore different forms o f higher density was  v  missed.  IX  Evaluation  Social Goal Enhance trust of the sponsoring institution.  X  The process did not reduce the community's long-standing mistrust of U B C , but may instead have increased their cynicism, despite changes made to the plan.  Table ES-5: Evaluation Against Social Goals Overall, U B C was only partially successful in achieving internal and social goals.  Conclusion This research considers the degree of success of the University Boulevard planning process, recommendations" for improved planning processes at UBC, and broader lessons about the evaluation of public participation in planning. Each of these is addressed in turn to conclude the Executive Summary. U n i v e r s i t y Boulevard: Success or Failure?  On examination, it appears that U B C staff lacked commitment to adopted planning policy, and may have had concerns with the sharing of decision-making power required in a collaborative setting. Time pressures particular to the Draft #2 process probably exacerbated those dispositions, encouraging staff to limit public influence in order to obtain approval quickly. As a result, public involvement was limited to commenting at the last minute on a completed draft plan. Timing and biased communications were key in finding that the process was not a credible attempt to involve the public in decision-making. Furthermore, it was poorly governed, making it difficult to hold U B C to account for their lack of commitment. The outcomes of the process reflected the inappropriateness of UBC's strategy and the issues with its implementation. While the plan was approved by the Board of Governors, it was significantly delayed; in eliminating the most contentious issues, it eliminated some potentially positive features; while it responded to community input, it failed to reflect important community values; and it failed to reduce the community's distrust of U B C . In answer to the first research question, the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process was only marginally successful despite the plan's eventual approval. Recommendations for U B C  \ .  This evaluation indicates how U B C might improve the way in which it involves the public in planning-related decision-making. It is not a matter of making minor adjustments to the process it has used to date, however. U B C needs to change its approach to public involvement as a whole i f it is to deal with the issues it faces. In keeping with the themes from the evaluation, recommendations are split into five categories: governance, credibility and relationships, efficiency, and decision quality. . . . Governance  Recommendation I. Adopt planning processes that improve the accountability of governing bodies.  x  Recommendation 2. Improve the accountability of staff by requiring Board approval of the design of all planning processes. Recommendation 3 . Ensure that communications with the public and the Board of Governors are completely transparent in that they are accurate and include documentation of feedback, decisions made, and rationales for decisions. Recommendation 4. Compile and adopt progressive principles and associated techniques for good planning process into a succinct policy statement tb guide process design and implementation. Recommendation 5. Evaluate participatory planning processes on a continuing basis by building assessment into the process. Recommendation 6. T o enhance the credibility of the process, use independent facilitators, especially for significant events.  Credibility and Relationships  i  Recommendation 7. Use a collaborative planning process for future neighbourhood planning to reduce mistrust. Recommendation 8. Design planning processes on the assumption that public input will result in changes to draft plans; only if the public as a whole accepts the plan should it be forwarded into the approvals process. Recommendation 9. Clarify the goals, scope and constraints on the planning process as the first step in developing the decision-making strategy.. Communicate these clearlyto the public. Recommendation 10. Ensure that all documents used in the process, including drawings and text, are unbiased and easy for the lay-public to understand.  Decision Quality Recommendation II. Recognize and incorporate the knowledge and expertise provided by the public. In particular, design processes to engage UBC's extraordinary academic expertise.  Efficiency Recommendation 12. Structure decision-making processes to facilitate the discussion of options, trade-offs and implications in order to make it easier to improve plan quality.  Lessons for Evaluators While these practical recommendations are important, this research is an opportunity to inquire about evaluation of participatory decision-making processes in general, reflected in the second research question. This project adopts a context-process-outcome model of participatory decisionmaking, and applies a contingent evaluation framework within it. Overall, the approach is successful in that it provides an understanding of a comprehensive set of factors while minimizing philosophical bias. It also provides insights into relationships between context, process and  xi  outcome. A t the same time, however, it highlights the need to better understand these relationships, especially those between context and process. Practically, the evaluation was time-consuming, so replicating the method may not always be practical. O n the. other hand, the number o f interviewees was relatively small, and it is not clear that their opinions mirror those o f the entire community despite efforts to be representative. Access to internal information was also limited, which limited the ability to draw conclusions about rationales and strategies. Finally, it was done immediately following the end o f the process, so some outcomes could not be evaluated, illustrating the point that practitioners must recognize the constraints timing places on evaluations. These weaknesses and other suggestions are addressed through the lessons for evaluators listed below. Lesson I. A d o p t best practices o f qualitative research and evaluation to minimize bias, but recognize that the evaluation will remain subjective and that its value lies in its meaning and utility. Lesson 2. Survey participants about criteria in the evaluation framework to complement richer interview data, to identify and minimize potential bias, and/or to reduce the amount o f resources required to use the evaluation framework. Lesson 3 . Evaluate participation processes as part o f broader decision-making and governance processes. In considering the participatory portion alone, it may not be possible to identify the appropriate evaluation criteria, or to evaluate them effectively. Lesson 4 . Carefully analyze documents that address contextual factors and rationales for process design decisions, and focus a section o f interviews with process designers on context and process design;  .  Lesson 5. T o ensure that complete and accurate information is made available about process design and strategy, either work with internal stakeholders to reduce their concerns over release o f information to the evaluation, or obtain enough power from the evaluation sponsor to gain access to the information.  .  '  Lesson 6. A d o p t a systematic evaluation approach based on the context-process-outcome conceptual model. Lesson 7. M a t c h expectations for results to the type o f evaluation being conducted.  A Personal Addendum A t the time o f writing, a collaborative planning process is underway for South Campus, and — at this early stage — offers hope for much improved processes.' A t the same time, U B C continues to resist improvements to the governance o f Non InstiCutional r  planning such as University Boulevard,  which raises the concern that the South Campus experiment will not be carried on. It is my hope that this thesis will provide an opportunity for the improvement o f both governance and implementation o f planning processes at U B C . As many colleges and universities are aware, it is • no easy task to manage the "town-gown" relationship. I believe that following the •recommendations I have made here will benefit both the community and U B C , offering an  xu  opportunity to achieve truly excellent processes and plans, to rebuild strained relationships, and to build UBC's endowment and a'sustainable, vital University community.  xm  Table of Contents  ABSTRACT...:  ii  Executive S u m m a r y  iii  Background  .-  ui  T h e U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d Case S t u d y  ;  .iii  T h e R e s e a r c h Project: D e s i g n a n d M e t h o d s  iv  Results....  '.  Conclusion  iv  ,  x  A Personal A d d e n d u m  xii  Table o f Contents  xiv  L i s t o f Figures a n d T a b l e s  .'.  xvi  Acknowledgements  .'.xvii  1  P A R T I: I n t r o d u c t i o n a n d C o n c e p t u a l B a c k g r o u n d Chapter I: Starting Points  :  .'  I  :  2  1.1  Background  2  1.2  Research P r o b l e m , Questions and Justification  3  1.3  Research D e s i g n and M e t h o d s  1.4  Thesis Outline  .'.  :  3  .-  4  Chapter 2: A Review o f P u b l i c Involvement 2.1  6  History  2.2  Description  2.3  Summary  6 ]  11 38  P A R T II: S t u d y i n g the U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d Case  40  C h a p t e r 3: R e s e a r c h M e t h o d s  41  3.1  Research Questions  41  3.2  Scope  3.3  Critical Assumptions  3.4  T y p e o f Research  43  3.5  E v a l u a t i o n Strategy  43  3.6  Summary  58  ,  42 .  J  C h a p t e r 4: A n I n t r o d u c t i o n to the U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d Case S t u d y  42  59.  4.1  Introduction  4.2  The N e i g h b o u r h o o d  4.3  T h e Process a n d the P l a n s  62  4.4  Summary  64  C h a p t e r 5: C o n t e x t  ;  59 :  .-  62  65  xiv  5.1 5.2  Community Context Institutional Context  ;  :  65 67  5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6  Decision Context •• Relationships Between Contextual Elements T h e Draft #1 Planning Process Summary ,  72 80 86 88  ......r.  Chapter 6: T h e Draft # 2 Process 6.1 Internal Developments: Fall 2001 to W i n t e r 2002 6.2  92 92  Plan Development and Consultation: W i n t e r 2 0 0 2 to Spring 2 0 0 3  Chapter 7: Outcomes • 7.1 O v e r v i e w o f the Draft Plan #3 Process 7.2  97 :..  139 139  Evaluation  140  P A R T III: Conclusions  .'  149  Chapter 8: Conclusion  150  ;  8.1 T h e Research Methods  150  8.2 Research Results  151  8.3 Recommendations for U B C  156 ~  8.4 Broader Implications  157  8.5 Conclusion  ;  160  Bibliography..... References Cited References N o t Cited  •  !  Appendix A : Discussion  •.  .'  Guide  162 162 168 170-  Appendix B: Draft Plan Diagrams  ;  180  Appendix C : Feedback Form  188  Appendix D : Executive Summary o f the Consultation Report  190  Appendix E : Sample Advertisement  192  Appendix F: Interview Forms...  193  ;  Appendix G : M u n i c i p a l Neighbourhood Planning Processes i n B C  xv  198  List of Figures and Tables Box I: June 2001 Plan Elements  ..88  Box 2: University Boulevard Committee Recommendations • Box 3: M a r c h 2003 Plan Elements ..; Box 4: Documented Consultation Objectives  93 ;  100 101  Box 5: Text from Display Board T i t l e d "Introduction — Recommended Plan Revisions" Box 6: June Discussion Guide Section on Changes from the M a r c h Draft Plan Box 7: June 2003 Plan Elements  129 129 139  Figure I: A Preliminary Conceptual M o d e l o f Participatory Decision-Making Processes  13  Figure 2: Contextual Factors Figure 3: Conceptual Framework — W i t h Contextual Factors  15 16  ,  Figure 4: The Effective Decision M o d e l Figure 5: Conceptual Framework — W i t h Process Factors-  .'  Figure 6: Conceptual Framework — Refined  33  Figure 7: U B C Planning Areas Figure 8: Oblique Aerial Photo o f University Boulevard and Area  60 62  Figure 9: University Boulevard Planning Timeline Figure 10: Community Composition Figure I I : U B C Governance Structure  •  63 65 68  Figure 12: Relationship o f U B C Units Responsible for Planning and Development Figure 13: Relationships Between Planning Areas Figure Figure Figure Figure  14: 15: 16: 17:  23 .30  70 74  O C P Land-Use Plan Plan Hierarchy and Relationship Neighbourhood Planning Process University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning Process M a r c h 2003..  \  76 80 84 99  Figure 18: Community Meeting Layout  107  Figure 19: Pattern o f Public Influence in Decision-Making for University Boulevard  Ill  Figure 20: Comparison o f Participant and Community Composition  115  Table I: Objectives for an Urban Design Project  '.  22  Table 2: Initial Evaluation Framework  46  Table 3: Evaluation Framework  •  Table 4: Potential Data Sources for Evaluation Criteria Table 5: Participant Characteristics  51 53 54  Table 6: Participant Trust Levels  148  xvi  Acknowledgements In retrospect, the writing of this thesis began long before the project began to take shape. In fact, my interest in the area and my approach to research are rooted in the principles and values ingrained in me by my parents, to whom I am deeply grateful for their love, support and direction. More recently — and I suppose practically — I appreciate the love, support, sense of humour, and enduring patience of my wife Helen in supporting my academic pursuits and in particular in allowing me to explore the implementation of my planning ideals over the last year. This project would not have been as fun, nor as exciting, without the abiding interest and enthusiasm of Professor Tony Dorcey, not to mention his extraordinary ability to be at once critical and unequivocally supportive of my work. As the end drew near, the thoughtful comments and critiques of Professor Leonie Sandercock also helped to refine and clarify the thesis. 1  In a qualitative research project such as this one, those who provided information are indispensable. In that spirit, I would like to thank those who agreed to be interviewed about the University Boulevard process: I enjoyed each of the interviews and learned a great deal from each one. Similarly, other participants in this process — both community members and U B C staff — made the planning process what it was and provided valuable information for the thesis. In the last twelve months, I spoke to no one who did not care about the success of the University's eventual development. . , Members of the S C A R P University Town class must be thanked; especially Norm, whose clear thinking, self-assurance and commitment to principles were a constant inspiration. Other individuals also had significant roles: Susan Milley, who took on a design charrette with me on a moment's notice; the many students who were involved in the design charrette and the preparation . of the drawings for presentation; Laura Best, whose leadership, integrity and sense of fun gave an incredible energy to our conversations; community members on the G V R D / U B C workshop committee... I could go on. Suffice it to say that the list of people to thank is long and that I am grateful to each of you for the large and small ways i n which you. have enhanced my work.  xvii  PART I: Introduction and Conceptual Background  i  J  Chapter 1: Starting Points 1.1  Background  In 1922, the University of British Columbia (UBC) was given a large property on the Point Grey peninsula west of Vancouver for two purposes: to build a university, and to provide endowment income to support its mission. U B C developed institutional buildings on its campus, and developed part of the land immediately east of its main gates into what is now known as the University Endowment Lands neighbourhood. From the I950's to the late I980's, UBC's development was limited to institutional buildings, student residences, and a research park. Faced with funding constraints, U B C established U B C Real Estate Corporation in 1988 to once more take advantage of its property endowment. The new corporation planned and initiated development at Hampton Place without consultation with surrounding government bodies or the community about its impacts. As a result of the objections raised, U B C and the Greater Vancouver Regional District ( G V R D ) negotiated the adoption of a municipal-style planning process. The G V R D initiated the planning process by developing and approving an Official Community Plan (OCP) in 1997, which defined where non-institutional development could occur and what policies applied to university development. The University was responsible for local area planning, and initiated the Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) to plan for all eight neighbourhoods identified in the O C P . U B C completed the C C P in 2000, but it did not meet all the G V R D ' s requirements for local area plans, setting the stage for a third level of planning: eight individual neighbourhood plans. Work on these began in 2001 with the University Boulevard, M i d Campus, and Theological neighbourhoods. The Mid-Campus and Theological plans were approved in 2001, but work continued on University Boulevard, and plans for new areas were begun as the others were approved. In 2001, four classmates and I assessed the success of public participation in the C C P planning process as a small case study for a first-year planning class. The evaluation framework we used was developed from our own experience and a brief search of planning literature. Nevertheless, it was enough to suggest that there were significant problems with public participation in planning at UBC. The next spring, we followed up with a research project to identify and prioritize methods' of involvement for students, hoping to assist the University in improving its "performance. The. results of this study were presented to senior staff of Land and Building Services, including the Associate Vice-President, Mr. Geoff Atkins. The next year, another group of first year student planners looked at U B C planning processes again, this time at the Mid-Campus plan. They were so concerned about the project that they asked their instructor, Professor Tony Dorcey, to lead a class focusing on current planning on campus in the spring term, which he agreed to do. That class investigated what had by then been termed "University Town" planning, and began to work on recommendations for improving the planning process.' At much the same time, the University began a public consultation process on a new draft plan for University Boulevard. This plan was extremely controversial and elicited an enormous public response that was critical of both process and the plan's substance. At the invitation of Mr. Dennis Pavlich, who as Vice-President External and Legal Affairs had recently  2.  become responsible for Neighbourhood Planning, the 'class presented recommendations for an improved process to the Board of Governors in April 2 0 0 3 . While I had not been involved for almost a year in UBC's planning, I had reservations about the plan, and my earlier research and the other students' concerns led me to question the quality of the process as well. One of my procedural concerns was that only one development option was being presented to the public, so I organized a design charrette in collaboration with, a Landscape Architecture student named Susan Milley to explore other possibilities for the area and tp raise community awareness of the issues and options. While the charrette was a success, it could not resolve my concerns about the official process. Those were grounded in principles I value including fairness, integrity, respect, and community. M y sense of concern was tempered by realism and pragmatism. I knew that planning processes and public involvement processes in particular are complicated, challenging topics. I asked myself, "How do I know if this was a good or a bad process?" Administrative staff responsible for the process thought it was good — they were meeting with a huge number of groups and individuals, and their website was well-attended. O n the other hand, many members of the public were very upset by the process. Was it possible to objectively evaluate the participation component of a planning process? How could it be done? This thesis grew out of my desire to address my sense of concern, and to do so in a fair and objective way to resolve the differences of opinion about the success of the process. Practically speaking, I also wanted to help University staff understand what went right, what went wrong, and what they could do to improve matters.  1.2  Research Problem, Questions and Justification  Public participation in decision-making has been discussed in many fields for some time. A myriad of practitioners now devote careers to the project, and they have remarkably varied approaches to it. They have also been learning as they go, and an immense literature has built up about the philosophies of participation, methodological options, and of course evaluation. Only recently however, have practitioners taken a long, hard look at evaluating participatory processes and arrived at some theoretical frameworks for doing so (e.g. Abelson, et al. 2 0 0 3 ) . Tony DOrcey and T i m McDaniels describe it as "an infant art" (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2 0 0 1 ) . This project presents an interesting opportunity: to review and synthesize this recent literature to provide a robust evaluation framework, and then to apply it critically to a participation process. Where it offers U B C an opportunity to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their approach, it offers planning practitioners an opportunity to see how useful recent evaluation frameworks are, to test one way to apply them, and to identify their strengths and weaknesses as they apply to cases like the University Boulevard Neighbourhood planning process. The thesis, then, asks the following questions: • T o what degree was public participation in the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process' successful, and why? • What lessons does this research teach us about evaluation of public participation?  1.3  Research Design and Methods  The subjectivity and sensitivity of the evaluation of public participation is well known (Webler, 1995). T o address those issues in this research, every effort was made to act ethically and  3  objectively. The "Guiding Principles for Evaluators" adopted by the American Evaluation Association in 1994 are reflected in the approach taken in this research: Systematic Inquiry: Evaluators conduct systematic, data-based inquiries about whatever is being evaluated. Competence: Evaluators provide competent performance to stakeholders. Integrity/Honesty: Evaluators ensure the honesty and integrity of the entire evaluation process. Respect for People: Evaluators respect the security, dignity and self-worth of the respondents, program participants, clients, and other stakeholders with whom they interact. Responsibilities for General and Public Welfare: Evaluators articulate and take into account the diversity of interests and values that may be related to the general and public welfare. To answer the research questions, a seven-step process was used: • review of literature to develop a conceptual understanding of participatory processes and their evaluation; • development of an evaluation framework based on the literature review; • selection of methods to suit the evaluation framework and criteria; • collection of relevant data; • description of the.University Boulevard process and relevant related facts; • evaluation of the process; and . • ' • conclusion about the process itself and process evaluation in general.  1.4  Thests Outline i  The thesis is structured to reflect this research design, placing the literature review first, then the discussion of methods, and finally the results and conclusions. This produces a three-part structure: ' , P A R T I: Introduction and Conceptual Background. This introduction provided a brief setting of the issue and the case. Next is a review of public involvement processes and their evaluation that will permit expansion of the research questions into an evaluation framework and method. P A R T II: Studying the University Boulevard Case. This part begins with the research methodology in order to clearly define the case study and explain how the research is approached. The case study itself is next, and is split into three parts. First, contextual factors are described. Second, the story of the process itself is told, and the overall strategy and process characteristics are evaluated. Last, the outcomes are described and then evaluated.  4  P A R T III: ' . Results and Concluding Thoughts. This part returns to the research questions to summarize the results and to draw conclusions about the usefulness and application of the evaluation framework.  5  Chapter 2; A Review of Public Involvement " The idea of citizen participation is a little like eating spinach: no one is against it in principle because it is good for you." - Sherry Arnstein (1969) Public participation is an area o f practice shared across disciplines. It is also contested because o f its historical roots in democracy, empowerment, and pragmatism. Some argue that participation's purpose is to ensure the vitality o f our democracy; others believe that it is to devolve power to the community at large, and still others promote participation to improve decisions made through established political and bureaucratic systems. W h i l e this diversity has created conflict, a rich understanding o f public participation has also grown from these roots in fields as diverse as environment, health care, management, and urban planning. T h i s rich mixture o f ideas has created enormous potential for participation in a variety o f contexts, for example community economic development planning and value-based decision-making about hydro power. It has also illuminated a range o f issues that practitioners must consider. T h e key questions in the conversation about public participation remain (Abelson, et al., 2 0 0 1 ; Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001): •  " W h a t is good public involvement?"  •  " W h y was it (not) good?" and  •  " H o w do we know when public participation is (not), good?"  This chapter reviews the history, characteristics, and key considerations o f public participation, and concludes with some recent answers to those key questions.  2.1  History  Public participation must be understood in the context o f democracy. T h e history o f public participation is similar i n most democratic nations, although the details may vary. In the United States, for instance, the civil rights movement played a significant role, while in Canada it did not. In democracies, the public can and does, within limits, participate i n government decision-making. There is a culture o f democracy that expects a government to be accountable to its people and that upholds standards and rules that protect citizens' ability to speak freely. Having said that, there is a great deal o f variation in what is understood by public participation, and that has its source in different philosophies o f democratic governance. T h i s brief history begins by considering the roots o f participation in democracy and follows its evolution through legalization and discussions o f empowerment in the I950's and I960's, towards increased sophistication in the I970's, and then to more recent trends, illustrating its complex, contested, and constantly evolving nature. T h e Early Years: D e m o c r a c y and Bureaucracy  Public participation in decision-making has been a topic o f discussion from the early days o f democracy itself: "I know no safe depository o f the ultimate powers o f the society but the people themselves; and i f we think them not enlightened enough to exercise' their control with a wholesom discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform  6  their discretion by education." -Thomas Jefferson (to William C. Jarvis,-28 September 1820.) 1  In the early days of democracy in the United States, a very limited constituency had rights to elect representatives. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, popular movements resulted in broadening of the constituency, first from male landowners to all white men of'majority' age, then to add'white women of'majority' age, and later, through the civil rights movement of the I960's, to add blacks to the list of constituents (Langton 1978a). The constituency changed radically from being a group of hundreds or perhaps thousands of people to millions. In Canada, the story follows similar lines. At the same time, government responsibilities and size increased with the development of a powerful bureaucracy having the discretion to make many of its decisions. In early democratic systems, citizens could communicate fairly directly with their elected representatives and therefore influence decisions. While citizens can still communicate directly with their representatives, the sheer number of decisions, bureaucrats and citizens make indirect communication through the bureaucracy more prevalent. Furthermore, bureaucratic discretion means that the people whom citizens must influence are not accountable to them by election. The participation of the public in bureaucratic decisions can be seen as compensation for the loss of direct connection with elected representatives and for the loss of accountability in decisions made by the bureaucracy. This view illustrates the potential of public participation to ensure that bureaucratic decisions are accountable to those whom they affect (Langton, 1978a; Graham, Phillips & Maslove, 1998). It is thefirstof three elements in the history of public participation as a way to enhance representative government. There is a second view of the role of public participation within our established democratic governments: its function as understood by the'bureaucrats who invite it. This is the "managerialist" perspective (Thomas, 1995), which developed with the growth of a bureaucracy vested with the power and responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the public. Their decisions go beyond purely technical issues to incorporate values, so they must constantly balance their desire to make the right decision as they see it, and their desire to make the decision the public wants — or thinks it wants (McNally, 1992). The balance is further complicated by the variation of available information and expertise between representatives, bureaucrats and the public, and the value placed on those by different people. The managerialist perspective leads to a second way that public participation can enhance representative government: it has the potential to justify controversial bureaucratic decisions and develop public support for them (Langton, 1978a; Graham, et al, 1998). Third, public participation offers an opportunity to improve quality of decisions bureaucrats make on behalf of the public (Sanoff, 2000; Thomas, 1995; Graham & Phillips, 1998a). John Clayton Thomas states that "public involvement, though neither for all matters nor always to the same extent, is'now essential for effective public management." (Thomas, 1995, p. 2) Implicit in thepotential to improve decisions is another opportunity. If people are to make meaningful improvements to a decision, they must know something about the decision being made. Virtually all participation processes therefore incorporate an element, of education and information. The  1  Source: http://www.monficeJlo.org/reports/quotes/education.html accessed July 3, 2003.  7  education o f citizens is a potential advantage' o f public participation that is implicit in the opportunityto improve decisions. T h e enhancement o f representative democracy points to various potential benefits o f public participation in decision-making: enhanced accountability, increased support and justification for decisions, improved decisions, and public education. These provided the impetus that drove increases in public participation through the middle o f the twentieth century.  I960's to early I970's: Legalization and Empowerment In the United States in the I950's and I960's, calls for public participation led to the widespread adoption o f legal requirements for public participation in government decisions. A s a result, public participation became a widespread practice there in the I950's and I960's (Kweit & Kweit, 1981). In Canada, municipal governments adopted participation in the late I960's and early I970's in order to improve decisions and increase efficiency. As in the U S , participation became legally mandated in Canada as it became common practice (Graham, et al., 1998). Also, as legislation evolved, it began to describe participation in terms such as "early and ongoing" (the B C Local Government A c t , 855(2) (BC Local Government Act [RSBC1996], 2003)). T h i s type o f exhortation reflected an increasingly common commitment to a comprehensive participation program. W h i l e requirements for participation programs encouraged their implementation, they also led to the routinization o f public participation and the rise o f a professional field o f public consultation consultants, facilitators, and so on (Graham, et al., 1998; Langton, 1978a). These routine processes were often carried o u t with the simple goal o f meeting legal requirements, often resulting in processes that were ill suited to the situation at hand and that were not taken seriously by those responsible for them. T h e reality o f participation was that it was often less successful than its potential suggested.  Many  processes were designed in such a way as to exclude large groups o f citizens, especially the poor and sometimes racial minorities like blacks. F o r proponents o f participation, the issue was power. In 1969, Sherry Arnstein wrote a "classic article" (The City Reader, 2000, p. 240) titled " A Ladder ' of Citizen Participation" in response to participatory processes that appeared to exclude or ignore citizen"input. Arnstein equated citizen participation directly with citizen power, stating that "it is the redistribution o f power that enables the have-not citizens, presently excluded from the political and economic processes, to be deliberately included in the future." (Arnstein, 1969) In the same article, she asserted "the fundamental point that participation without the redistribution o f power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless." F o r Arnstein and others who worked closely with poor, minority and otherwise marginalized communities, participation's great potential was to give community members influence over the future o f the world in which they live! Mahatma Gandhi said that " M y notion o f democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest" (Free Cuba Foundation, 1996). Participation can be viewed as a way to force the system to recognize previously unrecognized actors (i.e. as a way for the disempowered to gain better access to decision-making in the representative democratic governance system). In this sense participation can enhance representative democracy. T h e Swiss model o f representative government, with its reliance on referenda for many decisions, is an example o f one mode in which participation can complement representation. Alternatively, it can be seen as a way  8  for those who do 'not believe that the system can recognize or serve their interests to make decisions (Arnstein, 1969); in this sense, participation has the potential to compete with the representative democratic system. By the mid-I970's, public participation in decision-making had become legitimized through legal requirements and was used in many areas. At the same time, however, its effectiveness had been reduced by routinization and fundamental issues of power had.come to the fore. The field was moving from early enthusiasm over potential benefits to a growing recognition that support for participation, rooted in at least three different perspectives — internal improvements to democracy, improvements to decision quality and acceptance, and empowerment of citizens — was inherently conflicted. L a t e I 9 7 0 ' s to the  1980's: Increasing Sophistication and  Conflict  The I970's and I980's would see a continuation of the trends begun in the I960's. Participation processes became more sophisticated through the development of an incredibly diverse range of techniques (Rosener, 1978). Rosener listed close to 30 distinguishable techniques (more recent lists expand the number greatly (e.g. International Association for Public Participation, 2003 and Wates, 2000) and many combinations and adaptations of these exist. These range from surveys to information meetings, open houses, workshops, focus groups, and so on. Their strategic application according to the goals and objectives of the decision-making process in question has since been a mainstay of thought in public participation literature. Continuing the trend set in the I960's, participatory processes were increasingly used as advocates extolled potential benefits such as improved decision-making, participant satisfaction, community acceptance, and public education. However, as their experience with participation processes increased, bureaucrats and administrators raised concerns (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). These people saw numerous risks: slower decisions, worse decisions, and devolution of power are three of the most significant. Arranging public participation certainly delays decision-making simply by the time it takes to arrange and run the process, let alone the time required to process and incorporate public input from a consultation process, or the time to come to agreement during a deliberative process . Public resistance to a decision may delay a proposal long enough to completely kill it. An ill-informed public, or at least one that does not agree with the bureaucrat, may make a decision worse in his/her estimation. Finally, providing the public with some power to influence a decision necessarily means removing that power from the bureaucracy. This may be viewed as a threat to the bureaucrat and/or to the organization in general on two levels: at the level of a simple loss of power, and at the level of a loss of a professional's status versus that of a lay person. 2  By the late I980's, the inherently conflicted nature of public participation was broadly recognized. Twenty years of practical experience had exposed both opportunities: • increased accountability for decisions; • justified well-supported decisions; • improved quality of decisions; • increased community influence over decisions; • . increased community capacity to make decisions; and risks of public participation: 2  Deliberative processes involve participants actively and intensely in discussing decisions (Abelson, et al., 2003).  9  • • •  delayed decisions; poor decision quality; and perceived loss of bureaucratic status.  '  "  By the early I990's, most practitioners agreed that public involvement was important, but its opportunities and risks had spawned two camps: enthusiasts — who emphasized opportunities and skeptics — who emphasized its risks (Thomas, 1995). -  i  .  I 9 9 0 ' s to Present: C o n t e s t e d Process, C o n s t a n t E v o l u t i o n  Since the early I990's, the field has become broader and has begun to grapple with the conflicts within it. New techniques and approaches are being tried, practitioners are learning from experience, and solutions are being proposed to problems identified so far.' Most important perhaps is a move to address the contested nature of participation: philosophical stances of enthusiasts and skeptics are being overtaken by contingent and theoretical approaches to participation. The field has broadened through the exploration of two new types of participatory-processes: multi-stakeholder and deliberative processes. Multi-stakeholder processes are based in a pluralist democratic perspective that believes that a significant role for government is to arbitrate between differing segments of society, usually represented by interest groups (Beierle, 1998). A local example of these processes is the consensus-based roundtable process used in the BC Commission on Resources and Environment ( C O R E ) in the early I990's (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). While these processes permit significant, informed participation of members of the public, they are t i m e and resource-consuming for both the government and the public. In the mid-I990's, significant use of these processes came to a sudden halt because of burnout of stakeholders involved in a number of different processes at once (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). In the late I990's, the philosophy of public participation began to emphasize "reciprocal obligation betw-een government and citizen and the assumption of responsibility by citizens and communities" (Graham & Phillips, 1998a). As a result, deliberative techniques have received more attention. Like multi-stakeholder negotiations, these involve smaller groups of people who come to agreement on a topic or topics through a discussion-based process. Unlike multi-stakeholder processes, however, participants are expected to discuss the issues from their own perspective and that of others instead of negotiating from the perspective of their constituents. The small group discussions permit participants to become familiar with issues and technical knowledge, and therefore to come to an informed decision. Citizen juries and deliberative polling are two examples of this type of process: •  • 1  citizen juries are public advisory boards randomly chosen on a representative basis, who have a rotating membership. They reflect the idea that citizens have a civic duty to participate in city decision-making, much like jury duty. deliberative polling gathers a representative group of people; provides them with background materials that illustrate costs, benefits, and trade-offs inherent in a decision; facilitates discussion over a couple of days; and allows them to challenge technical experts and politicians. At the end of the period, the group is polled to provide informed input into the decision.. '  10  Deliberative processes also have their drawbacks, however, and should not be seen as the peak o f progress in public participation. M o s t importantly, they involve only a small number o f people, and are time and resource intensive. A s participants become more informed and work out their differences, they' can easily leave the rest o f the public behind, so they may appear to have been coopted (Beierle & Cayford, 2002). Both deliberative and multi-stakeholder processes must be. understood as two more options in the suite o f techniques now available to those planning public participation processes. T h e most significant contribution they have made is to show that it is possible to have fruitful, informed discussions with the public about complex decisions. N o t only has the field o f public participation increased its range o f techniques, but it has also continued to work on its most fundamental issues, and to formalize these with supporting theory and a greater depth o f practical experience. One common approach has been to review the state o f the art to better understand what participation is, what its components are, how they relate, and how this informs the different perspectives about participation (e.g. Dorcey and McDaniels, 2 0 0 1 ; Abelson, 1999; Beierle and Cayford, 2002; Webler, 1995; and Graham and Phillips, 1998a). Another approach has been to develop an understanding that accommodates both enthusiasts and skeptics, usually through a strategic or "contingent" method o f deciding what type o f participation is appropriate when. T h i s approach is often used by practitioners i n the field (e.g. Rosener, 1978; Canadian Standards Association, 1996; Thomas, 1995; U S Environmental Protection Agency, 1996; U S Department o f Energy, n.d.; City o f N o r t h Vancouver, 2000). 1  A t the beginning o f the twenty-first century, it is possible to reflect on fifty years o f experience with participation in public decision-making. It has come a long way from its origins i n • democratic governance, the rise o f government bureaucracy, and empowerment, developing into a vast field o f practice and study. T h r o u g h that time, philosophical approaches and differences, inherent opportunities and risks, and strategies and methods have all become better understood. The field is i f anything more complex than it has ever been before, but practitioners are beginning to address its most significant issues. Given- its complexity, it is likely to remain a difficult art to master, but one that continues to evolve through efforts to realize its full potential.  2.2  Description  The.story so far has described the last fifty years o f a search for good public participation. M a n y people have devoted entire professional lives to this search, and many more have been significantly involved in it.  Given  its history o f conflict, it  is  not surprising that there is little agreement about  the nature and quality o f public participation: •  "participation virtually defies generalizations and delights i n reducing abstractions to dust" (Hans Spiegel and Stephen Mittenthal, "The M a n y Faces, o f Citizen Participation: A bibliographic overview, V o l . I. Washington, National Training Laboratories, 1968, in Langton 1978a);  •  "[participation] varies in type, level o f intensify, extent, and frequency." (Sanoff, 2000, p. 8), and  •  "[participation is] fragmented across a variety,of professional disciplines among which there are few shared meanings..." (Checkoway & van T i l , 1978).  II i  <  Despite the apparent lack o f agreement about public participation, professionals and academics have refined their practice by developing a much more complete image o f public participation over the years. There are two key elements to this image: its definition, and its elements. These are discussed first, and then I touch briefly on barriers to participatory decision-making and current trends before ending by discussing evaluation of. public participation.  Definition There is no one accepted definition o f "public participation." In fact, it seems that few people can agree on an appropriate term, let alone agree on a definition once the term is decided. "Public," "citizen," and "stakeholder" are terms often used in definitions, i n combination with any o f "participation," "consultation," "involvement," and "engagement" (Langton, 1978b; Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). Sometimes these are used interchangeably, while at others specific distinctions are made between.the various terms for clarification. A few definitions are collected here to illustrate their diversity and to make some key points: •  Public participation describes a broader public relating to "public institutions o f society or state." (Langton, 1978b) T h i s is the broadest o f definitions, including all modes o f participation and all public bodies.  •  Citizen involvement is participation requested and organized by government or by private companies to meet government requirements (Langton, 1978a). T h i s definition begins to focus on the organizational context o f participation.  •  "'Public participation'  is the deliberate and active engagement o f citizens by the  council a n d / o r administration... i n making public-policy decisions or in setting strategic directions." (Graham & Phillips, 1998a) T h i s definition builds on the first two to describe the character o f the process, in this case as "deliberate and active." •  " . . .citizen participation is a categorical term for citizen power" (Arnstein, 1969). In this famous statement, Arnstein focuses on the transfer o f power from decision-makers to the public that is inherent in a participatory process in which the public has any degree o f • influence over decisions.  •  "Citizen involvement is processes for the involvement o f citizens i n advising and making decisions on matters under government authority that augment or supplant decisionmaking through established channels o f representative government." (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). T h i s definition points out the fact that participatory decision-making can either augment or supplant decision-making, and that it deals with matters explicitly under government authority. i  .  •  W h a t term and definition to use in this discussion? T h e term "public" is proposed for use here • because the subject o f this thesis is a decision-making process undertaken by a public institution, not a government body per se, and the term "participation" is proposed because it encompasses alternative terms without specifying the character o f a process: it is relatively unbiased. Building on the definitions above, the following definition o f "public participation" is proposed: "Public participation is the participation o f the public in advising a n d / o r making decisions that are within the authority-of a public institution or government body, through formal processes established by, or in partnership with, that body."  12  This definition explicitly recognizes that "public participation" is participation in decision-making that is within the purview of a government body or public institution. It is broad enough to include universities, government corporations that are perceived to be accountable to the public, but are not directly part of government per se. O n the other hand, it is limited in that it recognizes only formal processes — not informal ones that include.lobbying, influence through personal relationships and so. on — and in that it recognizes only processes that are established either by the ' institution or government body or through a partnership between it and the public. It therefore excludes citizen-driven initiatives whose scope may overlap an area of government authority, but which do not include the government in the establishment of the initiative. This last limitation is not generally a necessary one, as a citizen-driven initiative is still a public decision about a public matter and can probably be evaluated in much the same way as partnerships or governmentinitiated projects. Instead, the limitation is set to focus discussion on the area of interest in this case study. '  Elements "What'public officials should realize is that citizen participation is like a professional sport. It takes place in a public forum where there is competition between individuals and groups with conflicting goals; where the individuals and groups that participate play/different roles' at different times; where the playing conditions change from time to time; where the planning of strategies is a major activity; where no one group wins every contest; and where there is an ongoing need to evaluate performance in order to succeed." (Rosener, 1978) Thomas Beierle and Jerry Cayford (2002) identify three elements of this "professional sport" that together create a complete description of a public participation process: context, process, and outcomes. Context refers to the "public forum" and "playing conditions;" Process refers to playing the sport itself, and Outcome refers to, the end result. These are the three key pieces of a , preliminary conceptual model that can be used to understand and analyze participatory decisionmaking processes (Figure I). This section will describe each of the elements and the relationships between them in detail. Context  Process  Outcome  Figure I: A Preliminary Conceptual Model of Participatory Decision-Making Processes  Context: The broad context of public participation is governance (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). In Canada and other democratic nations, governance sets out a framework of expectations for the actions of public bodies to act in a manner consistent with democratic principles.. These expectations have more recently been exemplified in the corporate world by controversies over Enron, World Com, and Hollinger International. Within the governance context, there is a range of influential factors.  13  Efforts have been made over a long period to identify and-categorize these influences. In 1981, M a r y and Robert Kweit proposed two categories o f contextual determinants o f participation success: •  characteristics o f the "target organization" — meaning participants and community organizations; and  •  characteristics o f the environment — including an organization's structure and governance and the community's character.  More, recently, Julia Abelson (1999) reviewed literature across a number o f disciplines to identify influences  on the quality of participation. She describes three types o f influences on participation  quality:  '  •  "Pre-disposing" influences: individual and community characteristics  •  "Enabling" influences: participatory culture, the media, and institutional actions (the process 'run by the institution)  •  "Precipitating"  influences:  interests, interest groups, and issues  Practical guides to planning public participation also offer insight into contextual factors (City o f N o r t h Vancouver, 2000; Canadian Standards Association, 1996; U S Department o f Energy, n.d.), which appear in criteria they propose for making decisions about whether to involve the public and how to do so. Some examples are: •  the significance o f the decision (Canadian Standards Association, 1996)  •  stakeholder interests and positions (Canadian Standards Association, 1996)  •  constraints on decisions (City o f N o r t h Vancouver, 2000)  •  degree o f controversy (City o f N o r t h Vancouver, 2000)  •  institutional constraints ( U S Department o f Energy, n.d., )  •  decision structure (US. Department o f Energy, n.d., )  T h e contextual factors that influence public participation can be effectively categorized and related to better understand the breadth o f context.' Given the preliminary conceptual model, context is defined as "the factors that preceded and may have influenced the nature and outcome o f the participatory decision-making process." It can be broken down, into six categories, illustrated in Figure 2 and then described.  14  Figure 2: Contextual Factors  \ I.  2.  T h e Nature of the Community. Community characteristics break down into individual and social elements. O n an individual level, people o f higher socio-economic class, education, and skill level are much more likely to participate than others. O n a social level, the degree o f social cohesion, amount o f community identity, and level o f involvement in community organizations are related to the level o f participation (Abelson, 1999; Kweit & Kweit, 1981). In particular, the degree to which the community is organized to participate in decisions, and is inclined to do so, plays an important role in determining the level o f participation (see the discussion o f the Community-Institution relationship). A final key factor that plays into the dynamics o f participation is the presence, power, and focus o f interest groups. T h e Nature o f the Decision. Decisions may be more value-laden, or more technical; they may be more or less complex; their geographic scope may be more or less significant; and they may involve more or less scientific/technical certainty. M o r e value-laden decisions generally call for more public input to provide direction to administrators, while more technical decisions are often o f less interest and more constrained, calling for less public input (City o f N o r t h Vancouver, 2000). Decisions with more complexity require more efforts to educate and assist participants i f they are to be effective. T h e geographic scope may include overlaps with other jurisdictions and helps define what stakeholders should be involved. Less certainty may be related to more risk for the sponsoring institution, requiring up-front work and/or early public input o f knowledge to reduce uncertainty. A further characteristic o f the decision is whether or not it is "structured" (Thomas, 1995): whether limitations exist on what may be decided in the process. T h e most common o f these limitations is a previous decision. It is important to identify the potential and limitations clearly, "indicating what is really negotiable." (Graham & Phillips, 1998a)  3.  T h e Community-Decision Relationship. Community interest in the decision is clearly related to the nature o f the issue at hand. Its significance to them, its sensitivity, and the degree to which it will have an impact on them are all key factors that may predispose the  15  public to participate (Abelson, 1999). Controversial decisions can also bring out more participants, but controversy is more significant in its ability to make the tone o f a participatory process more conflictual. 4.  T h e Nature o f the Institution.' T h e governance o f the government body or institution in question is an important contextual factor. As the historical background made clear, public participation came about in part to compensate for democratic deficiencies introduced by the interposition o f the bureaucracy between the public and their elected representatives. T h e structure o f a government body or institution therefore has the capacity to strengthen or weaken the democratic relationship between decision-makers and those on whose behalf they work. Kweit and Kweit (1981) point out that more hierarchical; inflexible organizations are less disposed to invite public participation than flatter, more organic organizations. Similarly, the organization's culture can have an impact on the quality o f participatory processes, depending on the attitudesof administrators responsible for them (Abelson, 1999).  5.  T h e Decision-Institution Relationship. Institutional characteristics specific to the decision are critical contextual factors. First, the institution may be subject tolegal requirements that set minimum standards for public involvement. Second, the decision in question may not be entirely within the jurisdiction o f the organization, leading to a need to collaborate with other organizations, obtain approval from others, a n d / o r develop public support for the decision. Similarly, the level o f political support may reduce or increase the need for administrators to seek public support for a decision. Fourth, previous or concurrent  '  decisions may be closely related to the decision in question, leading to a potential for either complementary or redundant processes. Finally, the organization may lack information about some aspects o f the decision and may need to involve the public to obtain it (for instance; public values, local/traditional knowledge, unidentified options). 6.  T h e Community-Institution Relationship. M a n y writers mention the issue o f trust as a key factor in participatory processes (e.g. Thomas, 1995; Beierle and Cayford, 2002). T h e analysis done by Beierle and Cayford (2002) found that "robust participation processes do a better job o f transforming poor preexisting relationships than do less robust processes, but a history o f conflict is not itself a significant barrier to the prospects o f success." (p. 39) T h e condition o f the community-institution relationship is an important contextual factor.'  T h i s discussion has outlined what contextual factors are important to understanding decisionmaking processes that involve the public; these are shown in Figure 3. T h e next two sections describe the process and outcome elements before the relationships between them are explored. Context  Process  Community  ../  A  .  Decision — Institutioi  Figure 3: Conceptual Framework — W i t h Contextual Factors  16  Outcome  Process: T h e s e c o n d essential c o m p o n e n t i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g a p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g process is the process itself. A s i n d i c a t e d at the c o n c l u s i o n o f the last section, it is i n f o r m e d b y the context i n  :  w h i c h it occurs. T o discuss this c o m p o n e n t , this s e c t i o n takes a p r a c t i c a l a p p r o a c h , f o l l o w i n g m u c h the same p r o g r e s s i o n that the p e r s o n responsible f o r the d e c i s i o n w o u l d take: "> I .  A d e c i s i o n is r e q u i r e d .  2.  T h e context i n w h i c h the d e c i s i o n is assessed.  3.  It is d e c i d e d whether o r n o t p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n is a necessary c o m p o n e n t o f the d e c i s i o n -  4.  G o a l s are set.  m a k i n g process. 5.  A d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g strategy is d e v e l o p e d based o n the context a n d goals.  6.  T h e strategy is i m p l e m e n t e d , resulting i n a d e c i s i o n a n d other o u t c o m e s .  7.  T h e process is evaluated a n d lessons are used to inform future processes.  F o r the purposes o f this d i s c u s s i o n , it is assumed that steps I t h r o u g h 3 have been c o n c l u d e d a n d that p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n is a necessary c o m p o n e n t o f the d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g process. T h e d i s c u s s i o n . o f process therefore begins w i t h goals f o r participatory.processes, considers strategic issues, a n d t h e n focuses m o r e closely o n the characteristics o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g processes themselves. It ends b y s u m m a r i z i n g key p o i n t s .  Goals  '  '  -  T h e goals that p e o p l e have f o r p a r t i c i p a t o r y processes stem f r o m the h i s t o r i c a l p u r p o s e o f p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n , w h i c h is to address weaknesses i n o u r d e m o c r a t i c governance systems. A t this b r o a d level, there are different p o i n t s o f view, g r o u p e d nicely i n t o three p h i l o s o p h i e s b y T h o m a s Beierle (1998). M a n a g e r i a l i s t s see g o v e r n m e n t bureaucrats a n d elected representatives as p e o p l e whose r e s p o n s i b i l i t y is to " i d e n t i f y a n d pursue the c o m m o n g o o d " (p-2). T h e i r goals w i t h respect to p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n therefore focus o n m a k i n g g o o d decisions i n a responsible manner. P l u r a l i s t s see g o v e r n m e n t representatives as " a r b i t r a t o r s " between the p e o p l e arid g r o u p s that m a k e u p the p u b l i c . T h e y are therefore interested i n m a n a g i n g c o n f l i c t s a n d i d e n t i f y i n g a "relative c o m m o n g o o d arising out o f [ d i s c u s s i o n a m o n g these parties]." F i n a l l y , p r o p o n e n t s o f p o p u l a r d e m o c r a c y e n v i s i o n the direct p a r t i c i p a t i o n o f citizens i n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g . F o r t h e m , this p a r t i c i p a t i o n strengthens the c o m m u n i t y a n d its d e m o c r a t i c governance. T h e different o p p o r t u n i t i e s m e n t i o n e d i n the historical- review reflect these different perspectives. A t a m o r e detailed a n d p r a g m a t i c level, the academic literature o n p u b l i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n identifies w i d e l y varied objectives, i n c l u d i n g for example to: •  m a k e cost-effective decisions;  ' '  •  to increase p u b l i c trust a n d confidence in o r g a n i z a t i o n s ;  •  p r o m o t e a sense o f c o m m u n i t y ;  •  meet s o c i a l needs better; o r  •  p r o v i d e m o r e relevant a n d up-to-date i n f o r m a t i o n to d e c i s i o n - m a k e r s (Sanoff, 2000);  o r to • . generate ideas; • •, •  i d e n t i f y attitudes; .disseminate i n f o r m a t i o n ; resolve a c o n f l i c t ; "  .  •17  •  measure opinion;  •  review a proposal; or  •  vent emotion (Rosener, 1978).  Clearly, these lists are long but not exhaustive. Instead, they illustrate the enormous range o f goals and objectives that people bring to participation processes. Four lessons may be learned from the literature on goals for public participation: •  different people have different goals;  •  a short list o f goals is common to many, i f not most, public participation processes;  •  even though there is agreement on common goals, these inevitably conflict with one another; and  •  once goals are established, a long list o f objectives informs more detailed decisions about public participation.  T h e first three lessons are discussed next, while the fourth will be dealt with in the following section on method selection. First, we have seen that at a broad theoretical level there are three major perspectives on the goals of participation in public decision making. A t the practical level, two main groups o f people who • have distinct goals for public process are evident: those running participatory processes, and those participating. Those running the processes are usually concerned primarily with the success o f the project, so they emphasize cost-effectiveness,.timeliness, increased acceptability, and increased quality o f decisions. Those participating on the other hand are more concerned with impacts on their lives, so they emphasize their influence over the decision, enhancement o f their knowledge, the incorporation o f their values into the decision, and the accountability o f the decision and o f those making it. , Second, despite the different emphases, the academic literature identifies a short list o f goals that are common to many practitioners. T o identify these, twenty-eight articles, books, and agency publications were reviewed, seven o f which were based on literature reviews o f their own. O f these, twenty-four mentioned one or more goals and were used to identify areas o f agreement and disagreement about goals. Thomas Beierle's (1998) list o f six social goals was used as a starting point because it offered a complete structure with which tp compare other frequently less focused discussions.  Beierle's list is based on "the premise that the environmental regulatory system has a  number o f [well-known] systemic ailments to which public participation may provide at least a partial cure" (p: 3). T h e review compared other authors' explicit statements about what public participation should achieve with the six social goals, attempting to either identify goals that were not shared in others' experience or to identify goals that Beierle had missed. T h e six goals were well supported in the literature, and one other goal was consistently mentioned: strengthening community. T h e seven goals are listed below, with a description o f each one: I.  Educating and informing the public. T h i s goal is common to almost all participatory processes, with the exception o f processes designed only to receive information from the public. It is supported because effective participation requires a public that clearly understands possible decisions and their consequences.  18  Incorporating p u b l i c values into decision-making. T h i s goal reflects influence o f the ' public over the decision, and is related to improved quality. It requires an institution that is interested in and willing to incorporate public concerns, needs, desires, and even dreams (Sanoff, 2000). It is supported when decisions involve value judgments and because . public participation has little credibility without commensurate influence (Arnstein, 1969; Shepherd & Bowler, 1997). •' • • Improving the substantive quality o f decisions. There are different interpretations o f this goal, as each person is likely to see quality as reflective o f their own values. However, it is possible to identify areas where a proposal has evolved in ways that identify and resolve issues, improve solutions to problems, or meet a wider range o f needs. F o r spatial. planning, this means an improved quality o f the resulting development (The United K i n g d o m Department o f the Environment, 1994). Improving decisions is clearly a concern for all stakeholders, although they may disagree about what "improvement" looks like. . 1  Increasing trust i n institutions. In the long term, this goal envisions institutions and the public becoming more able to work together on issues (City o f Vancouver, 1998), reducing the amount o f suspicion and the resulting time spent working through misunderstandings. R e d u c i n g conflict. Like increased trust, a reduction in conflict results i n less time and emotional energy spent battling others, either within the public or between~the public and the institution (City o f Vancouver, 1998). Equally, a reduction in conflict represents an increase in shared values, or at least agreement on a set o f decisions that meet different values (Chess & Purcell, 1999). In the long run, it is a part o f building community. Achieving cost-effectiveness. Beierle dropped this last goal from his list in his later book (Beierle & Cayford, 2002), possibly because it is a characteristic o f the process rather than an outcome. Nevertheless, it is included here because it is well supported in the literature, where it is interpreted broadly. F r o m the emerging perspective o f a responsible community making decisions together (Graham & Phillips, 1998a), this goal is really better stated "using community resources effectively." A s such it would encompass both community time and energy on one hand and institutional money and resources on the  '  other. In this sense it is a value shared by all participants and a significant'social goal. Strengthening community. T h i s is a convenient term for a goal that was variously described in the literature as "a sense o f ownership" (Gregory & Rowley, 1999), "[build] a sense o f community; reinforce community values while building social capital; . . . increased confidence and skills; better friendships and sense o f belonging" (Sanoff, 2000) and "redistribution o f power" (Arnstein, 1969)., It is included not only because it was noted by a number o f authors, but also because it reflects the strong current in theory o f public participation begun by Arnstein and carried on by Saul Alinsky and others. In particular, a recent article by Michael H i b b a r d and Susan Lurie (2000) points out that "the efficacy o f participatory planning... also depends o n . . . the presence o f dense social networks o f those things that enable the actions o f  19  individuals-working toward a collective goal — what has come to be called social capital." (p. 188) It is important to point out that one can argue for almost all o f these goals from any o f the three broad theoretical perspectives. Take the managerialist for example. T h i s person is most interested in the quality (goal 2) and acceptability o f a decision (Thomas, 1995), and cost-effectiveness is clearly another important factor (goal 6), although internal costs are likely to receive more attention than costs to the community. Enhanced community consensus about the decision is an indication that a broader constituency finds the decision acceptable (goal 5). Often, controversial issues or a history o f poor community-institutional relations can create a conflictual situation; building trust is therefore an important goal i f people are to resolve their differences (goal 4). Returning to the issue o f decision quality, many public decisions affect communities and involve value judgments. F o r this reason, high quality public decisions must go beyond organizational goals to take into account the public's interests and values (goal 3). In order"to effectively identify their interests and values as they pertain to the decision in question, the public needs to understand' the potential decision(s), the context, and implications: the public must be effectively informed and educated (goal I). Finally, although there is more to it than this, the process o f educating and informing the public, reducing conflict between groups in the public, and increasing trust in •institutions may all contribute to the strengthening o f community (goal 7). T h i s last goal is more likely held by institutions that foresee future needs for community support than those that feel able to carry decisions without it. In short, one can argue that for the managerialist, the first six goals, and to. a variable extent the last, are important. F o r the other two perspectives too, most o f the goals are important, although their emphasis and reasons may o f course be different. T h e third lesson about goals is that it is difficult to achieve all.of them, even i f there is agreement that they are all important. F o r example, reducing conflict between citizen groups and the sponsoring institution is important to producing a good decision for all concerned. However, time and resource constraints faced by the institution and limitations on the community's ability to participate at length may restrict the potential for approaching agreement. In summary, there is agreement on the range o f potential goals for public'participation, but they are emphasized differently by different people; also, the goals are not entirely complementary — tradeoffs between them are often required. T h e next section describes careful process design, which is the key to performing as well as possible with respect to these goals, and which follows in part from the detailed objectives.  Method Selection T h e first step in developing a strategy for making a decision with the involvement o f the public is to define and prioritize process goals, based on the context (the decision, the institution, the community, and the relationships between them). T h e fourth lesson from the literature on goals addresses the next step: the task o f program design, including strategic and methodological issues. T h e design o f an effective public participation program involves the structured application o f public involvement methods to meet goals. A process designer must ask themselves some questions: •  W h o should be making decisions .about the process?  •  W h a t are the stages in the process?  •  W h a t are the objectives for the various stages?  20  •  H o w should I (we) select between various participatory mechanisms, for example workshops, advisory committees, open houses and hearings, and combinations o f these?  •  Once that is done, bow should I (we) approach each o f the selected methods, with respect to timing, location, length, frequency, agenda, tone, and so on?  •  W h o should be invited to the events, and how and when should they be contacted?  •  W h a t information is needed before, during, and after the process, i n what form, and provided to participants by what mechanisms?  W h i l e this list is by no means exhaustive, it illustrates the main point about strategy and methods: designing an effective public participation process is not an easy task. It requires significant upfront thought and time, a fact that has been recognized for a many years (e.g. Rosener, 1978). T h e following tasks are necessary i n planning for participatory decision-making. 1.  outline the whole decision-making process and define objectives for each stage;  2. 3.  identify the stage(s) where the public can best be involved given goals and objectives; select a method or combination o f methods to effectively address, the goals and objectives  4.  throughout the process; and plan implementation o f methods with attention to accepted characteristics o f effective public processes.  T h e first step in designing for public participation is to place it in the context o f a complete decision-making process. So-called "rational" decisions generally move through a series o f stages, for example problem identification, conceptualization, idea generation, identification o f options, evaluation and selection o f options, refinement o f options, and finally decision. Conceptualization, idea generation, and identification o f options can be termed "divergent thinking" in which the discussion is widened, .while later activities can be termed "convergent thinking" in that they help to narrow the range o f possible decisions and move toward closure (Kaner, L i n d , T o l d i , Fisk & Berger, 1996). ' . ' ' Participation in decision-making can take place throughout the process, or it can be limited to certain stages. In order to decide when to involve the public, the second step is to develop objectives for different parts o f the decision-making process. Objectives, naturally vary with the decision-making progression, and they build towards the overarching goals identified for the process. F o r example, for a conventional urban design project, Table I shows how objectives  Divergent Thinking  could vary with design stages. Siag<  Objective  Site Analysis  T o understand the site — environmental, social, cultural, symbolic, functional, and other elements/issues. T o identify community strengths and weaknesses. T o build community understanding o f their neighbourhood.  Options Identification  T o identify a range o f options that begin to address issues/strengths/weaknesses. T o learn about the site through design, and to revisit analysis in light of new knowledge.  21  Si.uje  Objective  Options  T o assess how well options address needs/issues, and how they relate  Convergent Thinking  Evaluation  to other plans and designs. T o discuss trade-offs inherent in each option, and how they are valued by the community.  1  Option Selection  T o decide which o f the options is best, a n d / o r what features o f  Option Refinement  T o enhance the selected option. T o incorporate other public values into the option.  Final  T o approve the refined option.  Decision  T o identify ramifications o f the option for other plans and designs.  options are most desirable i n light o f values, technical issues, and existing decisions. :  .  Table I: Objectives for an Urban Design Project The third step is to select between different types o f participatory mechanisms, or methods. Here, contingent models o f public participation become o f interest. Recent examples include guides prepared for the Canadian Standards Association (1996), the City o f N o r t h Vancouver (2000) and the U K Department o f the Environment (1994). A l l use a series o f steps and questions to guide the designer through the process o f making decisions about public participation. A similar approach, that of John Clayton Thomas (1995), has the advantage that it provides direction about the type o f methods that are appropriate in different situations, where others do not do so explicitly. T h e disadvantage o f Thomas' approach is that it is narrowly construed, based on only two goals: decision quality and acceptability, and saying nothing directly about the enhancement o f democracy. Despite that theoretical weakness, his application o f the model to thirty case studies strongly supported the need for public involvement, usually more than was used by the managers in the case studies (Thomas, 1995, pp. 187-188).  22  1. [What are the quality requirements?] 2. Do I have sufficient information? 3. Is the problem structured?  4. Is public acceptance necessary for implementation and unlikely without No involvement? 5. [Who is the relevant public?] 6. Does the relevant public agree with the agency's goals? 7. Is conflict on the solution likely within the relevant public?  KEY: A j Autonomous Managerial  B )  Modified Autonomous  C ) Segmented Consultation  D )  Unitary Consultation  E ) Public Decision (Adapted from Thomas 1995, p. 74) Figure 4: The Effective Decision Model  23  Because it provides direction on the selection o f methods, Thomas' model will be used as an example. It provides a series o f seven questions that guide the selection o f public consultation methods (Thomas, 1995, p. 41). It is important to note that the second and fourth questions directly reflect Thomas' goals and therefore define the need for public participation as well as selecting the most desirable methods: this model overlaps the goal-setting stage o f process design and illustrates the need for process designers to be flexible and iterative in how they plan for participation. Figure 4 summarizes Thomas' model, which he calls the Effective Decision M o d e l , showing how the answers to his seven questions lead to different types and structures o f participation processes. T h e first question is " W h a t are the quality requirements that must be incorporated in any decision?" It refers to policy or managerial'constraints-on the decision to be made. These may include technical constraints, previous policy decisions, budgetary realities, and legal frameworks, to name a few. It is important to be cautious here: the "requirements" may actually be long-held assumptions that are hard to identify; these may be constraints only in the mind o f the designer, and not in that o f the public. A n example o f this situation is a budgetary.constraint on a building development that is seen to limit the capacity to build a green building. Viewed as a simple capital constraint, the budget is restrictive; as a constraint on capital that is offset by operating costs, the budget is much less constraining. It is important to identify these requirements up-front, but it is equally important to be willing to recognize them and to be able to respond when participants in the process see it differently. T h e second question is " D o I have sufficient information to make a high quality decision?"" One o f the most common rationales for involving the public in a decision is to obtain information that decision-makers do not have. There are three types o f this information: ( I ) creative ideas, (2) technical information, and (3) information about public values. I f information is required, then public involvement is necessary; i f not, then it may or may not be. T h e third question is "Is the problem structured such that alternative solutions are not open to redefinition?" Often, a decision is presented to the public as a choice o f a limited number o f alternatives, based in part on the quality requirements mentioned above. W h i l e limiting options makes decisions simpler, they eliminate options or elements o f options that may be preferable to the public (and perhaps even the decision-makers). F o r example, a company that produces hazardous waste may wish to expand a disposal facility to accommodate growth, and may present to the public locational and design options it considers acceptable. A hazardous waste facility is often viewed by the public as a L U L U — "locally unacceptable land-use" - leading them to reject all the options out o f hand. T h e y might also suggest that the company instead increase its efficiency through re-use and recycling, eliminating,its need for a new facility and reducing its dependence on the old one. Reducing unnecessary structure in this case could lead to the adoption and approval o f a decision that is better for all concerned. Michael H i b b a r d and Susan Lurie studied a comprehensive planning process in Jackson H o l e , W y o m i n g to understand why it failed to reach its  jDotential  to resolve differences between  community members and arrive at beneficial solutions to problems ( H i b b a r d & Lurie, 2000). One lesson they learned was that "clarity on what is at issue" is essential. In their case study, the community's overriding concern was cultural change, as its composition had begun to reflect rich  24  owners of holiday or retirement homes rather than the long-term rural residents. However, the land-use planning process was clearly unable to address this issue. They concluded that: "An early and honest discussion about what [the process] could and could not do might have removed some inappropriate pressure from the system and even generated parallel processes to name and deal with the issue of how social changes were affecting people's sense of themselves in relation to their community." (p.I93)  .  The next questions are acceptance-related. The fourth question comes in two parts "Is public acceptance of the decision critical to effective implementation?" and "If so, is that acceptance ., reasonably certain if the manager decides alone?" If acceptance is critical, and it is not certain i f the manager decides alone, then public participation is necessary. Even i f the manager is-quite certain of its acceptability,.it is wise to err on the side of caution, for example by checking informally with members of the public before deciding on what level of participation to adopt. At this point, Thomas returns to his goals by pointing out that if you have enough information, and there is no need for public acceptance, then public participation is not necessary. In a disaster scenario, for example, the existence of the disaster is enough information, and public acceptance is not necessary — nor desirable, given time constraints — to making decisions about response. If participation is necessary, then answers to the questions of quality requirements, information needs, problem structure and public acceptance have begun to define the best options. The last three questions go on to define the appropriate method(s) for inviting public participation more clearly. Like the fourth question, the fifth is in two parts: "Who is the relevant public?" and "Does that public consist of an organized group, more than one organized group, unorganized individuals, or some combination?" It asks both about who should be involved and about how that involvement should be structured. As part of asking who the relevant public is, a process designer will want to ask two further questions: "How representative should participants be of the community as a whole" and "How inclusive should the process be?" These questions highlight the inevitable tradeoff between more shallow, large group discussions, and more in-depth, small group discussions. Between them, the answers to these questions begin to define a method or group of methods to be used for the participation process in terms of: • the use of large and small forums; • the degree of focus on one or more groups; • the degree to which the general public is targeted; • • •  the use of a combination of methods to balance their strengths and weaknesses in an overall strategy; the timing and location of events for accessibility, and the removal of other barriers to access; and . the character of communications used to inform the public about events, and to communicate with them about matters up for discussion, including the use of more than one language, visual information, Braille, etc. , •  The sixth question is "Does the relevant public share the agency goals to be obtained in solving the problem?" If the goals are shared, then there is little concern over sharing a significant amount of  25  decision-making authority with the public; i f they are not, then power-sharing should be limited. Sharing power is confounded in practice because the legal framework for public decisions (in Canada at least) often limits the ability o f government representatives to devolve their power. A t the same time, the retention o f power may be in conflict with stated institutional goals such as community-building, in which case the decision may be made to share more power even in the face o f possible disagreement on overall goals.  •  •  • •  Last but certainly; not least, question seven asks' "Is there likely to be conflict among the public on the preferred option?" I f there is likely to be conflict, participation methods that encourage identification and resolution o f those conflicts are preferable over those that treat groups separately. F r o m a pluralist democratic perspective, identification o f conflicts may make any compromise in the eventual decision more acceptable because the public is aware o f disagreements. F r o m the perspective o f a deliberative public working for the good o f the community, the resolution o f conflicts and development o f agreement among the public and the decision-makers is an important asset o f methods in which disagreeing groups meet. However, careful management o f conflict is important i f a timely decision is to be made. A case can be made for separate meetings, at least initially, i f conflicts run so deep as to jeopardize meaningful discussions. Equally, separate meetings may permit useful in-depth discussion o f issues. Anticipating and responding to potential conflict within the public is a delicate and difficult one for the manager. Answering the seven questions permits a process designer to select among five general types o f decision-making approaches (Thomas, 1995, pp. 39-40): A . Autonomous managerial decision, in which the manager makes the decision independently B. M o d i f i e d autonomous decision, in which the manager gathers information from the s  public, and then makes the decision independently. C . Segmented public consultation, in which the manager discusses with public groups separately, and then makes a decision influenced by the various groups. D . Unitary public consultation, in which the manager discusses with the public together, and then makes a decision based on that influence. E.  Public decision, in which the manager and public discuss the decision and then make it together.  W h i l e this model and others like it are useful, they assume that a decision-making process can be defined up front by such questions. In reality, the information required, problem structure, and nature o f public conflicts often change over the course o f the decision-making period. So too do objectives, and even the context. Also, methods may be complementary to one another, so the use of a number o f approaches can together produce a better overall approach. T o be most effective, contingent approaches >such as Thomas' need to be applied flexibly and need to be understood within the framework o f an evolving decision process. Having applied-a contingent model, the process designer must decide among the myriad o f specific methods used today. One could fill a book writing about the pros, cons, and potential uses o f the various public participation methods out there. In fact, the U r b a n Design Group has done just that for participatory methods for urban design (Wates, 2000), and the International Association for Public Participation has prepared a more general list ("Public Participation Toolbox," 2003). Rather.than being familiar with the suite o f different methods available, a process designer needs to be creative with the methods o f which they are aware, to build on their experience and that o f  26  others, and to learn as they go. Above all, they should not be limited by the conventional description and use o f a method, nor should they feel limited to using only those methods that are commonly used or legally required. i  A t this point, a process designer has: ••  identified goals and constraints;  •  developed a decision-making strategy that responds to the relevant context and builds on overall goals; then  •  worked out how the decision-making objectives and participation in it change over the process;  •  thought through decisions about what general type(s) o f public participation methods are desirable when; and finally  •  picked methods to fit within the overall decision-making strategy.  These are the nuts and bolts o f a strategic participatory decision-making process. T h e next section discusses the essential characteristics o f effective participatory processes. Process Characteristics  ^  Earlier, it was pointed out that participatory decision-making has to be understood first within the context o f a group decision-making process. In the same vein, Thomas Webler states that "By and large, participation is interaction among individuals through the medium of language" (Webler, 1995, p. 40), emphasis in the original). It follows that participatory decision-making is interaction among individuals through the medium o f language (communication) that leads to decisions (action): it is "communicative action." Over the last 20 years, many planning theorists have built on Jurgen Habermas' theory o f communicative rationality and American pragmatism (Fainstein, 2003) to create-the communicative model o f planning. T h i s line o f thought has received so much attention that it has been termed by some "a dominant consensus among planning theorists" (Mandelbaum in Huxley and Yiftachel 2000). In the same article, Huxley and Yiftachel describe the focus o f this theoretical approach to the practice o f planning as facilitating communicative interchanges, where planning's importance lies in its ability to contribute to better debate, discussion, and deliberation about shared futures. They go on to say that "the assumption is that using the right decisionmaking process will enable planning (however defined) to reach its progressive, even emancipatory potential." (p.334) T h i s widely accepted theoretical approach provides a good starting point for discussing "good process" in terms o f its character. A t the same time, Huxley and Yiftachel (2000), Fainstein (2003), and others (e.g. Abram, 2000) make some significant critiques o f communicative planning. These critiques focus on ( I ) the fact . that it deals only with communicative processes without considering (directly) power structures or desired outcomes, and (2) the fact that other types o f processes (i.e. that do not communicate with the public) are in some cases able to make good decisions. Power certainly is a significant issue i n public participation (Arnstein, 1969; Davidoff, 1965; Thomas, 1995; Sanoff, 2000; Checkoway & van T i l , 1978) that is not addressed directly by communicative theory (Sandercock 1998). In fact, communicative theory deals with how planning is (or should be) done, and therefore cannot /concern itself with contextual power structure directly. However, the exercise o f power can be  27  addressed by communicative theory, as John Forester showed in relation to information (Forester, 1982). Communicative theory can inform good process because it can illustrate the modes through which power is expressed. Obtaining and using public knowledge and values can enhance decision quality. T h e question is riot whether other (non-communicative) processes can reach good decisions, but whether or not communicative processes can lead to better decisions. In the same way that it relates to power, communicative theory informs good process because it illustrates how better decisions can be rnade. T h e discussion o f the character o f participatory decision-making in this review is grounded in communicative theory, recognizing that it addresses power only as it is exercised in the planning process and good decisions only as they have the potential to result from good process. Leonie Sandercpck's description o f the concern o f communicative action theorists (Sandercock, 1998) provides a useful framework for understanding good process: "[Their concern is] critical reflection about the appropriate processes for learning and deciding, such as assuring representation o f all major points o f view, equalizing information among group members, and creating conditions within group processes so that the force o f argument can be the deciding factor rather than an individual's power or status in some pre-existing hierarchy." (p. 96) The first characteristic Sandercock mentions is representativeness. In terms o f attendees, some types o f participation require more or fewer people — they are more or less inclusive. In terms o f the individuals who attend, the democratic roots o f participation demand that they form a representative sample o f those who may be affected by the decision to be made. However, • representativeness in numbers is necessary but not sufficient at a group process level. I f their points o f view are to be represented equally, participants must be heard equally. T h i s demands that the process ensure that they are heard, and that other participants (including those leading the process) listen, and indeed actively seek out their contributions. Even at the level o f participant composition, ensuring representativeness is not art easy task. Participation varies among people having different power, socio-economic status, and degree o f perceived interest (Checkoway & v a n ' T i l , 1978). W h e n it comes to organizations participating, community group cohesion and resources are significant determinants o f their ability to participate (Hibbard & Lurie, 2000). Policymakers everywhere are familiar with the N I M B Y syndrome ( N o t In M y Back Yard), and L U L U (Locally Unwanted Land-Use) and B A N A N A (Build Absolutely N o t h i n g Anywhere Near Anything) are only somewhat less common terms. Organized groups or individuals having significant resources (relative to other citizens) can and often do act in their own perceived best interest, often in reaction to decision-makers pursuing the "common good," and sometimes in attempts to stop decisions altogether. In some — but certainly not all — cases, these groups may alter decisions in ways that are detrimental to other groups less well represented • (i.e. with less power). Sandercock's second characteristic is equal access to and competence with information, which is critical in participatory decision-making. John Forester's 1982 article Planning in the Face of Power addressed the role o f information as a source o f power in planning, pointing out different types o f misinformation and suggesting that the planner's role in a democratic process is to  28  anticipate and counter unnecessary misinformation. In most planning processes, the public has less technical expertise and information than do planners and technicians, resulting in an imbalance o f power. In order to counter this imbalance — indeed, simply to ensure that the public can discuss plans in a meaningful, useful way — information for decision-making has to be ( I ) true and accurate, (2) appropriate and legitimate, (3) sincere and trustworthy, and (4) communicated in a manner that is understandable to the public (Forester, 1982, p. 75). In a complementary way, a participatory process can incorporate a significant educational and capacity-building component to assist participants to become competent in making the decision at hand. T h e third characteristic o f communicative action is process conditions that permit reasoned argument to overcome the influence o f power i n decision-making. Forester (1982) identifies three ways in which power is exerted in a decision-making process. T h e first is in the decision-making itself. T h e second is in setting the agenda for making the decision: deciding what is and is not to be discussed, and what responses are possible. T h e third is in defining the "felt needs and selfconceptions [of the public]" (p. 76). A n excellent local example o f defining felt needs and selfconceptions is the proposition that "Vancouver is a no-fun city." T h i s statement has been incorporated into the very identity o f the city; while it supports the loosening o f restrictions on "fun," it also deflates our community self-image. In an ideal democratic process, participants would have equal power in each o f these three respects. In reality, this is never the case and it would be an unfair demand in the context o f the existing power structures o f government and society. Still, the communicative action analysis suggests the extension o f the democratization o f decision-making from the decisions themselves to the setting o f agendas and scoping o f decisions.Communicative action thus extends its concerns about the influence o f power from the process itself to decisions about the process. 1  Transparency and accountability also help to clarify i f not reduce the influence o f power i n decision-making. T h e first is a mechanism to ensure that the public is aware o f what decisions are made and how,, such as public access'to documents produced by the government. Its dictionary definition is "free o f deceit [synonym: guileless]; easily understood or seen through (because o f a lack o f subtlety)" (Princeton University, 1997). T h e second is a mechanism to ensure that action is matched to words, that the implementation o f a decision or an agreement matches the understanding o f those involved in making it. "Accountability in its simplest terms is the obligation to answer for a responsibility that has been conferred." (1975 Report o f the 'Independent Review Committee on the Office o f the Auditor General o f Canada ( W i l s o n Committee), quoted in Citizens' Circle for Accountability, 2003). F o r example, election is intended to ensure accountability through the threat that a representative will not be re-elected i f his/her decisions do not represent the values or opinions o f their constituents. Transparent and accountable processes act- to level the power exerted in decision-making.  Summary Decision-making processes are designed through a strategic process that responds to the situation in which they are to take place. Goals and constraints are identified for the process based on its context, after which objectives are set for different decision-making stages. T h e potential for public involvement is assessed for the different stages, and methods are chosen to suit. Regardless o f how and when public participation occurs, processes that incorporate it can be characterized by their representativeness, participant access to and competence with information, and the degree to  29  which decisions are made based on reasoned argument. These characteristics are shown in Figure  5.  Context  1  Community  n  /  A '•  Decision — institution  Process Strategic response to context Participation occurs in an overall group decision-making framework  Outcome  Characteristics: • representativeness •  access and competence  •  interplay of reason and power  Figure 5: Conceptual Framework — With Process Factors  Outcomes: The outcome of a decision-making process appears at first glance to be simply a decision or set of decisions. However, the process of making the decision(s) can lead to other outcomes. Decisions that involve public participation in particular have implications for the decision-makers and their relationships with the public. The potential outcomes of a process fall into categories that parallel the goals described in the "Process" section. • Decision quality: the decision made through a participatory process may be improved or worsened. Quality may be seen differently by different people, who may for instance value financial impacts more or less than environmental impacts. • Decision efficiency: the process may be more or less cost-effective. This outcome is dependent on the nature of the process as well as the quality of the decision. Because costs are borne differently by different people and because their perspectives differ on quality, this outcome is often contested. • Relationship to public values: the decision may incorporate public values to a greater or lesser extent. This outcome is related to decision quality in that many people would agree . that a better (public) decision recognizes and. responds to public values. However, there may be little clarity about public values given the varied nature of the public. Understanding this outcome involves first identifying values held by the immediate and broader communities, then, exploring where they conflict and agree, and finally seeing how those are reflected in the decision. • Community knowledge: the process will usually result in an increase in knowledge on the part of the sponsoring institution and the community. This knowledge may include — but is not limited to — values, contextual issues, technical constraints, and local knowledge. • Level of trust: in many cases, a public institution and a community begin decision-making processes with a low level of trust for one another. Institutional actors often believe that communities have little knowledge and ability, and that they are unable to see beyond parochial concerns, while communities often have a hard time believing that institutions  30  are interested in listening to them or in responding to their needs. Processes have the potential to deepen that divide, or to build trust. •  A m o u n t o f conflict: decisions involving many parties have the potential to address . differing values and interests, reducing conflict, but they can also increase conflict between different community groups, and between the community and the sponsoring institution.  •  Community-building: as a result o f participation in making decisions about their community, people develop relationships with one another and enhance their skills and knowledge as a group. These changes' may have positive long-term impacts on their sense of community, their ability to work together, and their ability to contribute to the ongoing maintenance and improvement o f their community.  Thomas Beierle and Jerry Cayford surveyed some 239 cases to measure their performance with respect to many o f these outcomes. They found that "Considerably more public participation cases in our database produced good outcomes than produced bad outcomes. As a group, the cases were most successful in educating and informing the public and least successful in building trust in institutions. Falling in between were the results for incorporating public values into decisions, improving the substantive quality o f decisions, and resolving conflict among competing interests. As an indication o f the outcomes o f a varied set o f stakeholder processes, the case study p o o l gives an optimistic view o f what such processes can accomplish." (p. 33)  .  In their research, Beierle and Cayford highlighted "[a] tension between achieving social goals among participants and failing to engage the wider public" (p. 33). T h i s manifested itself in a number o f ways, for instance avoiding or downplaying some issues in order to agree on others; involving only a small group o f participants, and educating small numbers o f participants but not doing the same'for the general public. T h i s tension between the inclusiveness and intensive discussion is raised by other authors, particularly within literature on deliberative processes (e.g. Abelson, 2003). Beierle and Cayford (2002) also looked at relationships between the potential outcomes. T h e y found that most were closely correlated. F o r example, the degree to which trust was built correlated closely with the degree o f public influence — measured by the incorporation o f public values. "In low-trust situations, then, the public may need to be granted more influence to convince them o f the legitimacy o f the public participation process" (p. 68). T h e research on goals — and therefore potential outcomes o f participatory processes — showed a high degree o f agreement on what they are, that a given process can achieve most o f them, and that processes may make trade-offs in order to achieve their goals. These trade-offs could have longterm impacts on the decision's acceptance, stability and implementability. W h i l e it is important to be aware o f the outcomes o f a process, it is also necessary to understand the role o f context and process in producing them — the topic o f the next section. Relationships Between Context, Process, and O u t c o m e  Beierle and Cayford (2002) assessed relationships between the three elements in an effort to learn what factors influenced outcomes. T o begin with, context and process generally occur before outcomes, so the relationships between them are most often one-way. However, context may  "  I  3  1  change during a process, indeed because o f it, and some outcomes may develop as the process goes on, so there is some room for bidirectional influences. The strength of the relationships, however, ' is less defined than the direction of influence. The authors used a case survey method to compare the success of some 239 case studies of participatory processes. They found that contextual factors such as the quality of pre-existing relationships, the level(s) of government involved, and the type of issue were only weakly linked with the eventual degree of success (p. 40). However, it was not possible to conclude that contextual factors have no significant influence on outcome given such a short list of factors. O n the contrary, they were able to "infer that preexisting conflict and mistrust have more impact on the success of public participation when the public participation processes are less intensive" (p. 39). This may suggest that one type of process may be more suited to a given context than another, an idea that requires further research with other contextual factors. The emphasis of many practical guides on a contingent approach (i.e. one that is different in different situations (e.g. Canadian Standards Association, 1996)) reflects practitioners' sense that contextual factors should inform the design of decision-making processes that potentially involve the public. The influence of process characteristics on success was much stronger than that of context (Beierle and Cayford, 2002, p. 54). In decreasing order of influence, responsiveness of the process sponsor, motivation of participants, quality of deliberation, and degree of public control all had statistically significant impacts on process success. Processes were more successful when: • sponsor personnel'and participants were involved in active deliberation, adequate resources were available, c o m m u n i c a t i o n s were good, and high-level decision-makers were involved (p. 50); ' • participants had positive attitudes towards the process (p. 51); ^ • deliberation quality was rated "medium" or "high," although there was little data about this issue for processes with poor deliberation (p. 52); and • when there was a high degree of public control, although the correlation between high public control and success was weak. In another study, Lauber and Knuth (1999) "studied how citizens perceived the fairness and quality of the process and identified the criteria on which they based their perceptions." Like Beierle, they were able to show that there was a significant correlation between procedural fairness and outcomes, although it was impossible to say whether or not the relationships were causal. This correlation showed that citizens' perceptions of procedural fairness, are related, to their eventual acceptance of decisions. Beierle and Cayford concluded that more intense, deliberative types of processes were generally more successful, although this success may be due in part to leaving out the general public or ignoring issues.  Summary: Figure 6 illustrates the conceptual model that results from this review of context, process, and outcome. Participatory decision-making processes can be understood as strategic responses to a range of contextual factors including characteristics of the community and the institution that is sponsoring the process. The strategy is composed of a group decision-making process driven by goals and '  32  Context  , process responds  Community De  ./  ,\ .  sion — institution  Process • •  Strategic response Participation occurs in an overall group decision-making framework  • ,  ,strong'influence'. on outcome  Outcome impacts on  Characteristics: •  representativeness  •  access and competence  •  interplay of reason and power  •••-we"akinflucnce :  decision quality impacts on community  IT  oh outcome  Figure 6: Conceptual Framework — Refined objectives and incorporating different methods of inviting public participation. The process is characterized by the representativeness of participants, participant access to and competence in information and decision-making, and the interplay of power and reason in the making of decisions. Most participatory processes have the potential, to produce a series of desirable outcomes. The degree to which they are successful in doing so is influenced strongly by process design and implementation. Evaluation  "Evaluation of [citizen involvement] is very difficult and an infant art" (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2001). While there are a myriad of case studies of public participation, and some broader studies, it was not until recently that serious efforts have begun to be made to evaluate large numbers of cases using similar criteria. Many studies describe cases and draw recommendations for good practice or identify lessons learned without beginning with a robust framework for analysis (e.g. Helling, 1998): Even when an analytical framework is made explicit, evaluation of public participation often incorporates a large qualitative element and is an enormously subjective activity (Webler, 1995). Evaluation of public participation has proven difficult because criteria are often ill-defined and it is difficult to apply them objectively. Chess and Purcell (1999) state that in many cases, evaluation criteria are based on process objectives, but these are rarely explicit, and even if they are, objectives of participants and planners vary widely. Similarly, Checkoway and van T i l (1978) pointed out that "how one views the world through ideological perspectives — elitist, Marxist, or citizen theorist — directly affects how one evaluates any particular participatory exercise." Managerialists prefer easily measurable indicators of success, and therefore select more quantitative measures, such as the number of people involved or the completion of program activities. Pluralists may assess the degree of stakeholder satisfaction with the process and the plan. Populists in turn may be more inclined to assess the degree of community influence over the process, and the extent to which the community was strengthened by it. It is clear that even the selection of appropriate, objective criteria may be difficult because of philosophical differences over public participation. ^  33  Classification Researchers have attempted to bring cjarity to the evaluation o f public participation in two ways: by classifying evaluation methods, and by drawing coherent principles from either theory or practice. There are three key ways to classify evaluations o f participatory processes: •  Theory- or practice-based evaluations (Chess & Purcell, 1999): Theory-based evaluations build a set o f criteria from a theoretical position about what participation should achieve or how it should be conducted, while practice-based evaluations begin with 'best practice' and focus on experience as a source o f knowledge about what is 'good' participatory process.  •  Process- or outcome-based evaluations (Beierle & Cayford, 2002). Process evaluations focus on how participation happens, including the choice o f techniques and how they are implemented. Outcome evaluations focus instead on the results o f participation, such as improved decisions or enhanced community. W i t h respect to outcome-oriented evaluations, timing is a critical issue. There are different types o f evaluations depending on when they are conducted (Innes, 1999, pp. 632-633): ( I ) midcourse evaluations to improve process; (2) end-of-process, to evaluate participant satisfaction and identify "firstorder outcomes;" and (3) retrospective evaluations, well after a process is over, to identify value and stability o f decisions, and durability o f relationships. T h e ability o f the evaluation to address outcome criteria is limited by the stage at which it is done. F o r instance, mid-course and end-of-process evaluations can rarely address how much a community is strengthened because the results o f community-building often take years to appear.  •  Quantitative or qualitative evaluations. W h i l e qualitative evaluations provide in-depth information, they are also time-consuming and may not be easy to repeat i n different situations. Quantitative evaluations can permit comparison across different processes in a less time-consuming way, but do not provide the same richness o f information (Halvorsen, 2001).  !  W h i l e most evaluations incorporate some qualitative and quantitative aspects, and many also assess process and outcome, theoretical and practice-based frameworks are fairly exclusive categories. I n developing a good evaluative framework, it is useful to review some o f these frameworks, and to compare the criteria obtained from theory and practice to see i f there is a match.  Recent Evaluation Frameworks In the last few years, researchers have relied on a theoretical foundation to develop a consistent, defensible set o f evaluation criteria. T h e advantage o f using theory as a starting point is that a coherent framework is possible, while the disadvantage is that it is only acceptable to those who agree with the underlying theory. T w o researchers developed theoretical evaluations based in democratic theory: Thomas Webler for process, and Thomas Beierle for outcomes. A third group o f researchers, Bruce Lauber and Barbara Knuth, developed criteria based in social psychology. •  Thomas Webler worked for some time in developing and conducting participation processes in environmental decision-making. H e became frustrated with evaluating a  34  process based on either outcome — because o f problems with identifying the common good — or participant satisfaction — because it is inherently subjective. A s a result, he looked to theory as an ideal, a 'yardstick/ with which to compare real processes, and to the quality o f the process rather than the outcome. Starting from a democratic perspective, he identified two "meta-criteria" — fairness and competence, which should be met in any participatory process. H e developed these criteria on the basis o f Jurgen Habermas' critical theory, which proposes that communicative action — talk that is action-oriented, like planning and design — should be rational and fair. H e called this the "ideal speech" . situation.' However, W e b l e r recognized that Habermas did not account for the reality that most participants are not equally competent: power, access to knowledge and expertise make it difficult for participants to have a fair, rational discussion. A s a result, he changed the "ideal speech" criteria to account for issues o f competence. H i s criteria fall into three categories: representation, including the selection and composition o f participants; procedural rules, including quality o f deliberation and degree o f participant control o f decisions about the process; and information, including its selection, quality, and interpretation (Webler, 1995). •  Thomas Beierle, meanwhile, chose to focus on outcomes. H e looked for a framework that "identifies the strengths and weaknesses o f a number o f different participatory mechanisms, is 'objective' in the sense o f not taking the perspective o f any one party to a • decision, and measures tangible outcomes" (Beierle, 1998, p. ii). Beierle started with democracy, asking what problems participation was intended to fix. A n evaluation would then ask whether participation had achieved its goal o f fixing the problems with the democratic system. Based on this analysis, Beierle identified a number o f social goals, listed in detail earlier in this paper.  •  F o r a third perspective, Bruce Lauber and Barbara K n u t h approached the evaluation from a social psychology perspective, asking what criteria citizens actually use to evaluate participatory processes. In social psychology studies, other types o f decision-making, such as legal procedures, have been assessed, and fairness was often found to be "a major consideration in how people form their subjective impressions o f these procedures" (Lauber & Knuth, 1999, p. 20). They used these studies to identify criteria that related to the quality and fairness o f participatory decision-making, and then refined and checked them with participants, in a moose management program, taking the theory into the world . of practice. T h e result was nine independent criteria used by citizens to evaluate participatory processes: ( I ) agency receptivity to citizen input — incorporating honesty and integrity, (2) participants' influence over the decision, (3) degree to which the agency was well informed and had good reasons for decisions, (4) adequate participation — equal opportunity to speak, ability to voice opinion, and representation, (5) enhancement o f relationships among stakeholders, (6) citizens' knowledge, (7) cost, (8) time used, and (9) stability o f the decision. T h e first four related closely to procedural fairness, while the others dealt with other aspects o f process evaluation.  Despite theoretical differences, there is significant overlap between the criteria. F o r example, Webler's starting point in "ideal speech" and Lauber and Knuth's in social psychology produced similar criteria — participants' influence, honesty, integrity, representation, ability to speak, and knowledge. Similarly, Lauber and Knuth's outcome criteria compare well with Beierle's criteria —  35  compare "cost and time used"-with "cost-effectiveness"; or "enhancement o f relationships" with "reducing conflict." In contrast to these theoretical evaluations, a common approach is to use practical experience as the basis for a consistent set o f evaluation criteria. T h e strength o f this approach is the weight experience carries for practitioners, while its weakness is that it may lack coherence and completeness. Practice-based evaluations can be conducted in a host o f ways, for example evaluation by participants or by managers responsible for processes, and using a range o f methods, for example surveys or interviews. T h e following list provides a sampling o f practice-based evaluations: •  In 1998, the City o f Vancouver evaluated public participation in a-range o f planning processes — from the city-wide CityPlan process to small-scale neighbourhood plans, and decisions about non-physical matters. Criteria were developed by a group consisting o f both participants and planners. Criteria covered both process and outcome concerns, including for example representativeness, resourcing, the degree o f participant control, quality o f information, incorporation o f participant input, and development o f good, longterm relationships (City o f Vancouver, 1998).  •  Chess and Purcell reviewed many evaluations o f N o r t h American processes that  1  incorporated public meetings, workshops, and citizen advisory panels (public advisory committees) to explore definitions o f success and to consider the implications for practice. They found a diversity o f criteria for success, and distinguished the origins o f these criteria as coming from either theory or participants. T h e researchers concluded that the studies they reviewed supported, but did not prove or disprove some practitioners' rules o f thumb: ( I ) clarify goals, (2) begin participation early, (3) adapt methods to suit process goals, (4) incorporate various forms o f participation, and (5) collect, feedback on the process. W h i l e Chess and Purcell were most interested in what works — and presumably what doesn't • - work — there is more to be gained from their research: the studies they list had a number of criteria in common. Theseincluded for example process-related criteria such as timing, representation, cost, participant control and access to information; and outcome-related criteria such as participant influence (or perceived influence) on decisions and improved decisions. T h i s list o f criteria illustrated the range o f available measures, but the authors , did not attempt to endorse any o f them. •  Where Chess and Purcell looked at the broad N o r t h American experience, the U K Department o f the Environment's Planning Research Programme (1994) looked at "Community Involvement in Planning and Development Process" in Britain. T h e researchers were asked to assess the effectiveness o f community involvement. In a literature review, they were unable to find any examples o f the application o f criteria for effectiveness o f involvement, so the team developed their own criteria, based on their terms o f reference, the literature, and the concerns o f people who responded to their early work. As work on case studies proceeded, the study team confirmed and refined their criteria, resulting in eight outcome-based criteria: achieving the "objectives o f all," resolving conflict, improving product quality, an agreed process, efficient use o f resources, stimulates commitment, and builds community capacity. This evaluation framework had the advantage that the criteria have been verified by field-testing.  36  •  T h e Canadian Standards Association ( C S A ) provided an evaluation matrix i n their Guide to Public Involvement (Canadian Standards Association, 1996, pp. I I 3 - I I 4 ) that focused primarily on operational aspects o f public involvement. T h e y asked questions in three categories:.relevance — were the right actions taken; results — what were the results and impacts o f the process; and cost-effectiveness. "Relevance" questions could be asked during the process, an on-going assessment o f its direction and success. One example is "Are the public information, communication, and media relations activities appropriate?" Results questions focused on similar themes, for example asking " W h a t is the impact o f communications and media relations activities on the results?" Finally, cost-effectiveness questions focused on what could be done better next time: " W h a t alternative communication strategies could have been used to better support the process?" T h i s approach to evaluation has the advantage that it can be used in virtually any situation, and the disadvantage that it does little to differentiate between good and bad processes: it would be nice to know, for example, what an "appropriate" communications strategy would be.  Towards a Comprehensive Evaluation Framework It. is clear from the preceding discussion that there is a myriad o f approaches to understanding public participation and its evaluation, all o f which have their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, evaluation o f participation is as contested as participation itself. T h e issue has become how to move forward from these different approaches to a complete evaluation framework for participatory processes. Such an evaluation must directly address the conceptual framework used to understand the process in question (Weiss, 1998).  —.\ Researchers have used evaluation to directly address different elements o f public participation. T h i s research has had two purposes: to learn more about public participation in general (theorybuilding) and to evaluate actual processes using that understanding (theory-testing). Evaluators have: •  assessed the quality o f process;  •  assessed the success o f outcomes;  • " proposed strategic principles for the selection o f processes in different contexts; •  assessed the influence o f context on outcomes; and  •  assessed the influence o f process on outcomes.  T o date with respect to process evaluations, "it is significant that much o f what practitioners have developed over the years through long and extensive experience as rules o f thumb is now being found to be consistent with a growing body o f literature based on more explicit theorizing and experimentation." (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2 0 0 1 , p. 292) • As discussed earlier, there is a similarly high degree o f agreement on outcomes. However, relationships between elements have received less attention: only Beierle and Cayford (2002) carefully evaluated the relationship o f process and outcome, only Thomas (1995) has carefully tested a strategy for selection o f processes, and little work has been done to relate context and  37  outcome. These are the weakest elements o f the conceptual model and therefore also the weakest elements o f an evaluation framework.  •i  ..  •  Julia Abelson has recently proposed an evaluation framework for deliberative processes that reflects the strongest points o f the conceptual framework, combining Beierle's criteria for outcomes with Webler's criteria for process (Abelson, et al., 2 0 0 3 ) . However, it may not apply as well to lessintensive approaches. T h e literature has not yet come to grips with evaluation in a contingent world: how to build an evaluation framework that can be applied across different contexts and types o f process. . .• In summary, evaluation o f public participation is still in its infant stages. Different researchers use different sets o f evaluation criteria, based in part on their philosophical approaches to public participation itself. However, recent theoretical developments have permitted researchers to better structure their evaluations, and it is now possible to see a high degree o f agreement about the range o f evaluation criteria. Because public participation processes are by nature "contested space," the issue o f subjectivity is unavoidable, but can be addressed i n part by using more than one method. It may now be possible to achieve a relatively unbiased evaluation o f a public participation process using commonly accepted criteria within a complete conceptual framework.  2.3  Summary  Public participation is a contested, complex and evolving field. It has its roots in often conflicting democratic and management theories and philosophies: •  pluralists believe that direct participation leading to resolution o f differences in the community should be used to make decisions;  •  populists believe that the community should make decisions itself, through devolution o f decision-making power to community members; and  •  managerialists believe that bureaucrats — as experts who are given discretionary power by elected government — should make decisions on behalf o f the community.  Public participation is a complex phenomenon. It occurs within a broad context o f community and institutional characteristics, and within the narrower context o f a particular decision or set o f decisions. Decision-making processes have varying goals and objectives at various stages, and a tremendous variety o f methods are available to permit the public's participation. T h e implementation o f methods is a complicated task, requiring attention to a range o f characteristics that may influence the method's effectiveness. A t the end o f the process, a range o f outcomes are possible — some intended, some not. Finally, the contested nature o f participation is reflected in different views o f participants about the importance o f various outcomes and process characteristics, and all o f these may interrelate and conflict.  ,  T h e complex and contested nature o f the field has driven the evolution o f a greater understanding o f the, concept. It is now possible to clarify the elements o f participatory decision-making processes, to understand the nature o f those elements, and to investigate the relationships between them. F o r instance, practitioners now agree on "rules o f thumb" to guide process implementation (Dorcey & McDaniels, 2 0 0 1 ) . Gaps remain primarily in understanding the relationships between context, process and outcome.  38  T h e relationship between context and process has long been addressed through ad hoc contingent approaches — matching methods to context. Recent efforts have been made to develop and test theories about how best to do this, leading to more robust process design. A l o n g with the understanding o f relationships between process and outcome, this effort represents a first step in filling the gaps o f our knowledge o f participatory decision-making processes. T h e evaluation o f public participation reflects its complexity and contested nature, and remains "an infant art." Nevertheless, the range o f issues to be considered appears to be well-established, and recent efforts to develop and structure a more complete picture o f participatory processes have led to more robust, defensible evaluation frameworks. Let us return to the three questions posed at the beginning o f this chapter: •  " W h a t is good public involvement?"  •  " W h y was it (not) good?" and  •  " H o w do we know when public participation is (not) good?"  T h i s review has shown that there is general agreement about the characteristics o f good participation. W e also have a general understanding o f how contextual factors and process characteristics relate to process success. However, issues o f measurement and latitude i n interpretation and emphasis make evaluation o f the quality o f public participation difficult. Finally, public participation holds great potential to enhance decisions and build community, and to do so cost-effectively. T h e challenge is, i n each individual case, to understand how best to achieve that potential, and to pull together the many elements that are necessary to do so.  39  PART II: Studying the University Boulevard Case  40  Chapter 3: Research Methods T h i s chapter outlines the questions asked by this research, its scope, and its underlying assumptions, and describes the methods used to answer the questions. In Chapter I , my personal background and resulting potential to be biased were discussed. F o r an evaluation to be accepted by a wide range o f people, it cannot be based on a single philosophical' position and it should be well-supported. As a result, it is essential that the issue o f potential bias be addressed throughout the research design and implementation. F o r that reason, special attention will be paid in this section to describing how the potential for biased findings-was minimized. There are four main areas in which bias may present itself: the evaluation framework, data collection, data analysis, and reporting. Potential bias was addressed in the following ways: •  maximizing the objectivity o f the evaluation framework — maximizing the validity o f selected criteria, clearly stating criteria, and using a contingent approach rather than choosing a particular philosophical perspective;  •  collecting a range o f types o f data and using a representative sample o f interviewees;  •  being explicit about my own bias and background;  •  relying'on multiple, balanced sources wherever possible in data analysis; and  •  repotting in as balanced a manner as possible, presenting direct quotations where appropriate.  The following sections describe the research design, data collection and analysis, and documentation o f the evaluation.  3.1  Research Questions  F r o m February to A p r i l -2003, the University conducted a 'public consultation' process that presented a draft plan for the University Boulevard neighbourhood at the University o f British Columbia. T h e process was the subject o f significant criticism from the public and the School o f Community and Regional Planning, but the University defended its process, describing it as an extensive consultation that went beyond minimum requirements.. T h i s difference o f opinion highlighted two questions about the participation o f the public in planning decisions: to what degree was this public participation process successful; and how can a public participation process be objectively evaluated? T h i s research was an attempt to answer these questions, and to draw conclusions about evaluation o f public consultation that may be applied elsewhere. T w o key questions guided the study •  T o what degree was public participation i n the University Boulevard neighbourhood planning process successful and why?  •  W h a t lessons does this research teach us about evaluation o f public participation?  Based on the two questions, the goals o f the research were: •  to develop a robust evaluation framework for public participation; -  •  to describe the participatory process in this case;  •  to understand what participation process considerations may be particular to this planning process;  •  -  to analyze the process by applying the chosen evaluation framework;  41  •  to provide recommendations for the improvement o f public participation in planning processes at U B C ; and  •  3.2  to identify lessons learned about evaluation o f public participation processes.  Scope  T h e subject o f this research is participation in the physical planning process for the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Area at the University o f British Columbia in Vancouver, B C . T h e process began with the development o f a first draft plan in 2001, which was rejected by the Board of Governors. A second draft plan was prepared in stages from October 2001 to February 2003, and it was presented to the public from February to A p r i l 2003. Although the University aimed to complete planning for the'area in M a y 2003, the plan was revised and presented to the public in June and September. It was eventually approved in October 2003. Rather than consider the entire process, this research focuses on the portion that resulted in the presentation o f the second draft plan in spring o f 2003. T h i s part began with U B C Board o f Governors concerns over the first plan in September 2 0 0 1 , and ended in M a y 2003, after U B C reported on the consultation process. As such, the research is a snapshot o f an unfolding planning process that involves participation o f the public. T h e scope o f the case'.can be defined first by what it is and what it is not, and second by its , characteristics (Babbie, 1998). Here, the case considered a physical planning process, rather than a policy development process: the key result o f the process was a plan that had incorporated the arrangement o f three-dimensional space in an urban context as a significant element. T h e design was at a "neighbourhood" scale, not at a regional, municipal, or parcel scale. It considered an area roughly 300 m by 100 m in size, about 3 hectares, and addressed building massing and siting, roadway and building design, land uses, and servicing and transportation. It took place on a university campus in British Columbia Canada, not in a conventional Canadian municipal governance system. T h e process had elements o f public participation, so it was not purely technical. It incorporated a number o f types o f public participation, including on-line information and feedback, Open Houses, Presentations, Citizen Advisory Committees and Public Meetings. Participation was initiated by the University, not by citizens. Finally, it was an incomplete process, in the sense that one o f its outcomes was an extension o f the planning and participation process. In summary, the University Boulevard case studied here was: an incomplete physical planning process at a neighbourhood scale that incorporated public involvement, initiated by the University on whose lands it took place, in a governance system that was different from a conventional municipal system. '  3.3  Critical Assumptions  Every research project makes some assumptions in order to frame and scope the project; this project is no exception. T h e following is a short list o f the key assumptions that underlie this project. • •  It is possible to evaluate a participatory decision-making process fairly. It is possible to evaluate one part o f a participatory decision-making process, by treating other parts o f the process as context and outcomes.  •  A method that does not focus on detailed qualities o f interpersonal interaction is adequate to evaluate participation when it does not encompass significantly deliberative processes.'  42  •  It is possible and appropriate to understand participatory decision-making primarily in terms o f formal processes, excluding informal interpersonal relationships and their effect on the design and implementation o f the formal processes themselves.  3.4  Type of Research  This was an evaluation o f a particular case o f participation in physical planning. It was informed by two research methods: evaluation research and case study research, and was primarily concerned with two tasks: description and explanation. In his book Case Study Research: Design and Methods ( Y i n , 1 9 9 4 ) Robert Y i n defined a case study as "an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident;, and in which multiple sources o f evidence are used." (p. 23.) Further, a case study is preferred when "a 'how' or 'why' question is being asked about a contemporary set o f events, over which the researcher has little or no control." (p. 20) These criteria were met i n this study,, and the description o f a case study fits very well with the situation at hand. Y i n also' describes the role o f case studies, in evaluation research — they serve to: •  "explain causal links i n real-life interactions;  •  describe the context o f an interaction;  •  describe the intervention itself; [and]  •  explore those situations in which the intervention being evaluated has no clear set o f outcomes." (p. 25)  In public participation processes, causal links between context, process, and outcome are common, unresolved issues o f study (Beierle & Cayford, 2002). T h e context o f any participatory decisionmaking process includes established power structures, attitudes o f those planning and participating in the process, previous decisions and decision-making processes, and many other factors. A clear _ description o f the goings-on in and around participatory processes is important in any evaluation because they have the potential to significantly affect the process. A complete description o f participatory decision-making itself would require analysis at various scales, from its role in . participatory democracy to the interplay o f different personalities, skills, and attitudes characteristic o f small group interactions (Fairness and Competence in Public Participation: Evaluating Models for Environmental Discourse, 1995). W h i l e some o f these characteristics may be measured quantitatively, most require qualitative information — like that available from case study methods — for effective evaluation. Finally, participatory processes rarely have clearly articulated goals, and often different participants have different goals for the process: there are no clear outcomes. Participatory decision-making processes such as this one are an excellent subject for evaluation using case study research methods.  3.5  Evaluation Strategy  Qualitative research like this case study generally follows a four-stage process ( K i r k & M i l l e r , 1986): research design, data collection, analysis, and documentation. In this research, these stages were broken down further into a seven-step process. T h e following list shows the research steps and their relationship to the four stages. Research Design: ' •  r  ••,  review o f literature to develop a conceptual understanding o f participatory processes and their evaluation;  43  • . development o f an evaluation framework based on the literature review; and •  selection o f methods to suit the evaluation framework. '\  ••.  .  Data Collection: •  collection o f relevant data.  •  Analysis: • description o f the University Boulevard process and relevant related facts; and • evaluation o f the process, Documentation • documentation o f analysis and conclusions  _/-> .  T h i s section describes each o f the seven steps to explain how the research was structured and conducted. It begins with a statement o f principles and then describes each o f the seven steps outlined above.  Guiding Principles for Evaluation Carol Weiss (1998) defines evaluation as "the systematic assessment o f the operation a n d / o r the outcomes o f a program or policy, compared to explicit or implicit standards, in order to help improve the program or policy" (p. 18). T h e American Evaluation Association adopted a set o f guiding principles for professional evaluators in 1994. These principles assume "that evaluators aspire to construct and provide the best possible information that might bear on the value o f whatever is being evaluated. T h e principles are intended to foster that primary aim" (p. I ) . These principles are reflected in the methods used for this evaluation. Together with the definition o f evaluation, they provide a framework to guide the selection and implementation o f an effective evaluation. ' . "Systematic Inquiry. Evaluators conduct systematic, data-based inquiries about whatever is being evaluated. Competence. Evaluators provide competent performance to stakeholders. Integrity/Honesty.  Evaluators ensure the honesty and integrity o f the entire  evaluation process.  >  Respect for People. Evaluators respect the security, dignity and self-worth o f the respondents, program participants, clients, and other stakeholders with  1  whom they interact. Responsibilities  for General and Public Welfare. Evaluators articulate and take into account  the diversity o f interests and values that may'be related to the general and public welfare." ("Guiding Principles for Evaluators," 1994)  • 44 i  Research Design Research design consists o f the first three steps o f this research process: literature review, development o f an evaluation framework, and selection o f data collection methods. These were necessary before research was begun in earnest.  Step I: Literature Review Both academic literature and practice-oriented documents were reviewed to develop an understanding o f the "state o f the art" in participatory decision-making processes and their evaluation. In the first phase, immediately available review articles and books were read to develop basic knowledge o f the field. T o deepen and broaden that review, two methods were used to find more references: identifying and obtaining relevant work cited in documents from the first phase, and searching article databases and libraries for works that referenced public participation and related topics. M o r e recent documents and those that dealt specifically with evaluation were selected. T h e process o f reading documents and obtaining the most relevant citations from them continued iteratively throughout the evaluation as unanswered questions or previously unidentified issues arose. T h e understanding o f public involvement developed through the literature review increased the evaluator's competence in evaluation o f public participation and provided a basis for systematic inquiry into the University Boulevard process itself. 3  Step 2: Development of the Evaluation Framework Having identified research questions, the first step in research design was to select a general approach that is appropriate to the subject o f the research. First, critical information about participatory decision-making processes is highly qualitative in nature, so an appropriate evaluation approach had to be compatible with a qualitative subject. Second, the University Boulevard neighbourhood planning process^had already begun when the decision was taken to evaluate it, so an experiment would have been difficult or impossible to do. Furthermore, the fact that participatory processes are so closely related to their contexts makes it virtually impossible to replicate them, making experimental design inappropriate. Participatory decision-making processes are decision-making processes, so their outcomes include decisions. Although they often impact participants, they are distinct from programs whose primary aim is changing participants, such as medical programs that improve participants' health. Therefore, the overall research design could not be limited to comparing participants and non-participants. A different sort o f comparison might have been to compare two similar processes in different contexts, or two different processes in a similar context. However, resource and time constraints inherent in a master's thesis made such comparisons impossible for this project. Given the nature o f the research subject and the constraints on the research, a "one-group" design that takes place, after the program is complete was selected. T h e disadvantage o f this approach for many program evaluations is that "it leaves room for differing interpretations about how much change has occurred and how much of the observed change was due to the operation o f the (  program" (Weiss, 1998, p. 193); the advantage o f such a design is that it can provide a good preliminary assessment o f the program. It was used for this research on the understanding that the As noted in Chapter 2, many terms are used to describe public participation. At various times, searches were made using the terms "public participation," "citizen participation," "citizen involvement," "public involvement," "community participation," "community involvement," "public consultation," and "community consultation." 3  45  evaluation would be preliminary, and that significant efforts would be made in each phase o f the research to ensure objectivity despite its preliminary nature. Starting with the "one-group" approach, the next steps were identification o f an evaluative framework and then selection o f data collection methods to suit the criteria to be evaluated. T h e development o f an evaluation framework can rely to a greater or lesser extent on theory about how a program works, what its outcomes are, and the relationships between process and outcome — program theory (Weiss, 1998). Weiss stated specifically that "qualitative evaluation.is highly compatible with the idea o f program theory" (p. 265). F o r this project, the conceptual framework developed in Chapter 2 provided a ready source o f accepted theory on which to base an evaluation framework. T h e combined process-outcome framework suggested by Julia Abelson et al. (2003) was used as a starting point for this research (Table 2). Representation  Procedural Rules  Information  Outcomes/Decisions  Legitimacy and fairness o f selection  Degree o f citizen cbntrol/input into  Characteristics (accessibility,  Legitimacy, and accountability of: '  process  agenda, rules, selection  readability,  •  o f information and  digestibility)  •  Representativeness  experts Selection and  demographic, i  :  community)  communication o f decisions  (geographic, political,  decision-making  Deliberation (amount  presentation  o f time, emphasis on challenging experts,  (who chooses information and  mutual respect)  experts)  Participant selection  •  responses to decision and input  M o r e informed citizenry Achievement o f  vs. self-selection  Credibility/legitimacy  Interpretation  consensus (broad  (Adequacy o f time to  Inclusiveness vs.  o f process (what point in decision-making is  exclusiveness  input sought, who is  consider, discuss; and challenge the  understanding arid acceptance o f decision)  listening)  information)  Table 2: Initial Evaluation Framework  Better decision(s)  4  In the interests o f systematic inquiry, the American Evaluators Association (1994) states that: . •  "Evaluators should adhere to the highest appropriate technical standards in conducting their work, whether that work is quantitative or qualitative in nature, so as to increase the accuracy and credibility o f the evaluative information they produce.  •  Evaluators should explore with the client the shortcomings and strengths both o f the various evaluation questions it might be productive to ask, and the various approaches that might be used for answering those questions."  In order to "increase the accuracy and credibility o f the evaluative information," the first challenge was ensuring that the initial evaluation framework was as objective as possible. There are different ways o f ensuring objectivity. One approach is to maximize validity (it gave^ the right answer) and reliability (yielded the same answer repeatedly under the same conditions) as applied to qualitative 4  Abelson, et al., 2003.  46  research ( K i r k & M i l l e r , 1986). I f it was not already a complete and objective framework, the challenge was to improve it. T o do so, validity and reliability were assessed in turn.  Validity In their book Reliability and V a l i d i t y in Qualitative Research, Jerome K i r k and M a r c M i l l e r define three types o f validity (p.22-23): • •  •  apparent validity — when a measurement is obviously accurate; theoretical validity (or "construct" validity) — when a measurement obtains a result predicted by a strongly supported theory (e.g. a thermometer is calibrated in boiling water • on the theoretical assumption that water always boils at the same temperature); and instrumental validity (or "criterion" validity) — when a measurement obtains the same results as a measurement that is accepted as valid.  T o assess the validity o f Abelson's framework, the three measures o f validity were taken in turn. In this case, the literature review suggested that evaluations o f participatory processes are never obviously accurate because o f the subjectivity o f the subject matter and the evaluation, meaning that the framework could not be apparently valid.' Second, while there certainly are theories, about public participation, the support for a given theory may depend on one's perspective. Furthermore, some o f the theories are new and relatively untested. T h e lack o f a strong and accepted theory made it impossible to measure theoretical validity in this case. Similarly, the measurement o f instrumental validity was confounded because " . . .there is little comprehensive or systematic consideration o f these matters in the academic literature..." (Rowe & Frewer, 2000). In his book T h e Practice o f Social Research (1998), Earl Babbie identifies another weaker but useful measure o f validity that is related to instrumental validity: •  content validity — a measurement is valid i f it is based in a commonly agreed meaning.  Essentially, content validity is a measure o f the degree to which people agree that a term is appropriately defined.. Three measurements o f this validity are important: the number o f people . who agree on the measure, the degree to which they agree, and the degree to which those people are representative o f the group o f people who are competent in the field. In order to measure the framework's content validity, the criteria were listed and compared to criteria found in the literature. Twenty-seven documents were reviewed, seven o f which incorporated literature reviews o f their own . Because the philosophies o f public participation are 3  so varied, it was crucial to compare Abelson's criteria to criteria that span the range o f philosophical approaches as well as covering both practical and theoretical work. T h e references included both theoretical frameworks and practical evaluations, covered the health,'environment, risk management, and planning sectors, represent a variety o f people from a government body to a  5  The sources reviewed were: Abelson, et al., 2003; Arnstein, 1969; Checkoway & van T i l , 1978; Chess & Purcell,  1999; City of Vancouver 1998; Canadian Standards Association 1996; City of North Vancouver, 2000; Francis, Cashden, and Paxson 1984 (in Sanoff 2000); Graham, Phillips & Maslove, 1998; Graham & Phillips,.1998a; Graham &Phillips, 1998b; Gregory & Rowley, 1999; Halvorsen, 200I;Innes 1999; Lach and Hixson 1996 (in Sanoff 2000); Langton, 1978a; Langton, 1978b; Lauber & Knuth, 1999; Middendorf & Busch, 1997; Petts, 2001; Rosener, 1978; Rowe & Frewer, 2000; Sanoff, 2000; Thomas, 1995; The United Kingdom Department of the Environment,  1994;  Urban Design in Action, 1986; U S Department of Energy, n.d.; U S Environmental Protection Agency, 2000; Wates, • 2000.  47  participant group to a multi-agency committee, and represent a broad mixture o f perspectives from populists to mamgerialists. W h i l e they are a relatively small sample, they are representative o f those who are competent in the field. T h e following process was used to structure the assessment o f content validity: 1. additional criteria were identified from the review to complete the framework; x  2.  the number o f people who mentioned the criterion was used to gauge agreement;  3.  the relative similarity o f descriptions o f each criterion was used to gauge agreement; and  4.  where there was less agreement, the perspective o f the sources and their descriptions were used together to clarify sources o f disagreement.  T h e results o f this analysis were: • Additional criteria were identified; these were usually practical i n nature, dealing with issues o f process design. -One example was the criterion that methods should be matched to goals, which was mentioned by most sources. .- • •  '  It was possible to clarify the meaning o f the criteria. About half the criteria were strongly supported, including about half the process and outcome criteria and most o f the criteria relating context to process design.  •  Some criteria received medium levels o f support, despite the fact that they appeared to reflect "common sense," for example the criterion that adequate resources,should be available to conduct the process well. In many o f these cases, mention o f the criteria varied with the source's emphasis either on evaluation or practice. Resourcing was mentioned regularly by sources with a practical emphasis and infrequently by evaluators.  •  A few criteria were weakly supported. These appeared to be more appropriate for some types o f participation than others, for example participant control over agenda-setting, which was supported for deliberative or community-driven processes. Because they appeared to be more descriptors o f the process than evaluation criteria, they were treated in the framework as criteria whose definition was contingent on the type o f process, an approach used by the Canadian Standards Association (1996) to broadly characterize processes' (p.29-30). T h e C S A showed how a characteristic such as "Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and understood by everyone associated with the process" maps across a range o f purposes: i f the purpose was to "Share Information," then the proponent is responsible for setting roles and responsibilities and communicating them; i f the purpose was to "Share Decisions," then the stakeholders agree on the establishment o f roles and responsibilities. T h i s use o f weakly supported criteria in this way fits well with the contingent model outlined in Chapter 2.  T h e analysis was both difficult a n d useful. O n one h a n d , it illustrated the difficulties in developing a defensible, comprehensible set o f evaluation criteria given the wide v a r i a t i O n a n d lack o f systematic approaches in the literature. O n the other hand, it suggested that there is a relatively strong level o f agreement about what aspects o f participatory processes to consider in an evaluation i f it is approached i n a contingent manner. In summary, it was not possible to assess the validity o f Abelson's framework except as regards its content, but the exercise provided a greater degree o f clarity about the range, use, and definition o f evaluation criteria.  48  Reliability  •  '  "Reliability depends essentially on explicitly described observational procedures" ( K i r k & M i l l e r , 1986). As such, assessment of the reliability depends on how it is applied to a case. Earl Babbie (1998) suggests that using previously tested measures, based on an accumulation o f the literature, is one way to ensure reliability o f a method. In this case, the criteria have been applied in various different ways in various different situations and assessing each o f them is impractical within the constraints o f a Master's thesis. Rather than attempt to assess the reliability o f the framework itself, then, the focus turned to ensuring the reliability o f its application. Therefore, reliability will be dealt with in more detail in the discussion o f method selection. ,  k  •  Vecifiability Some researchers prefer to ensure "verifiability" in qualitative studies (Creswell, 1998). Morse et al (2002) defined and described the term: "Verification is the process o f checking, confirming, making sure, and being certain. In qualitative research, verification refers to the mechanisms used during the process o f research to incrementally contribute to ensuring reliability and validity and, thus, the rigor o f a study," In keeping with that description, Creswell (1998) suggests that at least 2 o f 8 methods be used in a study to ensure verifiability: • •  prolonged engagement and persistent observation; triangulation o f data sources;  •  peer review and debriefing;  •  refinement o f the hypothesis i n light o f negative or disconfirming evidence;  •  clarification o f researcher bias;  •  confirmation o f information with informants;  •  use o f thick, rich description; and  •  external audit o f the research.  ' -  Triangulation o f sources, faculty review, refinement o f the hypothesis (for each criterion), clarification o f bias, and confirmation o f information were all used to ensure verifiability in this research.  Summary and Description of the Proposed Framework T h e assessment o f validity and reliability produced two results. T h e first was a generally supported evaluation framework having a greater degree o f clarity about the range, use, and "•definition o f criteria. T h e second was an understanding that special attention had to be paid to the application o f the framework i f the evaluation was to be reliable. Before proceeding to discuss the collection o f data and its use in the evaluation, it is useful to describe both the framework and the approach necessary to its successful application. T h e evaluation framework is itself contingent, reflecting the understanding o f participatory processes developed in Chapter 2.  It is shown in Table 3, and is split into four sections: criteria respecting  response to context, contingent criteria, process criteria, and outcome criteria. T h e first section consists o f criteria that evaluate the strategy employed in the development o f the process itself.  49  T h e second section consists o f criteria whose definition must be refined to suit the evaluation to its subject. T h e process section is next, and is further broken down into three categories. T h e first category is Representativeness, which evaluates how participants are chosen and in what ways they are representative o f their community. Procedural Concerns is the second category. It addresses issues o f legitimacy (relationship o f participants to decision makers), reasonableness (flexibility and resourcing), accountability, and transparency. C o m m u n i c a t i o n and Information is about both the type and quality o f information as they affect participants' ability to participate. T h e last section consists o f a list o f the social goals o f public participation, expressed as potential outcomes. Finally, Table 3 shows the degreeof agreement next to each criterion. These ratings are very general and should be understood only in the context o f the preceding discussion o f the assessment "of content validity. , , 1  Application  Criteria Regarding Response to Context  Criterion • The choice of approach and techniques reflected organizational and planning goals. • Timing of participation was congruent with stages in'the decisionmaking process and followed from process goals. , Goals were established and process and decision constraints were identified at the beginning of the process. The process design responded to resource limitations, die nature of the • community at hand, local circumstances, the type of decision, and issuespecific concerns.  • Contingent Criteria  • •  Process Criteria  :  Agreement H H H M  There was an appropriate level of inclusiveness (i.e. number of people participating) (Representation section).  M  Participants were assisted in understanding relevant information (Information section). There was an appropriate level of citizen control over goal-setting, participant selection, information gathering and dissemination, selection of experts, and boundary definition (Procedural Rules section).  M M  Representation Participants were representative of the entire community across an array of characteristics such as demographic, cultural, political and geographic characteristics.  H  •  Access to events was assured through elimination of barriers, including provision of resources to community members.  M  •  Selection of participants was fair and legitimate.  L  Information  •  Information was easy for participants to understand, easy to access, made available in a timely manner, and unbiased.  M  •  Information was complete and expert.  M  •  Goals, constraints on the process, and constraints on the decision were clearly communicated to all those involved in the process.  Procedural Rules  50  H  -  1  Application  Criterion  •  Agreement  T h e process was honest, incorporating two-way communication w i t h  1  H  respectful relationships.  •  Decisions were transparent: the ways in w h i c h public input was  H  interpreted and i n which it informed decisions were communicated clearly to all those involved i n the process.  • • -  Outcome Criteria  Adequate resources were made available for the process.  M  Decision-makers were accountable: they were directly involved i n the  M  decision-making and participation process, not indirecdy via bureaucrats.  .  •  T h e process was flexible within a framework i n that it could adapt to  •  T h e decision was broadly accepted, and conflict within the community  •  P u b l i c input and values were reflected i n the decision.  •  T h e process was cost-effective.  H  •  Participants were educated and informed.  M •  •  T h e substantive quality o f the decisions was improved.  •  T r u s t o f the sponsoring institution was enhanced.  •  M M  T h e process provided tangible benefits to the community: closer  L  M  changing context.and lessons learned. H  was reduced. H  ' relationships and an enhanced sense o f community. 1. H — High; M — Medium; L — Low. These are qualitative assessments based on the analysis described in this Chapter.  Table 3: Evaluation Framework There are clearly interrelationships between different categories and criteria. F o r example, highquality deliberation is more easily achieved in a smaller group, so it is related to inclusiveness; equally, the ability to reach consensus is usually enhanced with greater opportunity for deliberation, so.it is also related to inclusiveness. However, the criteria stand alone to a large extent: it is also possible to have quality deliberation and greater inclusiveness in a larger group through discussion in a set o f sub-groups. In this case, o f course, cost will increase. These examples illustrate the interdependence o f the criteria as well as their distinctiveness. Because the evaluation framework is contingent, it must be applied in two steps. T h e first step is to evaluate the response to context. T h e context is first described, and elements o f a process design appropriate to it are established. T h e n the response to context is evaluated using the process elements as a benchmark. T h e second step is to evaluate the actual process and outcome(s). First, the contingent criteria are suited to the type o f process that actually occurred. T h e n process characteristics and outcomes are described and evaluated. T h e second part o f the evaluation fits it to the actual circumstances, permitting the evaluation o f intense small group processes differently from broadly inclusive processes, and even o f processes that combine the two. T h e contingent approach is useful because it allows the evaluator to evaluate both the process design and the process itself fairly. Step 3: S e l e c t i o n o f M e t h o d s  In the development o f the evaluation framework, it became clear that the reliability o f this evaluation would depend on its careful application — on the data collection, analysis, and reporting.  51  I  T h i s section begins by describing issues o f reliability in qualitative research and what was done to address those issues through the selection o f data collection methods. K i r k and M i l l e r (1986) identify three types o f reliability: "quixotic reliability," "diachronic reliability," and "synchronic reliability." ."Quixotic reliabdity" refers to a single method o f observation that yields the same measurement every time. A quixotically reliable measurement, however, may be inaccurate whatever its reliability, for example a "party line" response to a researcher's question. "Diachronic reliability" refers to the coherence o f two observations made at different times. Unfortunately, this measure o f reliability assumes that relevant conditions remain the same over time, something that is very rarely true in human relations. Finally, "synchronic reliability" refers to coherence between observations made in the same period. T h i s measure o f reliability suggests the comparison o f observations made by different methods to identify agreement and disagreement between methods or sources. Like validity, reliability is a difficult issue in the evaluation o f participatory processes. However, in this one-group research design, "diachronic reliability" does not apply, leaving considerations o f "quixotic reliability" and "synchronic reliability" to guide the evaluation. In this case, it was anticipated that "party lines" were likely from both institutional actors and members o f the public who were concerned about process. T h i s likelihood suggested that collecting data from sources on all sides would be necessary i f the results could be considered reliable. "Synchronic reliability" would be the measure o f choice to ensure the reliability o f the evaluation. T h e data sources available for the evaluation were: , •  individuals involved i n the process: administrators and participants (in interviews);  •  my personal observations as a participant in the process;  •  relevant documents produced before, during and after the process; and  •  media reports about the process.  T o maximize reliability, each o f these was used in the application o f the evaluation framework. Table 4 lists the criteria and the data sources consulted for their evaluation (Frechtlin & L . Sharp,  Participation was timed to be congruent with the decision-making process and it reflected goals. Goals were established and process and decision constraints identified at the outset. The process responded to contextual factors.  X  X  X X  Media.  Documents  observations  Personal  ; Criteria The approach and techniques reflected organizational and planning goals.  Individuals  Eds., 1997), and illustrates the reliance on multiple sources o f data for virtually all o f the criteria.  X X  X  X  X X  There was an appropriate level of inclusiveness.  X  There was an appropriate level of citizen control.  X  Participants were assisted in understanding relevant information.  X  X  X  Participants were representative of the entire community.  X  •X  X  Access to events was assured through elimination of barriers. •  X  X  X  X  X  X  Goals, constraints on the process, and constraints on the decision were clearly communicated to all those involved in the process. The process was honest and respectful, incorporating two-way communication.  X  X X  X  X  X  Decisions were transparent.  X  X  Decision-makers were accountable.  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  . The process was flexible within a framework. Information was easy for participanrs to understand, easy to access, made available in a timely manner, and unbiased. Information was' complete and expert. Adequate resources were made available for the process.  X  The decision was broadly accepted, and conflict was reduced.-  X  Public input and values were reflected in the decision.  X  The process was cost-effective. y Participants were educated and informed.  X  The substantive quality of the decisions was improved.  X  Trust of the sponsoring institution was enhanced.  X  X  The process provided tangible benefits to the community.  X  X  X  Media  Documents  observations  Personal  Individuals  Criteria Selection of participants was fair and legitimate.  X  X X  X X  Table 4: Potential Data Sources for Evaluation Criteria  Data Collection  '  T h i s is the fourth o f the seven steps in this research. Ethical concerns are often significant in evaluation research (Weiss, 1998). These become particularly important in data collection and subsequent research steps, and are the subject o f U B C ' s Behavioural Research Ethical Guidelines, administered through a review process . 6  Therefore, special attention is paid to reliability and  ethical concerns in the data collection phase. These issues are also discussed in subsequent sections on data analysis and reporting. T h e collection o f data from each o f the data sources is discussed in more detail below: interviews, document review, media review, and participant observation.  Interviews T h e primary considerations in selecting and conducting interviews were maximizing reliability through representativeness and ensuring confidentiality, particularly for "expert" interviewees — those who were responsible for the .design and implementation o f the planning process. Interviewees were selected to be as representative as possible o f the community involved in the process. T h e research plan called for interviewing at least two members o f each o f the following groups: • . •  6  1  .faculty;  .  ,;  staff;  1  This project was approved by the Behavioural Research Ethics Board in July 2003.  53  •.  students;  .'  '  •  nearby residents; and  •  members o f the University administration responsible for planning.  As research progressed, the number o f interviews varied from the original intent, leading to an eventual total o f eleven interviewees: •  because o f time limitations and conflicting schedules, only one nearby resident was interviewed; and  •  because it became clear that verifiable information about events leading to the participation process was important, four members o f the University administration were interviewed.  It was desirable to interview participants having a range o f experiences o f University planning processes and having a range o f perspectives about them. O f seven participant interviewees, the perspective o f only two were known in advance o f their interviews; nevertheless, they were a diverse group on a variety o f criteria. Table 5 lists key characteristics o f the participants (some details  ,  were withheld to protect anonymity). Designation  ,  fffiflistoSy^^^^^^^^fcMj 'long-nine > ID vrs  1 'iv\ ions involvement  I.c\el nf H U M  in 1 BC planning  before tin  pii'Ciss  processes  began  long-time faculty  long-time  low  Faculty 2  long-time faculty  long-time  low  Resident I  long-time resident  about a year  open-minded  Staff I  long-time staff  none, but involved in  high  Faculty I .  internal decisionmaking Staff 2  long-time staff  Student I  undergraduate student  long-time awareness,  low  little involvement  Student 2  involved i n tuition  ( < 4 y r s at U B C )  consultation  graduate student ( < 2  none  low high  yrs at U B C ) Table 5: Participant Characteristics Because the interviewees were drawn from participants, and'few participants were supportive o f the draft plan, a bias against the substance o f the draft plan was anticipated. Questions o f participants about substantive matters therefore only compared the quality o f the plan before the process with that o f the revised plan produced after the process. Ethical research procedures were used throughout the interviewing process. D u r i n g the participation process, a variety o f people from the various stakeholder groups were encountered. Interviewees were recruited from those personal contacts. T h e interviews were requested by mail, and were given a week to decide whether or not to be interviewed. Meetings were then scheduled via email or phone. A t the beginning o f each interview, a"subject consent" form was read by the interviewee and signed ( i f clarification was necessary, it was provided). Interviews were conducted in private, and documented by means o f hand-written notes and an audio recording. In one case,  54 (  the audio recording did not work, and in another, the recording ended before the end o f the interview. A u d i o recordings were combined into a type-written transcript. Where no recording was available, notes were used as the basis for a transcript. In every case, the transcript was sent to interviewee for their review. It was made clear that corrections were welcome, but none were requested. Electronic transcripts were password protected and audio tapes and paper .transcripts and interview notes were kept i n a locked fding cabinet. These will be retained for five years and then destroyed.  .  T h e interviews were structured to match the framework for description and evaluation o f the process described earlier. They were tailored to the type o f interviewee: interviews for administration interviewees included questions about the conduct o f the process and its context, while interviews with participants focused on their experience and reaction to the process. T h e interview forms are attached as Appendix F. T h e interviews generally followed the interview forms, although the order and wording o f the questions changed from interviewee to interviewee i n order to enhance the flow o f conversation during the interview. In some cases, questions were added to confirm information obtained i n a previous interview or to obtain more details about a topic addressed by someone else. Document Review  Publicly available materials, including consultation materials and reports, meeting minutes, and publicly available memos were collected. These included:. Minutes from:  .  .  • ~ University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning Technical Advisory Committee meetings between September 4, 2001 and December 19, 2 0 0 2 •  University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning Advisory Planning Committee meetings between M a y 3, 2001 and July 2, 2003 .  •  U B C Board o f Governors meetings between November 16, 2 0 0 0 and M a y 15, 2003  •  Public Open Houses dated M a y 29 and September 10, 2001  1  Planning documents for the University Boulevard Neighbourhood, including: •  for the 2001 draft: draft plan and drawings  •  the Findings and Recommendations Report o f the U B C Committee on "University Boulevard," (February 2002)  •  for the February 2003 draft: Draft Plan Diagrams, Discussion Guide, Feedback Form, and  •  for the June 2003 draft: Draft Plan, Draft Plan Diagrams, Discussion Guide, and Fact  Consultation -  Report  Sheets Other relevant planning documents: •  U B C M a i n Campus Plan (1992)  •  Governance Study for Electoral Area ' A ' (undated, circa 1998)  •  Official Community Plan for Part o f Electoral Area A ' (July 1997) '  •  G V R D - U B C Memoranda o f Understanding dated 1994, 1996, 1997, and 2 0 0 0  ;•  Principles for Physical Planning at U B C (July 1999)  •  U B C Comprehensive Community Plan: Issues and Options Report ( D R A F T , 1999)  55  • •  U B C Comprehensive Community Plan (December 2000) Advisory Planning Committee for the U B C University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan Planning Process Terms o f Reference (2002)  •  U B C T R E K Principles, Goals, and Strategies (November 2002)  •  U B C M i s s i o n and V i s i o n (January"2003)  Planning documents for the M a r c h 2003 Draft Plan were assessed for readability, digestibility and accessibility. Readability was assessed using the Flesch-Kincaid readability scoring tool included i n Microsoft W o r d 2 0 0 0 (version 9.0.2720, copyright 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation). "Reading Ease" rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. "Reading level" rates text on a U . S . grade-school level. Digestibility and • accessibility were measured by asking participant interviewees. Finally, documents were compared to measure their completeness. 1  Documents were used as a source o f demographic information about the University community. T h e consultation report provided an analysis o f demographic information about participants in the consultation process collected via feedback forms. W h i l e data was avadable about participants' membership in general categories such as faculty members, students and residents, no information was available about participant gender, cultural background, age, or other common demographic information, and it was not possible to distinguish between faculties, nor between different resident groups. Furthermore, many residents were part o f the institutional community, making it impossible to clearly break down the community into component parts.  Media Review Published articles were retrieved from the Ubyssey student paper's website archive and from the Can News N e t search engine. C a n News N e t includes local coverage by the Vancouver Sun, the Province, and the Courier newspapers. Articles from June 1988 to December 2003 were collected from Can News Net-and from January 2001 to December 2003 from the Ubyssey.  Participant Observation In his book Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, John Creswell (1998) describes observing as "a special skill.'.' D e W a l t and D e W a l t (2002) define participant observation as "the use o f the 1  information gained from participating and observing through explicit recording and analysis o f this information" (p.2). F o r them, both participating and observing skills are important. Participation encompasses a range from non-participation to complete participation (p. 18-23). They describe observation as "explicitly and self-consciously attending to the events and people... it also includes a kind o f self-observation" o f the researcher's experience, biases and impacts (p. 68). T h e y suggest mapping scenes, counting, actively listening to conversations, and taking extensive field notes. Similarly, Creswell suggests defining a clear role for yourself, developing protocols for recording both descriptive and reflective information and your own reactions.  "  Although I attended various events and observed what went on, I did so as a simple participant, without the intention o f using observations for research purposes. Therefore, I was a "complete participant." Because I was not planning to use'my observations for research, however, I did not clarify my role as a researcher, nor take notes or photographs, nor journal my experiences. M y role and lack o f intention meant that my memories o f the events could have been subject to significant  56  bias, and these would not have been transparent because they were not recorded. Because my participant observation techniques were not rigorous, the evaluation relied as little as possible on this data source, except for easily verifiable and non-contentious information. Analysis  T h e analysis covers two steps in this research: the description o f the process and its evaluation. T h e two are similar because the questions asked are similar; the distinction is that the evaluation draws a conclusion from the information, while the description focuses on the facts as presented i n the data.  .  Step 5: D e s c r i p t i o n  Data from each o f the four sources — interviews, documents, media and observation — were used as appropriate to describe the process, its context and its outcomes. F o r much o f the background material, official public documents provided a reliable source o f information. Information regarding decisions leading up to the process, the characteristics o f the process, and its outcomes came from more varied sources, guided by Table 4. T o sort the interview information, interview transcripts were analyzed using Atlas Ti software to identify and tag segments o f text that related to each o f the criteria in Table 4. Segments o f text that related to elements o f the conceptual framework and other significant themes that arose during interviews were also identified. F o r example, for the decision context, information about the committees most closely involved in the process was identified and tagged. Information from all interviews was then compiled into quotes relating to each criterion, element, or theme. Documents and media articles were also reviewed for information relating to each o f the criteria, as were my own observations. Together with interview data, these formed the basis o f the description of the process. Having collected a broad base o f information, the accuracy o f results was ensured by checking for consistency among data sources. F o r example, information obtained from an interviewee was checked against other interviewees' statements, documents and other available evidence. S t e p 6: E v a l u a t i o n  T h e process was evaluated criterion by criterion, based on the balance o f evidence available. As patterns or themes emerged, they were highlighted. A s with the criteria, information relating to themes was then compiled and checked to ensure balanced conclusions were drawn about them. A summary was written for each phase o f the evaluation. Documentation  Documentation o f the process and its evaluation was broken into three elements — context, process and outcome — following the conceptual framework. Throughout the documentation, descriptive and evaluative text was distinguished as much as possible, and data was presented first, without analysis. That approach permits the reader to weigh the evidence presented with a minimum o f prejudice. Furthermore, quotes were often substantial to allow the reader to understand the context in which statements were made. In order to maintain confidentiality, quotes were . identified only by the broad group to which the speaker belonged (e.g. administration, community member). T h i s approach provided enough information that the reader could evaluate the  57  appropriateness o f the source, but protected interviewee identity (Frechtlin & L . Sharp, Eds., 1997). Conclusions were drawn about the research questions after all o f the evidence, had been gathered, analyzed, and summarized. In keeping with the preceding approach to the evaluation, the conclusions were based on the balance o f available evidence. • '  3.6  Summary  T h i s research considered the questions " T o what degree was public participation in the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process successful, and why?" and " W h a t lessons does this research teach us about evaluation o f public participation?" T o do so, an evaluative framework was developed based on a review o f literature on public participation. T h i s framework was applied to the University Boulevard participation process through interviews, participant observation, media review and document review. Ethical research practices were used throughout the study. Interviewees were selected with the intent to obtain a range o f perspectives, and the characteristics o f selected interviewees reflected that intent. Care was taken i n the research design, data collection, data analysis, and reporting phases o f the research to ensure objectivity to the greatest extent possible. Identity o f interviewees was protected as much as possible. Information collected i n the research was applied in two ways: to construct an accurate history o f the process, and to analyze against the evaluation criteria. In this way, the study described the process, then analyzed its three components: process design, implementation, and outcomes.  58  Chapter 4: An Introduction t o the University Boulevard Case Study 4.1  Introduction  A t its inception i n 1908, U B C was established in central Vancouver near the Vancouver General Hospital. In 1922 it moved to its present site on the tip o f the Point Grey peninsula. U B C is situated within the Greater Vancouver Regional District ( G V R D ) in Electoral Area ' A , ' which includes areas within the regional district but outside municipal boundaries. Electoral Area ' A ' includes Pacific Spirit Regional Park and the University Endowment Lands ( U E L ) , which includes the neighbourhood o f University H i l l (Figure 7). T h e park forms a strong physical edge between Vancouver to the east and the community that includes U B C and University H i l l to the west. Since 1922, U B C ' s developed areas have expanded to cover over 4 0 0 hectares, including substantial residential and student housing, academic areas, farmland, and some private research facilities ( " A Brief History o f the University o f British^ Columbia," 2003). A t the same time, the University H i l l neighbourhood to the East has developed into an affluent suburban enclave, consisting mostly o f large single-family homes with a small mixed-use center just east of Wesbrook M a l l on University Boulevard. In the m i d I980's, major provincial cut-backs resulted i n the resignation o f D r . K George Pederson as President and a huge increase in tuition o f 7 5 % over three years. D r . Pederson was replaced by D r . David Strangway, who developed a number o f strategies to secure more funding for U B C . A m o n g those strategies was the founding o f the U B C Real Estate Corporation in 1988 to develop the University's real estate assets for capital fund! or endowment purposes ( " A Brief History o f the University o f British Columbia," 2003).  59  Figure 7: U B C Planning Areas  7  U B C Properties' first project, initiated in 1989, was a "mixed density urban village" ( U B C Properties Trust, 2003) called H a m p t o n Place (Figure 7). T h e University began the development with no consultation with neighbouring residents, other municipalities, or the University community (Cavanaugh, 1989). W h e n they started clearing the land o f trees, community groups, the Musqueam nation, and students protested ( M o y a , 1989), with some climbing the remaining trees to prevent further cutting ( " T E R N , " 2003). Although residents have gradually become part of the University community, the development o f H a m p t o n Place spawned suspicion and distrust o f the University among its neighbours (Griffin, I996d). As the scale o f development plans became more clear, the City o f Vancouver became concerned that University residents would rely  7  Aerial photo from: http://www.ocp.ubc.ca/ocp/maps.luml. accessed 2 0 0 3 / 0 7 / 0 2 .  60  on City amenities but would not pay taxes to support them (Bula & Gram, 1995). T h e City called on the Provincial government to conduct a study o f governance at U B C , citing a potential conflict between U B C ' s dual roles o f developer and legal approval body (Griffin, 1996c). Concerns over governance were echoed by the student A l m a Mater Society ( A M S ) and others (Griffin, 1996a), who called for a moratorium on campus development until governance issues were resolved. A s a result, a governance study was commissioned in 1997 (Ford, 1997), and concluded in 2 0 0 0 with the decision to maintain the status quo with minor adjustments (University o f British Columbia, n.d.; M u n r o , 2000). . . ' ' T h e G V R D responded to community concerns by requiring the development o f an Official Community Plan ( O C P ) prior to any further development on U B C lands (Griffin, 1995). D u r i n g the development o f the O C P , the community raised concerns over competition with merchants along 10* Avenue ( G r i f f i n , 1996a), loss o f forested area in South Campus ("Point Grey new town' planned," 1996), transportation and housing types and occupants. These were partly but not completely addressed through revisions (Griffin, 1996b). v  T h e O C P was followed by a more detailed Comprehensive Community Plan ( C C P ) in 2000, and a series o f eight Neighbourhood Plans ( N P s ) , two o f which were completed in 2001 (University of British Columbia, 2003). T h i s planning process was jointly laid out by the G V R D and U B C and is implemented by the University ( " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 2000). T h e history o f planning at U B C was summed up, in a Vancouver Sun editorial in A p r i l 2003:  '  "[In the I990's, President Strangway] didn't show any respect for public process in his effort. A n d when his administration bulldozed ahead with its H a m p t o n • Place residential development on the edge o f the campus without any regard for community opinion, public anger boiled over. One result was the comprehensive consultation process that resulted in the current area plan. A lot o f issues needed to be addressed. U B C has been for all intents and purposes an electorally distinct little fiefdom on the edge o f the city o f Vancouver. It has conducted its affairs without much regard for either local residents or regional objectives." ("Let's get on with it: Community plan may not be perfect, but it represents real progress," 2003)  T h e University Boulevard Neighbourhood was the third major neighbourhood to be planned by U B C , beginning with a first draft in 2 0 0 1 . A second draft was presented to the public in the spring o f 2003. T h e plan and the process spawned significant interest on- and off-campus, major controversy, media coverage, petitions (George Spiegelman, personal communication M a r c h 22, 2003), and student projects (Anhorn, Caswell, Enns & Davidson, 2003). T h e public rejected the plan presented by the University, which was forced to revise it substantially and to extend the public participation a full five months. A revised plan was eventually approved by the U B C Board of Governors i n October 2003 and by the G V R D Board o f Directors in November 2003. T h e University Boulevard process presents an interesting opportunity to inquire about the quality of the planning process, andto-understand what happened and why. T h i s chapter provides an overview o f the neighbourhood planning process for University Boulevard and makes clear the • scope o f the case study. T h e next chapter describes the University Boulevard neighbourhood planning process as it actually occurred, including context, process, and outcomes.  61  4.2  The Neighbourhood  The University-Boulevard Neighbourhood planning area is located along University Boulevard between East M a l l and Wesbrook M a l l at the eastern edge o f campus (Figure 8). It is approximately 300 x 100 m, or 3 hectares in size, about the same as 3 Vancouver city blocks.  Figure 8: Oblique Aerial Photo o f University Boulevard and Area  8  The area is situated at the main entrance to the campus. Immediately north is a student-centered service and recreation area; to the East is the commercial center o f the University H i l l neighbourhood; the other two sides o f the plan area are institutional in nature, with biomedical buildings to the South and science buildings to the West. Currently, all transit buses terminate at the bus loop at East M a l l and University Boulevard. A l l in all, its location gives University Boulevard a central role in the University, and adjacent University H i l l .  4.3  The Process and the Plans  T h e planning process for the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan began officially after the approval o f the C C P in December 2000. A t the time, work had already been done on the Dentistry building which was to be built on the Southwest corner o f University Boulevard and Wesbrook M a l l . A first draft plan was produced in June 2 0 0 1 , and a President's committee recommended changes to that plan i n 2002. A second plan in M a r c h 2003 and a third in June 2003 have since been prepared and presented publicly. Consultation on the last plan continued into September o f 2003, and the Board o f Governors endorsed the plan at their October meeting. T h e timeline in Figure 9 shows the entire planning period.  ' adapted from the June 2001 draft University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan, Figure P-2  b2  2001 I  F  M  A  M  |  J  2002 A  S  O  N  D  J  F  M  A  M  J  J  2003 A  S  O  N  D  J  F  M  A  r— Draft Plan #2  J  A  S  O  j  Draft Plan #3  N  D  jjjoco o\  <£> 0  Advisory Planning Committee Meetings  J j  Draft Plan # I  Plan Phase  M  1 \  Technical Advisor)' Committee Meetings  \  •  Open houses and Presentations  A  Public Meetings Board o f Governors Updates  •  Internal Planning Activities  0  •  0  A  Plan #1 1 highlights Key • •  Committee Recommendations  Elements  Key  R o l e as social center for campus  •  M i x e d use buildings (retail at  •  grade, institutional and residential  Key •  M i x e d use buildings throughout,  M i x e d use buildings  with total retail space more than  throughout  2 towers, m a x i m u m height 18 storeys  •  Market housing i n addition to university  •  H o u s i n g only for  • •  allowance  R o a d widened for parallel parking  •  Improve automobile access  Acknowledged possible  •  Bus loop relocated out o f the area  •  Road widened for parallel parking and bike lanes  Greenway on S o u t h side o f  •  Rc-open University Boulevard to cars through to Marine Drive  reconfiguration for transit University Boulevard  •  housing, doubles O C P housing  and bike lanes  Elements  M i x e d u s e buildings, with total retail  •  •  Key  I iighlights  R o l e as 'social hub'  M a x i m u m height 5 storeys  At-grade transit  Elements  Plan #3  •  space more than permitted by the O C P  faculty/staff/students  Scope o f this research (shaded area):  Elements  above) throughout  •  P l a n #2 H i g h l i g h t s  R o l e as social center  •  •  A  0 0 •  University Blvd Ctte  •  Plaza at East M a l l  •  N o identifiable greenway area  •  Role as 'social hub'  permitted by the O C P  University housing, within  Market housing in addition to  amounts alio wed  university housing, doubling  M a x i m u m height 5 storeys University Boulevard closed to  3 towers, m a x i m u m height 18  cars west o f East M a l l  storeys  Bus  Re-open University Boulevard to  Road widened for parallel  loop underground  cars through to M a r i n e Drive  parking and bike lanes  •  Bus loop underground  Plaza at East M a l l and plaza  •  R o a d widened for parallel parking  near S U B  and bike lanes  Greenway on South side o f  •  Plaza at East M a l l , over bus loop  University Boulevard  •  N o identifiable greenway area public meetings, open houses  E X C L U D E S : Transit Plan and Draft # 3 and related meetings  presentations ("special meetings") Advisory Planning Committee meetings  63  by the O C P  housing allowed by the O C P  October 2001 - A p r i l 2 0 0 3  Figure 9: University Boulevard Planning Timeline  \  For the purposes o f this study, only the portion o f the planning process focused around the second plan is considered in depth, beginning after the 2001 draft plan was rejected by the Board o f Governors in the fall o f 2001 and ending after the M a y 2003 production o f a report on the public consultation process for the second draft plan. As such, it is viewed as an on-gping process. Figure 9 shows the time period under study as a shadowed area corresponding with the Draft Plan # 2 planning phase. It includes Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) and Technical Advisory Committee ( T A C ) meetings, public open houses, special presentations, a public meeting, updates to the Board o f Governors, and the activities o f a committee o f the President o f U B C named the " U B C Committee on University Boulevard." In keeping with' the conceptual framework described in Chapter 2, the case study is split into three sections: context, process, and outcome. T h e contextual factors include community characteristics, institutional and legal arrangements, and the planning framework and history. T h e Draft Plan # I process is therefore included in that discussion. T h e process section includes both strategy and characteristics, and is a detailed description o f the Draft Plan # 2 process. Finally, the outcome section includes changes in the process, substantive changes, and impacts on the community. The. Draft Plan # 3 process is therefore described there.  4.4  Summary  University Boulevard is centrally located on campus, and consists o f approximately 3 hectares o f land alongside the street o f the same name, between Wesbrook M a l l and East M a l l . It is .designated in U B C ' s Official Community Plan as an area where non-institutional planning may go ahead pending the development o f a plan. T h e plan was accordingly developed, beginning in late 2000, in a series o f three drafts: •  Draft # I - December 2 0 0 0 - September 2001;  • •  Draft # 2 - October 2001 - M a y 2003; and Draft # 3 - June 2003 - October 2003.  T h e case study is focused on public involvement in the production and review o f Draft # 2, which included: •  •  '  internal U B C planning activities; activities o f the U B C Committee on University Boulevard from October 2001 — M a r c h 2002;  •  public involvement activities, including Advisory Planning Committee meetings, open houses, presentations, and public meetings from October 2001 — M a y 2003; and  •  the production in M a y 2003 o f a report on public consultation.  T h i s focus on the second o f three draft plans meant that the case study considered the planning process to be on-going. A s a result, the process for Draft # I was considered as context o f the process under investigation and the process for Draft # 3 as one o f its outcomes.  64  Chapter 5: Context As described in Chapter 2, there are generally three elements o f the context o f a decision: community characteristics, institutional structure and governance, and aspects o f the decision itself. T h e relationships between these three elements are also important contextual information. In this case, the study considered the development o f only the second o f three draft plans for University Boulevard. A s a result, the development o f the first draft plan is an additional contextual element in this case. T h e individual elements are described first, followed by their relationships, and finally the development o f the first draft. T h e chapter concludes with a summary o f the context o f the Draft Plan # 2 process.  5.1  Community Context  U B C ' s community consists o f four major groups totaling close to 50,000 people, as shown in Figure 10 (University o f British Columbia, n.d.(a); C E I Architecture, 2003; University o f British Columbia, 2003): • •  faculty (2,000); residents, including some students, staff, and faculty, and other residents not affiliated with the University (9,500 on-campus, 2,700 off-campus);  •  staff (4,500); and  •  students (32,000 undergraduate, 7,000 graduate; about 2 5 % live on-campus).  F a c u l t  7  Residents, off-orrpus  Lbdergraduates  Figure 10: Community Composition O f the four groups, faculty, staff and residents are generally longer term community members, while students are generally shorter term community members. Students nonetheless make up a significant portion o f the population at any given time. Fewer students, faculty, and staff are on campus during the summer than during the school year. I f the community grows as envisioned by the O C P , the on-campus residential population will nearly double to 18,000 by 2 0 2 1 . T w o elements o f community context are discussed next: individual and social elements. T h e discussion is a very brief overview, and provides a general sense o f what the community is like. A detailed review was beyond the scope o f this thesis.  65  Individual Elements Individuals in the University community are a unique group. A few characteristics are o f particular interest: •  Education — the University community is much better-educated than the community-atlarge. A much higher proportion o f residents are university educated than is typical o f British Columbians, and a high proportion are students ("2001 Census," 2002). In ' particular, U B C includes schools focused on planning and related fields, providing specific expertise i n areas related to neighbourhood planning.  •  Transience — Residents o f Electoral Area ' A ' are substantially more transient than average British Columbians ("2001 Census," 2002). T h i s is especially true o f students.  T h e transience o f students means that they are less familiar with on-going planning processes than long-time community members. However, their level o f education may make it easier for them to .understand complex concepts such as those presented in planning processes. H i g h levels o f community involvement in public decision-making are often correlated with higher income and education levels (Checkoway & van T i l , 1978), so significant involvement may be expected for any planning process at U B C .  Social Elements As with individuals, the social elements o f the University community are unique. Some characteristics o f particular interest are described here, based for the most part on my own observations for ten years at U B C : •  Social cohesion — as might be expected for a community o f this size, cohesion is variable. W i t h i n faculties, student clubs, community organizations, and staff groups, community cohesion is quite strong. O n the other hand, gaps are often large between larger community groups: the different resident groups, students, staff, and faculty do not appear to inter-relate very much.  •  Degree o f organization — T h e community is highly organized within different groups.  <  U B C is divided into faculties and departments; within those units, people are further organized through their roles as students, faculty and staff. Students, faculty and staff have formal associations and governing bodies. Residents are grouped into different organizations: the U E L Ratepayers, the University Neighbourhoods Association ( U N A ) , • and the U E L Tenants' Association. •  Presence, focus and power o f interest groups — A great many interest groups exist on campus, but members are as interested in activities well beyond U B C ' s borders as they are on activities on campus. A set o f interest groups are relevant to this case; coming from both on- and off-campus communities. In the on-campus community, students and faculty in departments and schools related to planning and development are key interest groups. Off-campus, the afore-mentioned residents groups are focused on U B C development because o f its scope and potential for impacts. Residents further away also have interests. T h e degree o f involvement o f the different groups varies depending on the issue at hand, and their power depends in part on the arena in which the issue is raised.  •  Community flux — As mentioned earlier, the campus population varies over the year. Student and faculty time constraints also vary with the school term. T h i s forms a structural constraint on the ability o f the community to engage i n planning activities at  66  particular times o f the year, especially during exams in December and A p r i l , and during summer months when many people are away from campus., •  Summary  .  '  T h e community at and around U B C is a complex one. Transience, population fluxes, and structural issues constrain public involvement. O n the other hand, high education levels, faculty/student expertise, high degree o f organization are key opportunities for public involvement processes.  5.2  •  .  '  Institutional Context  T h e institutional context o f the decision-making process consists o f the organizational, framework for planning at U B C . T h e foundation for this framework is provincial legislation, within which the organizational structure and policy o f the University are a further influence. U B C ' s powers to "make rules respecting the management, government, and control o f real property, buildings and structures" on land that it owns (BC University Act [RSBC1996] Chapter 468, 2003) significantly overlap with municipal powers under the B C Local Government A c t ([RSBC 1996], 2003). T h i s overlap became a significant concern as- a result o f the University's development o f H a m p t o n Place. Rather than enact regulations applying to U B C ' s property, the G V R D signed a Memorandum o f Understanding ( M o U ) with U B C in 1994 to outline roles and responsibilities with respect to planning on U B C ' s land. In the memorandum, the two parties recognized the mandate o f the University to direct its development as an institution, and the responsibility o f the G V R D to the community — present and future — to manage development. T h e result was a definition o f responsibilities that maintained U B C ' s control over development o f institutional areas, and gave the G V R D final approval for the planning o f non-institutional areas (GVRD Bylaw 840, 1996). T h e parties agreed that the G V R D would develop an Official Community Plan ( O C P ) to guide development on campus. Other Memoranda o f Understanding were signed by the G V R D and U B C in 1996, 1997, and 2 0 0 0 to further clarify a n d / o r adjust the roles and responsibilities o f the two parties. Essentially, the Memoranda established structures and processes for planning. They indicate that • U B C is responsible for conducting detailed planning, while the G V R D is responsible for ensuring that plans produced by U B C comply.with the O C P . In this way, a "municipal-style" structure and planning process is established, as well as an approval process to ensure compliance with accepted goals ( " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 1994; " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 1996; " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 2000). Essentially, the G V R D has agreed not to enact zoning and related bylaws, relying instead on U B C ' s development o f Neighbourhood Plans to regulate land use and account for impacts on the community.  U B C Organization and Policy As the key institutional actor with respect to detailed planning, U B C ' s organizational structure and policies are key elements o f the institutional context for planning on campus. T h i s section reviews  67  those elements to clarify planning-related roles and responsibilities o f individuals and groups within the University. Organization:  T h e University A c t provides for a President and two governing bodies — the Senate and the Board of Governors. T h e President is responsible for the University's operations, while the Senate is responsible for academic matters and the Board manages the University's administration, property, and business affairs. Figure I I shows how they relate. (University o f British Columbia, 2 0 0 3 d ; BC University Act [RSBC1996]  Chapter  468,2003).  Board o f Governors  Senate  President 1  i  Administration  Figure 11: U B C Governance Structure T h e Senate works through appointed committees which present reports for consideration by the Senate as a whole to be accepted, amended or rejected. Its powers are restricted to the academic governance o f the University (University o f British Columbia, 2003e). In contrast, the Board o f Governors has significant land-use planning and development powers. These include powers to: • .• •  ."maintain and keep in proper order and condition the real property o f the university, . . . erect and maintain buildings and structures, and . . .  /  make rules respecting the management, government and control o f the real property, buildings and structures" (BC University Act [RSBC  1996] Chapter 468, 2003).  It is composed o f fifteen appointed and elected members, o f whom nine are appointed and six elected — two each from faculty and students, one from staff, and one from the convocation ( " U B C Board o f Governors," n.d. ; BC University Act [RSBC  1996] Chapter 468, 2003).  T h e Board establishes the policies within which the administration operates, and monitors their implementation. T h e Board uses a Committee structure through which most decisions are made, then referred to the full Board for information, discussion, and sometimes decisions. T h e Properties and Planning sub-committee deals with physical planning and development issues. In 2003, its membership included six appointees and one elected representative ( N i n a Robinson,  68  r  personal communication October 29, 2003). Prior to Board arid Sub-Committee meetings, a "Docket" o f information pertaining to various items is circulated to Board members. Minutes o f Board meetings include consent, approval, and information items. Consent and approval items state Board resolutions, whether they were or were not carried, information in the docket, and sometimes include a few lines o f comments. Information items include a few lines o f comments indicating significant points but do not describe discussions o f issues. N o minutes are kept o f the sub-committee meetings. Minutes show that the Board has held 4-6 meetings per year since 1995 (University o f British Columbia, n.d.). U p to fifteen members o f the public may attend Board meetings, subject to availability, but they are not permitted to make representation to the Board unless they are specifically invited to do so. Given that land-use planning is usually conducted by local governments i n B C , it is important to compare U B C ' s land-use governance with theirs. Where U B C ' s Board o f Governors is vested with powers to plan and develop land at U B C , local Councils can plan and regulate land-use development in local government. .Where the Board includes a minority o f elected members and meets quarterly, C o u n c i l members are all elected and meet on a more frequent basis. Where public access to the Board is strictly controlled, the public is expected to make representations to Council, and the Local Government A c t mandates forums in which they may do so. U B C ' s governance system incorporates significantly less representation and public access than do local governments in B C . As such, it is not accountable to an electorate in the way local governments are. T h e Administration is led by the President and five Vice-Presidents. T h e Vice-President Academic and Provost is responsible for Institutional (research and academic) development. U p to January 2003, planning and development for Non-Institutional (residential and commercial) areas — termed "Neighbourhoods" — was the exclusive responsibility o f the Vice-President, Administration and Finance. Since then, however, the V P External and Legal Affairs has been responsible for Neighbourhood Planning, while the V P Administration and Finance has continued to be responsible for development. Under the V P External and Legal Affairs, the Associate Director for University T o w n coordinates neighbourhood planning activities. Three administrative units are involved: University T o w n , Campus and Community Planning, and U B C Properties Trust. T h e working relationship between these units was described by Linda M o o r e (personal communication August 20, 2003) as a collaboration under the direction o f Dennis Pavlich (Figure 12).  69  1  Figure 12: Relationship o f U B C Units Responsible for Planning and Development  •  Policy:  U B C has a number o f policies, intended to guide the activities o f the University. A number o f these apply to planning and development at U B C , beginning with the T R E K 2 0 0 0 mission and vision. Those elements o f U B C ' s policies that are most significant to community and land-use planning are excerpted here.  TREK 2000: UBC Mission and Vision. T h i s document' is a statement o f values and intent for the University. It also details five principles that will ground strategies and actions at U B C (University o f British Columbia, 2003d). In its mission statement, U B C states that: "[The University o f British Columbia] will cooperate with government, business, and industry, as well as with other educational institutions and the general community, to create new knowledge, prepare its students for fulfilling careers, and improve the quality o f life through leading-edge research. .... [The graduates of U B C ] will recognize the importance o f understanding societies other than their own. As responsible citizens, the graduates o f U B C will value diversity, work with and for their communities, and be agents for positive change." T h e two most relevant principles and related strategies are: " [ U B C will further] the social, cultural, and economic interests o f Greater Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada. T o this end, it will cooperate with other educational institutions, as well as with industries, governments, and  70  agencies"co advance learning and research and further the transfer o f knowledge. T h e University also recognizes that it must be accountable to those who use our services, participate in our processes, share in our governance, and provide our revenues." " [ U B C will] keep both the campus community and the external community fully informed about developments in the Official Community Plan, and ensure that proper consultation procedures are followed  T h e communities both on and  off campus should be apprised o f all proposals relating to increases i n population • density; traffic, and commercial development, and their needs should be taken into account."  A Legacy and a Promise: Principles for Physical Planning at UBC . M o r e focused than U B C ' s M i s s i o n and V i s i o n , this document is intended to guide all decisions about the form and character o f development on campus. There are eight principles ("Principles for Physical Planning at U B C , " 1999). • T h e last two are most relevant to this discussion: 7.  "The process o f physical change must be flexible and responsive to the changing needs and values o f society. T h e University, will experiment with new ideas, establish precedents and provide outstanding leadership in urban planning, architecture; and landscape and building design."  8.  "The process o f physical change must invite the participation o f all who have an interest in the outcome and be exemplary in every respect. U B C has the mandate and the. strong desire to work in collaboration with all members o f the University community and neighbouring communities."  Academic Plan. T h e Academic Plan touches only briefly on physical planning issues. Nevertheless it includes two overarching goals that relate directly to planning issues (University o f British Columbia, 2000). Like the Physical Planning Principles, these provide a sense o f the University's identity and values in more concrete terms than does T R E K 2000. "[The University will] improve links between the University and the communities it serves, for our mutual benefit."  •  .  " [ U B C will] improve university administrative processes and decision-making to better serve the people and [its] mission."  Policy #5 — Sustainability Policy Like the Academic Plan, this policy is not specific to land use planning and development, but does guide the University. In it, U B C commits to (University o f British Columbia, 2003b): "[be] mindful o f the need to balance ecological, social and economic imperatives, in an open and transparent decision-making process with the involvement o f all stakeholders."  71  Summary T h e legal, organizational, and policy frameworks for planning at U B C are summarized here to capture the institutional context to community planning. •  Legally, U B C ' s powers to manage and direct land development conflict with those o f the G V R D . • T h i s conflict has been resolved through an evolving set o f Memoranda o f Understanding between the two parties. These M e m o r a n d a have defined roles and responsibilities as they pertain to planning and development.  •  U B C ' s organizational structure changed at the beginning o f January 2003, with responsibility for neighbourhood planning being moved from the Vice-President, Administration and Finance to the Vice-President, External and Legal Affairs. T h e three  t  units involved in planning and development are Campus and Community Planning, University T o w n , and U B C Properties Trust. W h i l e their relationship is collaborative, the roles and responsibilities o f the three units in neighbourhood planning are not clear. •  Taken together, U B C ' s policies describe an organization that values: • • •  cooperation/collaboration with the community; the creation o f new knowledge, provision o f leadership in planning and design; i  . exemplary decision-making processes;  •  inclusivity, transparency and accountability; and  •  ' the interests and needs o f the community at large.  However, most o f U B C ' s policy statements are non-specific when it comes to the type o f participation. T h e only policy statement to provide specific direction in this regard is " A Legacy and a Promise: Principles for Physical Planning at U B C , " which sets out a mandate for collaboration with the University and neighbouring communities.  5.3  Decision Context  T h e background to the decision itself consists o f four elements: •  the geographical scope;  •  the complexity o f the issue(s);  .  •  how technical and/Or value-laden the decision is; and  •  constraints on the decision.  '  These elements can be understood on the basis o f information about previous decisions relating to the planning area. T h e overall planning framework for U B C is introduced here first, providing a brief history o f planning decisions and a description o f how different planning areas relate to one another. Next, related U B C planning documents are described with particular reference to University Boulevard. These include the Official Community Plan ( O C P ) , the Comprehensive Community Plan ( C C P ) and the M a i n Campus Plan ( M C P ) . T h e section concludes with a summary, o f the four elements o f the decision context, based on this discussion. r  Planning Framework Recent planning for U B C has followed a comprehensive planning model commonly used in municipalities in British Columbia. T h e plans produced through this model usually address general and specific areas and focus on land use, transportation, environment, and to a lesser extent social policy (Kaiser & Godschalk, 1995). A t U B C , planning begins for an area at a large scale with broad policy and land-use decisions. Individual parts o f the original area are then planned at  72  smaller scales with more refined land-use decisions and policies about the physical organization o f space. For smaller areas and at a still smaller scale, details o f the design o f buildings and other spaces and structures are completed at later planning stages. T h e process is normally linear, with policies from early, large-scale plans informing later, smaller-scale plans. It is not uncommon, however, for smaller-scale planning to come to conclusions that are different from those made earlier, either because circumstances have changed since the first plan was done, or because new information uncovered at the more detailed level changes decisions made at the broader level. In this way, the process is conceived to be a rational, iterative planning process. In practice, it is less certain than this, because it involves complex trade-offs, value judgments, and the exercise o f power, which make it nearly impossible to make purely 'rational' decisions and plans. Nevertheless, it is a process that generally progresses in detail over time, through a series o f • distinct, nested plans. In B C , regional, districts can adopt Regional Growth Strategies that apply to the municipalities, and unincorporated lands within their jurisdiction. A t the next level o f detail, municipalities can adopt a Official Community Plan ( O C P ) bylaw that covers the entire municipality and must respond to the Regional Growth Strategy. Finally, more detailed neighbourhood plans may be produced to provide finer details for smaller areas; these plans must be consistent with the O C P . ' U B C lies within unicorporated Electoral Area ' A ' o f the Greater Vancouver Regional District. A t U B C , the plans start at the broadest scale with the G V R D ' s Livable Region Strategic Plan ( L R S P ) . T h e U B C Official Community Plan ( O C P ) o f 1997, which covers the entire campus and part o f Pacific Spirit Park, and the U E L Community Plan Bylaw, which covers the University' Endowment Lands, respond to the L R S P . Although it sets some policies for "Institutional" areas and development, the U B C O C P is focused on the "Non-Institutional" development o f eight "plan areas." '  ,  A t the same scale o f planning, a pre-existing M a i n Campus Plan (1992) and needs arising from the Academic Plan guide development o f the Institutional lands. In 2000, the Comprehensive Community Plan ( C C P ) was approved, providing an infrastructure and servicing plan for the campus as a whole, and planning objectives, principles, and density allocations for N o n Institutional areas. A t a more detailed level, eight individual Neighbourhood Plans provide details about physical organization o f space for Non-Institutional sub-areas o f the O C P . T h e physical relationships between Institutional, Non-Institutional, U E L , and Pacific Spirit Park planning areas are shown i n Figure 13. After thcplanning is complete, site and building designs guide development o f individual sites.  73  Figure 13: Relationships Between Planning Areas  U B C Planning Documents Three major planning documents are significant to the University Boulevard area: the Official Community Plan, the Comprehensive Community Plan and the M a i n Campus Plan. The timing, scope, and main elements o f each o f these are outlined below as they pertain to the University Boulevard area.  74  M a i n Campus Plan:  T h e most recent in a series o f physical campus plans, this plan was completed in 1992 through an internal process. Because it preceded the O C P , it made no distinction between Institutional and Non-Institutional development, and it assumed total University control over development. T h e plan proposed a set o f strategies that were "definitive in intent but not as to final form" (University o f British Columbia, 1992, p. i). It incorporated "Demonstration Plans" to illustrate how its policies might be implemented over 10 to 20 years. A demonstration plan was prepared for University Boulevard, and it set the stage for later planning documents. T h i s plan envisioned a new role for the University Boulevard area as the " T o w n Center" d f campus i n the form o f a conventional street lined with medium-density mixed-use buildings. T h e M a i n Campus Plan provided an early sense o f U B C ' s intent for University Boulevard. • . :  Official Community Plan ( O C P ) :  T h e O C P was prepared by the G V R D in 1997 through a consultative process involving the G V R D , U B C , and the public. It covered U B C and two foreshore lots in Pacific Spirit Park, and set objectives for land-use and transportation based on U B C and G V R D goals. It envisioned significant academic and residential growth on campus, increasing the ori-campus residential population from 9,500 to 18,000. Eight sections o f the campus were designated as "Plan Areas" because o f significant anticipated development or sensitivity. Local plans would have to be prepared for each o f these areas, one o f which is University Boulevard (GVRD Bylaw 840, 1996). T h e document began with an overall vision for the campus community and its planning: •  it includes living, working, playing, and learning;  •  its planning respects the land and its patterns and harmonizes with its setting, academic context, and neighbouring communities;  •  it evolves through creativity, innovation and renewal, following ecological cycles;  • • • •  it is diverse, and encourages interaction; it leads by example, building on the interrelationship between academic and community activities; and its planning requires meaningful participation o f the public (later described as "ongoing public consultative planning and decision-making."  Like the M a i n Campus Plan, the O C P saw University Boulevard as a commercial center on campus consisting o f a mixed-use corridor, but it described the street as a greenway and defined permitted development more clearly. T h e area is shown in context o f the land-use designations o f the O C P in Figure 14. T h e O C P identified the following policies for University Boulevard: •  University Boulevard is part o f a Greenway corridor;  •  individual stores should be small-scale (100-350 m );  •  the maximum ground-floor retail space is 4 5 0 0 m ;  •  maximum building height is 5 storeys, with commercial limited to the bottom 2 floors;  2  2  •  "the area will emphasize transit, pedestrians, and cyclists as part o f the greenway;" and  •  the area will accommodate high capacity transit.,  75  University Boulevard  Legend Par*V..S[at BtHprutf PMfc Hi: {Ml  f"**  fti  5**>*JH* £fc*MHCSi C s s f t f w p i  Future>.N * . .  '.sun  I  1  «KII.«3or#*  • ~». hi .* 1 .  I fe  Figure 14: O C P Land-Use Plan'  All subsequent plans, development controls, and public works subsequent to the O C P (including Neighbourhood Plans) must be consistent with it because it is an adopted Official Community Plan of a local government (BC Local Government Act [RSBC 1996], 2003). This consistency requirement means in practice that if a proposed Neighbourhood Plan is not consistent with the O C P , then either an amendment to the O C P or a change to the Neighbourhood Plan is required. A n O C P amendment has the same requirements for public involvement as the adoption of an O C P and would be led by the G V R D as the local government. Comprehensive C o m m u n i t y Plan  (CCP):  The C C P was the first step in developing Local Area Plans for the eight Plan Areas identified in the O C P , so it dealt only with Non-Institutional development. There are three important aspects related to the CCP: product, process, and requirements for Neighbourhood Planning.  9  Adapted from Schedule 'A' of the O C P .  76  Product  The C C P provided more details for the Plan Areas, in the way of Principles, Strategies, and Guidelines for Plan Areas. For University Boulevard, the C C P set out a number of policies. The following list provides a sense of how the C C P filled out the OCP's vision for the University Boulevard: • (3.I.I) provide gateways to U B C which give a sense of arrival, establish pedestrian/bike priority, and slow traffic; • (3.1.4) retain a transit'exchange in the vicinity of East Mall and University Boulevard; • (3.2.2) University Boulevard as the primary East-West greenway; and ^ • (3.3.2) encourage mixed-use areas incorporating housing, educational facilities, services, and amenities. The Neighbourhood planning principles for University Boulevard (Section 4.4) responded to both the Main Campus Plan and the O C P . Here the C C P identified some key planning objectives, for example: • The area is the front door of the University, and is "envisaged as a highly pedestrianfocused entrance into the University." • The area includes both "campus core" and "university commercial" land-use designations in the OCP, so it should include commercial, residential, and institutional uses. • The commercial designation is extended along University Boulevard from East Mall to Wesbrook, a change from the OCP, which showed it as a node at East Mall. Commercial uses should meet the needs of daytime and evening users of the campus, [emphasis added] • A pedestrian plaza at East Mall is an opportunity. • The street should be narrowed, with improved pedestrian and bicycle environment. • Vehicular traffic should be discouraged with the exception of transit and traffic necessary to support local retail. Process ,  The C C P was developed through a process that included the preparation of an Issues and Options report, four public meetings, three draft plans, meetings with stakeholder groups, and meetings with a T A C and A P C . It was approved in December 2000 (University of British Columbia, 2000). • , The C C P Issues and Options report discussed University Boulevard: "The O C P envisions a commercial 'node' at University Boulevard and East Mall. The 1992 Campus Plan envisions a 'town centre' on University Boulevard extending from East Mall to Wesbrook Mall. Choices will need to be made between these options, to be incorporated into the [CCP]." (p.59) C C P meetings followed a presentation format with a question/answer period, incorporating 3-4 , slides for each Neighbourhood of 60-80 slides total. This format meant that little time was spent discussing each -neighbourhood plan: community concerns usually revolved around general  77  considerations such as infrastructure, sustainability, and environmental impacts. Over all four meetings, a total o f two questions were asked about University Boulevard.  10  W i t h respect to University Boulevard in particular, an administration interviewee described how itwas treated, by U B C during C C P meetings: "Because o f the Master Plan, and because o f the absence o f any major development sites, the option presented was essentially the Master Plan, on the basis that it was ' fairly recent and the O C P was intended to emulate it." In short, one option for University Boulevard was presented to the public during the C C P process, and it received little attention because it was a small part o f a much larger planning scope. Requirements for Neighbourhood  Planning  In addition to planning policies, the C C P outlined requirements for Neighbourhood Plans i n • Section 6.0. T h e plans had to include: I. policy context and goals; . 2. density controls — neighbourhood and site-specific; 3.  building siting, massing, and heights;  4.  streets and circulation details;  5. 6.  parking standards; and building design guidelines.  As such, they encompass regulations municipalities spread between local area plans, municipal zoning bylaws and building design guidelines. M i n o r changes from general configurations in the C C P are permitted- T o be accepted, Neighbourhood Plans must comply with (University o f British Columbia, 2000, p. 67): •  the O C P ;  •  C C P principles; and  '  •  T h e C C P ' s overall density and parks allocations for the area.  Summary  Based on the preceding discussion o f the planning framework and relevant planning documents that set the context for the University Boulevard Neighbourhood, the following are the elements o f the decision context:  -  The. geographic scope o f the decision is defined by the boundaries o f the University Boulevard Neighbourhood. T h e decision is complex: •  Jurisdictional and organizational boundaries make it difficult to make links between institutional, non-institutional, and off-campus areas. Three different bodies head up three different planning processes for three different areas: the G V R D and U E L Administration plan and regulate development off-campus; on-campus, U B C Properties Trust and Campus and Community Planning lead processes for non-institutional development, and the Vice-President, Academic and Provost leads'planning for institutional development through Campus and Community Planning.  1 0  Source: minutes from March 25 1999, March 31 1999, November 25 1999, and April 22 2000 public meetings  78  •  L i n k a g e s are d i f f i c u l t to m a k e across b o u n d a r i e s between j u r i s d i c t i o n s a n d p l a n n i n g areas. T w o b o u n d a r i e s are k e y to the U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d areas: ( I ) the I n s t i t u t i o n a l / N o n I n s t i t u t i o n a l b o u n d a r y a n d ( 2 ) the U B C / U E L b o u n d a r y .  A t a larger scale, the C C P ' s  a n a l y t i c a l p l a n n i n g diagrams s h o w c o n t e x t u a l i n f o r m a t i o n i n a general way. H o w e v e r , the d o c u m e n t does n o t analyze density o r b u i l d i n g f o r m across boundaries, and. p l a n n i n g diagrams (i.e. those that indicate w h a t is p l a n n e d for d e v e l o p m e n t ) d o n o t address relationships between N o n - I n s t i t u t i o n a l , I n s t i t u t i o n a l , a n d U E L areas, s h o w i n g o n l y the N o n - I n s t i t u t i o n a l areas o h the overall density p l a n . I n the materials reviewed, there is n o d o c u m e n t a t i o n o f i n t e g r a t i o n between the different p l a n n i n g areas p r i o r to the N e i g h b o u r h o o d p l a n n i n g processes. T h e d e c i s i o n i n c l u d e s b o t h value-based a n d t e c h n i c a l considerations. •  It is value-laden:  the p o s i t i o n o f the N e i g h b o u r h o o d at the intersection o f b i o - m e d i c a l , athletic, science, social, a n d residential activity makes it a space o w n e d b y a w i d e range o f interests;  •  a h i s t o r i c a l l y significant b u i l d i n g ( W a r M e m o r i a l G y m ) is present; a n d  •  the site is the m a i n entrance to campus.  T h e d e c i s i o n has t e c h n i c a l elements: •  major u n d e r g r o u n d utilities r u n u n d e r the street, i n c l u d i n g water a n d electricity;  •  the site is a m a j o r transit entry w i t h a significant a n t i c i p a t e d increase i n r i d e r s h i p ; a n d  •  c o m p l e x f i n a n c i a l a n d m a r k e t analysis is associated w i t h p r o p o s e d residential, c o m m e r c i a l , and institutional development.  T h e d e c i s i o n is c o n s t r a i n e d b y p l a n n i n g d o c u m e n t s a n d the p l a n n i n g f r a m e w o r k : •  T h e U B C O C P , C C P , a n d M a i n C a m p u s P l a n p r o v i d e p o l i c i e s specifically f o r the area, as w e l l as f o r adjacent areas. T h i s p l a n n i n g h i s t o r y presents a generally consistent v i s i o n o f U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d as the m a j o r east-west c o n n e c t i o n o n campus, w i t h the eastern e n d as a low-scale ( 4 - 5 storey) m i x e d use " t o w n center" a n d the central core a pedestrian area. A c c o r d i n g ' t o these d o c u m e n t s , U n i v e r s i t y B o u l e v a r d s h o u l d : O  be a greenway, i n c l u d i n g a green space o n the S o u t h side o f the street i n front o f the W e s b r o o k B u i l d i n g ;  O . p r i o r i t i z e pedestrians, cyclists, a n d transit over private vehicles, a n d i n c l u d e a , significant transit node; O ' i n c l u d e a m i x t u r e o f uses — i n s t i t u t i o n a l office, U n i v e r s i t y - o r i e n t e d retail, a n d rental a c c o m m o d a t i o n f o r faculty, staff, a n d students; o  have a m a x i m u m density o f 1.6 F S R , i n c l u d i n g 4 5 0 0 m g r o u n d - f l o o r c o m m e r c i a l 2  a n d 3 2 6 residential units;  ,  O , n o t i n c o r p o r a t e b u i l d i n g s h a v i n g heights'greater t h a n 5 storeys; a n d O •  r e s p o n d to its f u n c t i o n as a very significant entry t o the U n i v e r s i t y .  T h e p l a n n i n g f r a m e w o r k constrains the d e c i s i o n i n that N e i g h b o u r h o o d P l a n s m u s t be consistent w i t h ( F i g u r e 1 5 ) : O  the O C P ( i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h the C C P ) ;  O  C C P principles; and  O  overall density' a n d p a r k s allocations set b y the C C P f o r the n e i g h b o u r h o o d area.  79  I f the combination o f the C C P and N P does not comply with the O C P , an amendment to the O C P may be obtained through the legal O C P amendment process, with the G V R D as the local government having authority. Similarly, the C C P can be revised, although the requirement to be consistent with C C P principles is not as strong a requirement as that to be consistent with the O C P and leaves room for flexibility.  •  O l f i l i a l (. n m m u n i u Plan he em lie campus and p.ui or Pacihc Spun P.uk lir.;uH poiic\ M a l i U K ' I U S  M u s t be consistent  BilSiji ompivhinsi\e C oinmunm • • •  Ncighhiuiihood Plan Paicel density allocations Siting, massing, height, parking reoulat ions Building design guidelines  P|an  1 nun ( Piiiicipl i s. Siiatev u's. and t iuidelincs 1 )ensit \ allocations, ob|ociives and pi inning; principl e.s lor neighbourhoods  M u s t be consistent with principles and overall density allocations  Figure 15: Plan Hierarchy and Relationship  5.4  Relationships Between Contextual Elements  T h e relationships between the three contextual elements also provide important background information for consideration in the Neighbourhood Planning process for University Boulevard. These relationships highlight four important contextual factors: the historical relationship between the community and U B C ; requirements for the planning process; impacts o f other processes; and the level o f community interest in the decision.  •  T h e U B C —Community Relationship  Non-Institutional development began with the development o f H a m p t o n Place, which led to protests and distrust o f the University ( M o y a , 1989; Griffin, I996d).  N o t long,afterward, U B C ' s  proposal for a new hazardous waste incinerator also led to protests (Bell, 1991), and community opposition led the University to abandon the project ( H o w a r d Seto, personal communication, 1998). T h e community's level o f trust remained low through the development o f the O C P (Griffin, 1995; Bula & Gram, 1995; T o d d , 1997; University o f British Columbia, 1999).  80  Looking in more detail at the C C P process, procedural concerns raised by the public were documented in meeting minutes (from meetings on M a r c h 31 and November 25 1999) and the Issues and Options report (University o f British Columbia, 1999): •  the lack o f academic involvement and input into the plan and its development;  •  the timing o f C C P meetings during the A p r i l exam period and over the summer; and  •  the lack o f opportunities for public input.  Continued community mistrust was documented in media reports on that process as well (Krangle, 1999). M o v i n g on to the initial stages o f the University Boulevard Neighbourhood planning process, similar concerns were raised. F o r example, the concerns o f one attendee at the M a y 29, 2001 public meeting to discuss Draft #1 were documented in the meeting minutes: " M u c h o f the talk here is evasive. Y o u are not listening to what we are saying, you are only here to defend." These documented concerns were echoed by interviewees with long histories at U B C . One said "the University [knew] — the administration knew, and the Board knew — that their public relations were the pits." Another explained his own level o f distrust, going back over ten years: "[The Campus Master Plan] was the second time I'd been angry with the University, so as an individual I carried a lot o f distrust about the manner in which the President's office — those around the President through to the Board o f Governors ( o f a different Board and President [Strangway]) — operated. So as a member o f the University community that has become a fairly deep-seeded part o f my psyche which doesn't go away very easily." A third interviewee described past processes from the community's perspective: "In the old days, you got the impression that you would have a planning process, but it was all a charade... There's always a sense at this University that it's fait accompli, that we're [the University is] just doing this because someone told us we had to, and that we'll be glad when we get out o f here and get on with what we want to do. A l l their meetings just smell o f that." T h e history o f the relationship between U B C and the community about non-institutional development is one o f significant ongoing distrust. T h e U B C — D e c i s i o n R e l a t i o n s h i p : R e q u i r e m e n t s for the N e i g h b o u r h o o d P l a n n i n g Process  As discussed earlier, requirements for land-use planning processes arise from the overlap between the Local Government A c t and the University Act, and are described in the Memoranda o f Understanding ( M o U ) signed by the G V R D and U B C in 1996 and 2000. In 1996, they described area planning and development approval processes and agreed to follow them ( " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 1996). In December 2000, the two parties updated the planning and development processes that the two parties agreed to follow ( " G V R D - U B C  81  Memorandum o f Understanding," 2000). T h e next sections o f this chapter provide more details about the area (neighbourhood) planning process by reviewing the 2 0 0 0 Memorandum.  Memorandum of Understanding ( M o U ) 2000: Following on the 1996 M o U ' s recognition that the purpose o f municipal planning processes is to give consideration to impacts on the community (p.I), the consolidated M o U recognizes that " U B C w i l l continue to manage its own land use for both Institutional development and N o n Institutional development"(sec. 2-2) in a manner that "substantially replicates the process in place in municipalities in British Columbia" (sec. 2.1). In many municipalities, plans are arranged in two levels: the O C P and the'Local Area Plan ( L A P ) . In this M o U , the parties agree that a combination o f the Comprehensive Community Plan ( C C P ) and the Neighbourhood Plan ( N P ) are equivalent to a L A P for Non-Institutional development. T h e M o U sets out a "municipal-style" structure for neighbourhood planning that is "based upon shared decision-making between the G V R D and U B C , with significant public involvement" (Schedule 3, sec 1.2). It involves seven groups o f people in different roles, recognizing that the' process can be adapted i f circumstances merit it. T h e groups are listed below, with their composition and roles, and Figure 16, which consolidates information from both the flowchart and the text in the Memorandum, shows how they interrelate in the process: 11  1. v  2.  3.  U B C Planning Team: •  Role: to conduct the planning process and chair public meetings.  •  Composition: U B C staff, consultants, and any agency staff required by U B C .  U B C Board o f Governors •  Role: to receive updates throughout the planning process; to review and approve plans.  •  Composition: 15 members, o f whom 6 are elected and 9 appointed.  G V R D Board • •  Role: to confirm that proposed plans comply with the O C P . Composition: 36 members — members are elected representatives in G V R D member municipalities who have been appointed to the Board by their Councils. Electoral Area ' A ' has one representative on the Board.  4.  G V R D - U B C Joint Committee: . •  !  Role: to help resolve issues that arise; to establish and consider the input o f the ' Advisory Planning Committee; to review plans for consistency with the O C P and Academic Plan; and to make recommendations to the G V R D and U B C Boards.  •  Composition: 6 members, 3 from each o f the G V R D and U B C Boards. They are appointed by their Boards from time to time.  • 5.  11  Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) :  Municipal processes are quite varied. Appendix G describes a range of neighbourhood planning processes used in  BC municipalities  \.  82  ,  .  '  •  '  •  Role: to provide comments on ( I ) planning process; (2) plans; and (3) other matters referred to it.  •  6.  Technical Advisory Committee ( T A C ) : •  7.  Composition: "7-9. members selected by the Joint Committee from members o f the. neighbourhood in question, broader campus interests and adjacent communities in the UEL."  Role: to provide technical information as required by U B C . Composition: reduced to "7-9 members selected by the Joint Committee from members o f the neighbourhood in question, broader campus interests and adjacent communities in the U E L . "  T h e general public: • , Role: to attend "a public meeting or meetings sponsored by U B C at a significant point in the process."  T h e 2 0 0 0 M o U is ambiguous about the character and purpose o f public involvement i n the planning process. T h e key'requirements for public participation are: •  U B C must refer plans to the Advisory Planning Committee for comment after preparation o f a draft plan and after preparation o f a revised plan ( i f applicable); and .  •  T h e flowchart shows a "Public Information Meeting" following preparation o f a draft plan. T h i s may correspond with the meeting(s) at a "significant point in the process" described in the text o f the Memorandum. '  83  Planning Team: •  Drafts Plan  •  Consults with '  Public:  <  • •  Affected groups consult  affected groups  1 : ;  TAC: •  1r 1  Plan referred for Comment  i  r  APC: •  Public:  Plan referred for  -  Comment  4 Review for consistency with O C P , Academic Plan i  •  Consider A P C / T A C and  •  public comments Make recommendations  Planning Team: •  TAC: •  Revise Plan  APC:  Plan referred  Plan referred for  for Comment  Comment  Toint Committee: •  Review A P C / T A C comments  •  Recommend plans for consideration by Boards  r Approval Process: ,(I)  U B C B o G Approval in Principle  (2)  G V R D Approval as consistent with O C P  (3)  U B C B o G Final Approval  Figure 16: Neighbourhood Planning Process  1 2  Attend Information Meeting  Joint Committee: •  •  12  Adapted from the 2000 G V R D — U B C Memorandum of Understanding.  84  Summary of key points T h e requirements for the University Boulevard planning process are outlined in the 2 0 0 0 Memorandum o f Understanding between the G V R D and U B C . Taken as context for the process, a number o f points are key: •  T h e G V R D ' s . role in Neighbourhood planning is limited to ensuring that the plan was consistent with the O C P .  •  ,  T h e U B C Board o f Governors has the authority to approve or disapprove o f a plan. In this respect, the Board o f Governors acts in the same manner as a municipal council.  •  T h e 2 0 0 0 M o U is vague i n its requirements for public involvement, describing only a public information meeting "at a significant point in the process."  •  T h e 2 0 0 0 ' M o U limits the involvement o f decision-makers to review and approval o f plans brought to it by the U B C Planning Team, which independently conducts the process and chairs public meetings.  •  In the 2 0 0 0 M o U , required public involvement consisted o f commenting on prepared draft plans. ^  The U B C — Decision Relationship: Impacts of Other Processes Planning processes for different areas and activities are always going on; on campus, these include land-use, academic, recreational, social, and other planning. In the UniversityBoulevard case, two processes were important factors affecting the Neighbourhood Planning process. T h e first was planning for the development o f a new Dentistry building, and the second was transit planning. Both o f these processes evolved as the Neighbourhood Plan was being drafted, so their impacts on the process changed over the period studied. T h e Dentistry building was to be built on the southwest corner o f University Boulevard and Wesbrook M a l l . A site feasibility study was done in 1999 (Atkins, Sumner, M c B r i d e & Poettcker, 1999). T h e schematic design was delayed from July 2001 to January 2003 (Sumner, Atkins & Poettcker, 2002b; Sumner, Atkins & Poettcker, 2002a). T h i s process had two impacts: it had the potential to Constrain the physical layout o f space at that intersection; and the delay was a source , o f pressure on the University to move quickly with the Neighbourhood Plan, which had to be approved before construction could begin (Fred Pritchard, personal communication, August 14 2003).  •  .  U B C committed to implementing a U-Pass program for the University in 1997 ( " G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding," 1997). T h e program was expected to substantially increase demand for transit services, necessitating improved and enlarged end-of-route facilities, and possible re-routing o f buses a n d / o r relocation o f the bus loop. Like the Dentistry building, this would affect the physical layout o f space, particularly roads (Richard D r d u l , 2002). In September 2002,. partway through the process o f developing Draft #2, a Transit Planning study was begun to explore options for transit service to campus. It was decided to coordinate the Neighbourhood . Planning process with the study (Sumner & Atkins, 2002). T h e U-Pass was approved overwhelmingly by student referendum in November 2002, making changes to transit infrastructure imminent. Both the transit and Dentistry building processes created pressure on the timing and outcome o f the Neighbourhood Planning process.  85  T h e C o m m u n i t y — D e c i s i o n R e l a t i o n s h i p : Interest i n the D e c i s i o n  The University Boulevard neighbourhood is a large site located near the center of campus, on main transit routes to campus, and near the established community of the U E L . It is a central place both physically and in terms of the varied activities around it, which include social, recreational, and academic activities. As such, the potential for community interest is very high, both on- and off-campus. The potential for conflicts is also high with so many different people sharing ownership of the space. Summary  The relationships between major contextual elements highlight four important contextual factors: • the planning history reveals long-standing distrust of the University; • the Memorandum of Understanding of 2000 set flexible requirements for the Neighbourhood Planning process; it O required public involvement only to comment on prepared draft plans; and \ O limited the involvement of the Joint Committee and the public; > • the needs of the Dentistry faculty for a new building in the area and the looming U-Pass program created significant pressures on the process; and • University Boulevard is of interest to a wide range of people both on- and off-campus because of its location — there was potential for significant public response and conflict about the area. '. ' 1  5.5  The Draft #1 Planning Process  ^  The process of developing the first Draft Plan for the University Boulevard neighbourhood began in 2000 and ended in September 2001. U B C developed a draft plan in the spring of 2001 and then presented it to the public in open houses and at a public meeting. It ended when the Board of Governors deferred approval of the draft plan and the President appointed an advisory committee to address issues relating to the entry to the University. The process is described in detail below. Internal Development o f an Initial Draft P l a n  In a March 12 2001 memo to the U B C Planning Team, Fred Pritchard summarized the initial planning steps for University Boulevard (Fred Pritchard, 2001): • December 11, 2000 — planning staff meeting to discuss,issues. • • December 21, 2000—staff meeting with consultants. • January 22, 2001 — workshop attended by: •  • .  24 University planning/development staff and consultants;  •  the U E L Manager;  •  4 University staff (not planning or development staff);  •  4 faculty; and •  •  the A M S President.  /  February 6, 2001 — President's Property and Planning Advisory Committee (PPPAC) meeting. .  At the end of the memo, M r . Pritchard summarized the issues as:  86  .  1.  "Location o f the bus loop.  2.  Realignment o f University Boulevard to create larger development parcels on the north side.  3.  Size and design o f pedestrian plaza at University Boulevard/East M a l l intersection.  4.  Whether Empire P o o l should be relocated.  5.  H o w the Dental Building at Wesbrook and University Boulevard affects the relocation oi the street.  6.  H o w timing o f the development is critical relative to: not obstructing future changes mad possible by future revisiting o f the O C P [and] future potential development o f a tower adjacent to south west corner o f G S A B . "  Issues noted elsewhere in the memo included: •  the poor entry to campus;  •  various transportation and transit-related issues;  •  retail frontage, critical mass, and intended customers;  •  the degree o f importance o f the "grassy mound;"  •  the future o f W a r M e m o r i a l G y m ;  •  attracting people to University Boulevard itself; and  •  intersection design at East M a l l and street design in general, particularly with respect to street parking and auto traffic.  ;  •  A n initial draft plan was prepared by consultants in the spring o f 2 0 0 1 .  Presentation of the Initial Draft Plan T w o Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) meetings and a public meeting were held in M a y to discuss the draft plan. Concerns raised included: •  street design and transportation issues: safety, parking amounts and options, and bus traffic and loop location;  •  -  provision o f retail and the type o f retail envisioned;  •  high-rise development;  •  pool relocation; and  •  defensive staff.  Development and Review of the June 15 2001 Draft Plan O n June 2 1 , the A P C met a third time to discuss changes to the plan, now. dated June 15, 2 0 0 1 . The main elements o f the revised plan are described in Box I .  87  Box I: June 2001 Plan Elements R o l e as social center for campus emphasized Mixed,use buildings (retail at grade, institutional and residential above) throughout M a x i m u m height 5 storeys, density 1.6 F S R , maximum ground-floor retail o f 4 5 0 0 m  2  Greenway on South side o f University Boulevard Priority to non-auto transportation, with at-grade transit and the road widened for parallel parking and bike lanes Acknowledged possible reconfiguration for transit Housing only for faculty/staff/students T h e A P C recommended approval o f phase I o f the draft plan, which was limited to two buildings at the corner with Wesbrook M a l l (University o f British Columbia, 2001). A s related in minutes of their 2001 meetings, key issues were: •  !  concerns over bike conflicts with parked cars (the issue o f most concern);  •  the commercial orientation o f the'plan;  •  pool relocation;  •  quality o f the entrance to the University; and  •  location o f the bus loop.  A final public open house was held at the Asian Centre on September 10, 2 0 0 1 , and included three neighbourhood plans under development: University Boulevard, the Theological area, and the M i d - C a m p u s area. 71 people commented on the three plans over six hours. W i t h respect to University Boulevard, they raised issues with (documented in'meeting minutes): •  too much paved area;  •  outdoor, pool relocation;  •  bike lane safety; and  •  on-street parking.  T h e plan was deferred pending a University Entranceway study. T h e deferment ended the planning related to the first draft o f the Neighbourhood Plan.  5.6  Summary  T h i s summary consists o f two parts. T h e first is a review o f the most important contextual factors identified in the preceding discussion. T h e second is an analysis o f how those factors relate to public participation in the Draft # 2 process. Review  As a Neighbourhood Planning process, the University Boulevard process had to meet the flexible requirements for the planning process laid out in the 2 0 0 0 Memorandum o f Understanding ( M o U ) . U B C had to involve the public "at a significant point in the planning process," shown in the M o U as a public information meeting after the preparation o f a draft plan. It also had to be consistent with U B C ' s policy mandate for collaborative processes.  88  Similarly, the Neighbourhood Plan itself was constrained by the need to be consistent with the O C P and with C C P principles and overall density allocations unless U B C was willing to seek approval o f amendments from the G V R D . F o r that reason, the University Boulevard Neighbourhood planning process focused on the area within the Neighbourhood boundaries defined in the O C P ; however the process could also produce ideas for surrounding areas. Located centrally, the area is used by a large part o f the community. T h e process therefore had the potential to receive a lot o f public attention, bringing with it attendant conflict and controversy. T h e central location also had complex relationships with neighbouring jurisdictions and other planning processes. T h e University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process was technical, value-laden and complex. It occurred in a complex institutional and community environment that created both challenges and opportunities. •  T h e community's high level o f education, expertise and organization had the potential for a high degree o f participation, and high quality public input; however, it could equally produce highly organized and informed opposition.  •  Community transience, the academic schedule, and population fluxes were all likely to pose potential challenges to an effective process.  •  A long history o f community distrust o f U B C over planning and development was a significant potential challenge.  •  U B C ' s policy provided a good set o f broad principles for planning, but incorporated only one specific statement about how to involve the public.  '  1  T h e process that led to Draft Plan # 1 changed the context somewhat because o f the eventual deferment o f the decision. A s a result, other processes impacted the Draft # 2 process: •  the development o f the Dentistry building had been delayed, creating the potential for pressure to resolve University Boulevard planning quickly; and  •  transit planning was recognized as a significant upcoming issue for the area and therefore had to be accounted for in the University Boulevard planning process.  T h e Draft # 1 planning process began with an internal discussion o f issues. A few invited members o f the public were involved through a workshop on options prior.to development o f an initial draft plan. That draft was presented to the T A C , the A P C , and the general public in the spring, and was then revised and presented to the A P C and the public again i n the summer. Its approval was deferred after the administration proposed that a.task force be appointed to advise the President about the entry to the University. A t the end o f the process, a history o f public involvement.Kad been established, and a number o f issues had been identified with the existing draft plan: •  with the exception o f the options workshop, the public was involved only in reviewing draft plans; and  •  the public had raised issues with: parking, traffic, commercialization, bus loop location, entrance quality, possible high-rises, pool location, and defensiveness o f U B C staff.  89  Analysis  W i t h the knowledge o f the context i n which the University developed and consulted on the second draft plan, it is possible to more clearly express the contingent criteria which must form the basis of part o f the process evaluation. These criteria are: •  the level o f citizen-control over the process (a procedural rule);  •  the level o f inclusiveness (a representation characteristic); and  •  the degree to which participants were assisted in understanding information (an information characteristic).  T o assess the appropriate degree o f citizen control over the neighbourhood planning process, Thomas's contingent model, Beierle and Cayford's (2002) advice on design, and the City o f N o r t h Vancouver's guidelines were applied to the design the process. Beginning with Thomas, there was sufficient information and the problem was structured, but public acceptance was necessary, indicating a need for public involvement. Similarly, Beierle and Cayford (2002) indicate that the public should be involved when resolving conflict and building trust are important considerations, and this was the case here. Therefore some degree o f citizen influence over the process design was important. M o v i n g on to the question o f the type o f involvement in process design, it is not clear what strategy would have been appropriate. O n one hand, a public decision in which decisionmaking authority is shared is indicated by Thomas for this situation because the public probably agreed with the agency's process goals. Simdarly, the City o f N o r t h Vancouver's public involvement guidelines (2000) suggest collaborative public involvement for complex decisions such as process design. O n the other hand, the City o f N o r t h Vancouver suggests public input instead o f collaboration when time is short, the decision is technical, and there is an established or required process, which are also characteristics o f process design decisions. In summary, although it is clear that the public should have been involved to some degree in process design, it is difficult to say how they should have been involved (i.e. what the appropriate degree o f citizen control over the process should have been). Although the 2 0 0 0 Memorandum o f Understanding ( M o U ) was not specific about the purpose arid character o f public involvement, it set requirements for the planning process. It incorporated a public meeting or meetings, which enables a large number o f people to participate, and an Advisory Planning Committee, which is an intensive, but less inclusive method o f involvement than public meetings. Beyond the required elements, the fact that the Neighbourhood was an area o f central importance to many elements within the community suggested that a broadly inclusive process was appropriate. T h e degree to which participants were assisted in understanding information presented in the 1  process relates to the level o f education and familiarity o f potential participants with the material presented. Community members had a higher level o f education than the general public; so there was less need to simplify language than there would be in a conventional municipal context. However, the community was no more familiar with planning concepts and drawings than other communities would have been. Explanation o f planning jargon and planning concepts should have been an important consideration in the process design. Few in the community would have been familiar with planning drawings, making their explanation equally important.  90  One other factor was important i n the selection o f an appropriate strategy for public participation in the University Boulevard case:' the atmosphere o f mistrust. For such a situation, a process in which the public has significant influence oyer the outcome a n d / o r which occurs early in the decision-making process would have a higher likelihood o f success than one i n which influence is ' restricted. Such an approach would have matched well with U B C ' s eighth Planning Principle, which calls for collaboration: "The process o f physical change must invite the participation o f all who have an interest i n the outcome and be exemplary in every respect. U B C has the mandate and the strong desire to work in collaboration with all members o f the University • community and neighbouring communities." A t the beginning o f the Draft #2 process, then, the context suggested that contingent criteria and criteria regarding the response to context needed to be clarified. They are listed below, with the location o f each criterion in the evaluation shown in parentheses. N o t e that the last criterion is added to emphasize a particular element o f the criterion o f 'response to resource limitations, the nature o f the community' at hand, local circumstances, the type o f decision, and issue-specific concerns:' • i • the public should be involved in the planning o f participation activities (procedural rules); •  the process should be broadly inclusive, and include elements required by the M o U (representation);  •  ' participants should be assisted in understanding planning jargon and drawings (information); and  •  the public should have significant influence over the outcome o f the process (strategy).  91  Chapter 6: The Draft #2 Process T h e process o f producing and consulting on Draft # 2 o f the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan took place over a period o f sixteen months. It began where the Draft #1 process ended, with the appointment o f a committee in September 2001 to advise the President on the University Boulevard entrance to the campus. T h e "Committee on University Boulevard" met from October 2001 to February 2 0 0 2 , and their recommendations were presented to the Board o f Governors in M a r c h 2 0 0 1 . Little work was done between M a r c h and December 2002, when the University hired consultants to develop a draft plan for public release. F r o m January to A p r i l 2003, the University consulted with the public. T h e University's production o f a consultation report completed the planning process for this draft plan. T h i s chapter considers the process i n two parts: internal developments leading up to public consultation, arid the consultation itself. T h e first part describes the process from September 2001 to December 2002, then focuses on two important contextual elements that evolved during that period and on the scope and constraints on the process as they were understood at the end of' it. T h e second part focuses on the details o f the process itself, describing and evaluating the process across the range o f characteristics identified in the literature review. T h e description and evaluation o f the process concludes i n Chapter 7, which provides an overview o f the Draft #3 planning process and outcomes, and evaluates outcome criteria.  6.1  Internal Developments: Fall 2001 to Winter 2002  There were three important developments i n the planning process between September 2001 and December 2002, two o f which were discussed in the Context chapter. Transit planning and '. Dentistry building development were mentioned earlier; the new development was the establishment and activities o f the U B C Committee on University Boulevard. T h i s section begins by describing the planning process associated with the U B C Committee. It then reviews the evolving context o f transit planning, the Dentistry building and U B C ' s new organizational structure, and clarifies U B C ' s understanding o f the scope and constraints for the process.' T h e section ends with a summary o f the context, scope, and constraints faced by U B C as it began to plan for public participation late in 2002.  The U B C Committee on University Boulevard A t the M a y 2001 Board o f Governors Property and Planning Committee meeting, /  "the importance o f the entrance to the University, and the need to retain heritage elements, was emphasized. It had been requested that the entrance concept be brought forward at the same time as the neighbourhood plans." (Board o f Governors Minutes M a y 17, 2001) In September 2 0 0 1 , "an update on University Entranceway Planning was received for information" by the Board. In the update, the administration informed the Board "that the university executive will establish a task force, advisory to the President and chaired by the Associate V i c e President, Land and Building Services, to guide the implementation o f the [University Entranceway] project." (Board o f Governors minutes September 24, 2 0 0 1 )  92  Following the meeting, the President struck the U B C Committee on University Boulevard, .consisting of: •  V P Administration and Finance (Terry Sumner);  •  V P External and Legal Affairs (Dennis Pavlich);  •  A V P Land and Building Services (Geoff Atkins);  •  Director, U B C Planning (Fred Pritchard);  •  C E O , U B C Properties Trust ( A l Poettcker);  •  2 Board o f Governors members (Joe W a i and T i e g M a r t i n , a student); and  •  Community member at large ( H a r o l d Kalke, former Board o f Governors Chair).  1  T h i s committee's purpose was "to evaluate and make recommendations on the identity, character, functional, land use, built form, and landscape components o f University Boulevard from W e s t Brook [sic] to East M a l l . . . A central component o f this evaluation process will be the consideration o f appropriate entrance features  " (University o f British Columbia, February  2002, p. Appendix A ) It was to take input from experts, be guided by the relevant policy documents, but it was not to involve the public i n any way. "Rather, the committee's recommendations would serve as input to a variety o f initiatives, and approvals, some o f which may involve varying forms o f public participation." T h e committee's product would be a concise report incorporating sketches, concept drawings, and other visual aids, and would be taken as guidelines rather than a final solution, informing the future development o f solutions. The committee completed their report i n February 2002. A s promised, they made a number o f recommendations. These included six significant changes from the O C P and C C P , which were further illustrated in their Phase III Plan. T h e changes listed in Box 2 are drawn from the Executive Summary o f the committee's report and the plan drawings in the body o f the report. A l o n g with those changes from the O C P and C C P , the committee also proposed to locate a large plaza at East M a l l and University Boulevard, and to relocate the bus loop with bus routing along both East M a l l and University Boulevard.  Box 2:> University Boulevard Committee Recommendations 1.  Configure University Boulevard to serve as a major automobile entry to campus.  2.  Extend auto and transit access along University Boulevard to Marine Drive.  3.  Provide market housing in addition to University housing.  4.  A l l o w two buildings above 5 storeys, illustrated as 18 storey towers.  5.  M a k e the maximum commercial space "flexible" subject to fit, character, streetscape and identity issues (the plan indicated a doubling o f commercial space).  6.  Address the greenway requirement through street treatments, and eliminate the dedicated greenway area.  7.  Locate -a large plaza at East M a l l and University Boulevard.  8.  Relocate the bus loop and route some buses along East M a l l .  Although the Committee'did not involve the public in any way during its deliberations, the A P C had asked to review the completed report. In A p r i l 2002, they made mostly negative comments based on a presentation by Joe R e d m o n d o f U B C Properties (source: A p r i l 4 and 17 2 0 0 2 minutes):  93  "Circulating the buses through campus would enhance safety and security for people traveling at night. . . . Hopefully this plan will not greatly increase the number o f vehicles traveling through the medical precinct. . . .  '  [There is] concern about opening up University Boulevard to vehicular traffic across campus. M a i n M a l l and University Boulevard as the main intersection o f campus would be destroyed i f it became vehicle dominated. . . . The entry, as illustrated, is not interesting or exciting enough for the front door, o f the University. . . . [Could the plaza] be extended at the intersection o f East M a l l , adjacent to the bookstore. The original O C P did not include towers i n this area. . . . Safety o f cyclists along University Boulevard, as is conceived in this plan, is still o f serious concern." A t the A p r i l 17 meeting, the committee recommended: th  "[that U B C should plan to] minimize any disruptions that the project will cause, and that formal consultations be undertaken i n this regard with all affected parties, including surrounding neighbourhoods;" "that the minimum width o f sidewalk be increased from 15 feet to 2 0 feet, where at all feasible;" and "[that] U B C Committee on 'University Boulevard' report [should go] forward to the Joint Committee, subject to due process with the University community, with further consideration to be made to the specific design o f the entry gate, with regard to scale and surrounding context." The University Boulevard Entrance Committee's recommendations were also forwarded to the T A C for comment; this quote from their meeting minutes exemplifies their concerns: "The U E L community would likely have concerns about proposed increase in density, increased Commercial, and height. Residents will be concerned with the • transportation and traffic impacts, such as the possibility o f buses looping onto Wesbrook. These proposed changes are enormous, from Translink's perspective. There are clear operational issues."  94  In the spring o f 2002, the University told the A P C and T A C that a public consultation process to consider the Committee's recommendations was planned for the fall o f 2 0 0 2 (source: A P C and T A C Minutes dated A p r i l 2002). In September 2002, the Properties and Planning Committee o f the Board o f Governors requested an update in the status o f work on the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Plan; the administration responded in December, stating that a consultation process would occur in the fall-of 2002, with "an Open House and Public meetings to begin in the latter part o f November 2002." It would "be designed to discuss the proposals with, and seek input from, all interested parties " T h e update also recognized that O C P amendments may have been required to implement the recommendations o f the Committee on University Boulevard (Board o f Governors minutes dated September 24, 2001). E v o l v i n g Processes: T r a n s i t P l a n n i n g a n d the D e n t i s t r y B u i l d i n g  T h e Dentistry development had been delayed due to the need to coordinate it with the Neighbourhood Planning process. One interviewed administrator highlighted its importance: "There are a number o f critical elements here. One is Dentistry and the Faculty o f Dentistry, which had been stuck on a rock for the past three years, there's a large part o f the University in the Faculty o f Dentistry that needs more, and nothing is happening." Meanwhile,, the' imminent approval o f the U-Pass program and resulting impacts were significant considerations, as related by two o f the administration interviewees: "There were discussions about U-Pass that started in fall o f last year, and there was an understanding that there would likely be quite a few potential impacts." " W e were in a position where we had to assess the potential impact that U - P a s s ' would have on University Boulevard. So this is when things were moving — as is often the case in planning processes — you have to anticipate things which aren't always clear." " I f you really strip away the issues, it's really about transit options and about whether commercialization, whether retail is an appropriate use on that street." T h e significance o f transit meant that neighbourhood planning had to be coordinated with the transit planning being undertaken by the consulting firm o f U r b a n Systems (Sumner & Atkins, 2002), potentially slowing the planning process somewhat. T h e University felt pressured to move ahead with the plan quickly in response to the needs o f the . Dentistry faculty, and the imminent U-Pass program was anticipated to have a significant impact on the plan. A s U-Pass was to be implemented in September 2003, with accompanying facility improvements, it was a second source o f pressure to complete the plan quickly. Clarification o f Scope and Constraints for Public Participation  T h e scope and limitations for the decision-making process as set out in the O C P , C C P , and 2 0 0 0 M o U were clarified by administration interviewees, who explained the scope i n various terms:  95  " W e could design the process in a w a y . . . chat we.could have people comment on the two issues I mentioned to you — whether there was appropriate compliance with the O C P and the C C P and whether it was reflective o f what they thought was 'universityishness' which was a word I would use to express the University."  1  "Broadly speaking, [the scope was] land-use, transportation, and community needs. . . . F r o m a logistical and an approval point o f view, all o f the neighbourhoods have clearly defined boundaries, but from a realistic point o f view, all o f the planning we have done for University Boulevard has gone well beyond the boundaries. . . . I wouldn't describe it as being set in stone. T h e way I would describe it is the O C P and the C C P provide the foundations on which the neighbourhood planning process can proceed, and does proceed. " " A lot o f this was the University really trying to determine how best to satisfy the O C P , deal with the C C P and begin to create a neighbourhood that's going to satisfy both the academic community and the residential community and all those diverse interests." .  These comments describe a scope that extended informally beyond the boundaries o f the defined Neighbourhood, and emphasized the relationship between the Neighbourhood Plan, the C C P , anc the O C P . The administration explained their perspective on O C P and C C P amendments in interviews. A s the following quotes suggest, some were resistant to amending either o f those documents, others were not, and the former opinion was reflected in the eventual strategy. "I've checked out the process with regard to both the O C P and the C C P , not in any great detail mind you but in some detail and I was satisfied that that had been done p r o p e r l y — W e had had a lot o f students involved in the previous one, and it seemed to me entirely disrespectful to suddenly say that  1  your views aren't worth a whole lot, we have a new group now, and we're going to put those i n . " "I think amendments are a normal matter o f business in doing any land-use plan, fdowever, there was a clear indication that any amendment was seen to be a problematic thing, so the University has chosen to accept the outline o f the O C P and the policies that were set in there and said, ' O K , we will not seek an amendment, we will proceed with the neighbourhood plan without amendment.'" The University-presented a single option for public comment. One administration interviewee argued that a single option was shown because "it wasn't so much a new plan as ah improvement to the existing plan." Another argued that the decision to discuss only one option was taken because options had already been discussed in the C C P process:  96  "[People asked] why aren't we dealing with options, why aren't we revisiting some o f these options? A n d we said, well the public had a chance to. participate [in the C C P process] . . . " i f you went and reviewed the planning and consultation process for the C C P , there was a very defined program to review issues and options." • c  Summary In late Fall 2002, the University faced the development o f a new draft plan i n an altered context. T h e consolidated elements o f the context were: •  policy that supported collaborative public participation;  •  challenging community characteristics;  . •  • - University Boulevard was a central area o f campus, important to many different people; •  a C C P process that had presented only one option for University Boulevard;  •.  a Draft #1 process that had involved the public almost exclusively in reviewing prepared plans;  •  identified public concerns with Draft #1;  •  recent committee recommendations that required O C P amendments and that received fairly critical reviews' from the A P C and T A C ;  •  a long history o f community mistrust; and  •  pressure to move quickly i n response to Dentistry and transit concerns.  W i t h respect to the scope o f the process and constraints on the decision, there was a strong commitment to previous decisions based on an assumption o f the quality o f the processes.that led to those decisions. A s a result, U B C limited the scope o f the process to review o f a draft plan based on previous recommendations and O C P amendments were resisted. T h e scope, then, was: ; •  decisions were about the area within the boundaries o f the University Boulevard Neighbourhood but could informally address adjacent areas;  •  the resulting plan had to include goals, density controls, building siting, massing, and height regulations, street and circulation details, parking standards, and building design guidelines;  •  decisions had to be consistent with the O C P , C C P principles, and overall density and parks allocations set in the C C P ;  •  a single option would be presented to the public for review; and  ••  the process had to meet requirements set out in the M o U for'public participation.  In the situation defined by this scope and context, the University proceeded to develop and implement the public consultation process outlined in the next section.  6.2  Plan Development and Consultation: Winter 2002 to Spring 2003  This section consists o f three parts, following on the conceptual model o f public participation in decision-making. T h e first is an overview o f the Draft # 2 process. T h e second is an evaluation o its strategic elements. T h e last part evaluates the characteristics o f the process itself.  Process Overview  ,  ;  As noted in the Context Chapter, the University re-organized in January 2003 to give the V i c e President o f External and Legal Affairs — Dennis Pavlich — responsibility for Neighbourhood  97  Planning. Soon after, M r . Pavlich hired Linda M o o r e as Associate Director for University T o w n to coordinate neighbourhood planning. After that, work on Non-Institutional planning and development was done by a core team consisting o f Geoff Atkins, A V P L a n d and Building Services, Fred Pritchard o f Campus and Community Planning, Linda M o o r e o f External arid Legal Affairs, and either A l Poettcker or Joe R e d m o n d o f U B C Properties (Linda M o o r e , personal communication August 7, 2 0 0 3 . See Figure 12, p. 70). T h e role o f the group was described by an administration interviewee as: "the operational group that moves, but when you say final decisions, none o f this is f i n a l . . . it's final to take to different groups." A second administrator explained that the " V P External Affairs leads, and Properties and Planning are in a support role." W h e n asked about the different mandates for U B C Properties and Campus and Community Planning, the interviewee's response was "I don't know that any one o f us can say we make'decisions on the land use plan. W h a t we do is provide input, advice, it's mulled over collectively. It's a collaborative process." fdowever, a third administrator clearly distinguished the roles o f the different units: " [ U B C Properties] work with [Campus Planning] to ensure that [ U B C Properties'] public material is either compliant or has an acceptable basis for being presented on a non-compliant basis with the O C P , C C P and University objectives and community objectives. . . . [Campus Planning's] responsibility is to report to the executive o f the University and'the Board o f Governors and advise whether [ U B C Properties'] plans that are being put forward can be supported or meet in their opinion the requirements o f the various documents." Internally, Dennis Pavlich set up two other "informal and advisory" (personal communication August 8, 2003) groups to assist in the planning process: the University T o w n Steering Committee, and an ad hoc academic committee. T h e ad hoc committee's role was to field M r . Pavlich's ideas and provide feedback in a very informal manner. It met periodically as requested by M r . Pavlich, and consisted o f seven faculty members from the design and. planning professions ( T o n y Dorcey, personal communication, M a r c h 17, 2004). Linda M o o r e , Joe Redmond, and Fred Pritchard sometimes attended as well. T h e University T o w n Steering Committee was more formal. It was chaired by Dennis Pavlich and met weekly during the process. Based on conversations with Dennis Pavlich, Linda M o o r e , and the A M S representative on the committee, it included eighteen regular attendees, who were: •  External and Legal Affairs staff, including University T o w n and Public Affairs (3 people);  •  Land and Building Services staff, including the Associate Vice-President, Campus and Community Planning, the Sustainability Office, and the T R E K Transportation Office (5);  •  other staff and consultants (4);  •  U B C Properties Trust staff (2);  •  faculty ( I ) ; and  •  students (2).  -'  A third internal group was the U B C Planning Teafn. It met when requested by the core team, usually to review a draft plan. Its role was similar to that o f the AdvisOry Planning Committee " (Linda M o o r e , personal communication August 7, 2003). T h e Committee included representatives from Land and Building Services units.  98  T h e Neighbourhood Planning process for University Boulevard, from January 2003 on, is shown in Figure 17, which is a combination o f information from the text and figures in the 2 0 0 0 G V R D - U B C Memorandum o f Understanding and personal communications with Dennis Pavlich and Linda M o o r e in August 2003. Core T e a m •  C&CP  •  U B C Properties  •  External and Legal Affairs  works collaboratively to: coordinate the process; hire consultants; and make planning decisions  Draft Plan s  N  University T o w n Steering Committee — advises core team, meets once a week from February to April  U B C Planning T e a m — comments on matters referred to it —H  T A C — comments on matters referred to it  A P C — comments on matters referred to it  Public — comment on official draft pla at open houses, presentations and community meetings  Revised Plan  U B C and G V R D Boards — review and approve plans Figure 17: University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning Process M a r c h 2003 In conjunction with their consultants, the core team produced a second draft plan for presentation to the public in February 2003 — termed the " M a r c h plan" here for simplicity. T h e substantive planning objectives for the neighbourhood are found in background planning and policy documents and are consolidated in the Consultation Report (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, p. 5).  '  -  T h e plan was similar to the recommendations made by the U B C Committee on University Boulevard. A s recommended, it showed the area as a mixed use corridor on a conventional street, with a plaza at East M a l l and residential housing in towers. Rather than remove transit, however,  99  this plan proposed to route it to an underground loop. It also featured three towers rather than two, and half the housing units would be for sale on the open market, not built as "non-market" housing for faculty, staff, a n d / o r students. Box' 3 summarizes the key elements in the plan, showing important changes from the June 2001 Plan as b o l d , underlined text. Plan diagrams are provided in Appendix B.  Box 3: M a r c h 2 0 0 3 Plan Elements •  R o l e as 'social hub'  •  •  R e - o p e n University Boulevard to cars through to M a r i n e D r i v e  •  M i x e d use buildings throughout, with total retail space more than permitted by the O C P  •  3 towers; m a x i m u m height 18 storeys  •  Bus l o o p underground  •  R o a d widened for parallel parking and bike lanes  •  M a r k e t housing i n addition to university housing, doubling housing allowed by the O C P  •  Plaza at East M a l l , over bus loop  •  N o identifiable greenway a:rea  Evaluation Against Strategic Criteria  T h e evaluation o f the general approach or strategy is done with the contextual factors summarized on p. 107 in mind. T h e four original strategic criteria and one additional criterion are, succinctly: 1.  establishment o f goals and process and decision constraints at the beginning o f the process; -  2. 3.  choice o f approach and methods to suit organizational and planning goals; participation timed to be congruent with decision-making stages;  4.  decision-making process designed for significant public influence over the decisions; and  5.  decision-making process designed to respond to contextual factors.  Each o f these criteria is addressed below. W e r e goals e s t a b l i s h e d a n d p r o c e s s a n d d e c i s i o n c o n s t r a i n t s i d e n t i f i e d at t h e b e g i n n i n g o f the process?  Establishment  of Goals  T h e University's goals for the public participation process are found in official documents, but not all o f U B C ' s goals were expressed officially. In a report to the Board o f Governors i n December 2002, Land and Building Services stated that the consultation process would "be designed to discuss the proposals with, and seek input from, all interested parties..." (Sumner & Atkins, 2002). T h e official goals were consolidated in more detail in the Discussion Guide and were documented in the Consultation Report produced following the process, quoted in Box 4 (emphasis in the original).  '  100  Box 4: Documented Consultation Objectives •  " T o inform and engage the campus and broader community in an open and transparent dialogue;  •  T o initiate a broad and inclusive public consultation program as a means o f obtaining feedback to input the draft neighbourhood plan;  •  T o ensure broad notification to internal and external stakeholder groups regarding the scope o f consultation activities/opportunities through extensive local advertising ( V 6 T , Ubyssey, U B C Reports, Courier, Georgia Straight);  •  T o provide a range o f opportunities to become informed about the draft neighbourhood planning process and to provide feedback;  •  T o analyze the feedback received during the consultation phase;  •  T o document the findings o f the consultation phase in a summary report; and  •  T o post the-findings from the consultation on the website for broad public information."  Goals to consult the public, inform the public, record and summarize public feedback, and report to the Board o f Governors and back to the public were mentioned i n a February 28, 2003 letter to the Campus Community, in advertisements (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, pp. 9, 14), and in the Discussion Guide (p. 2, 9), although they were not described as goals perse'm those places. T h e four U B C administrators interviewed described the process goals: "First o f all we have to do it anyway.  O u r goal was really to ascertain what  people thought o f this particular plan in relation to it as a product o f the O C P and the C C P which o f course is tied i n to the location to the space involved. . . . W e were trying to ensure that you get community buy-in. It's not only compliance that we were looking for, the community's view o f compliance, . . . we want[ed] the community to be satisfied, i n fact more than satisfied, we'd like them to whoop and yell and shout with joy and say 'this is very exciting and lovely, and this will express U B C . . . W e are looking for the views o f people, we are trying to put in place what people want but it's not just these people, it's also the people that preceded it, with the C C P and the O C P . " [The administration as a whole] had a shared commitment to .. .a more open and transparent process. . . . There's clear direction about providing more information. . . . [Our goal is] to give people the opportunity to share their ideas a n d / o r voice their concerns. . . . T h e objectives are to inform, to inspire, and to receive feedback." .  '  "[Our goals were] to get approval from anyone who had an interest in the plan [and to seek] as broad an input as possible." "The first [goal] is integrity. I think it's absolutely essential that the public be given a complete understanding o f what is being intended. There's a couple o f reasons for that.  One is that there are a couple o f Supreme Court decisions that  IOI  make it clear that i f you introduce information after a public meeting, you could easily have a plan that is overturned. . . . So obviously from a very practical point o f view, I have a desire for honesty and integrity. I think the second is I see the public process as an opportunity to sell our vision in the broadest possible conceptual terms. . . . I think that residents deserve the right to be informed fully, that they be given the right to make accurate criticisms, or criticisms based on the facts  "  1  T h e official goals o f informing and receiving input were reflected i n the interviews. 'However, administrators identified three other goals. T h e first was described as to "get community buy-in" or "get approval from anyone who had an interest." T h e second was to "inspire" or to "sell our vision in the broadest possible conceptual terms." T h e third was to meet requirements,:as indicated by the statement that "we have to do it anyway" and the explanation of-a practical response to Supreme Court decisions. The-first goal can be termed "community acceptance" and is an accepted social goal, but the goal can be achieved, in a range o f ways, illustrated by two extremes. T h e first extreme is a process i n which issues raised by the community are acknowledged, understood and resolved, resulting i n a plan that meets the community's needs. It is accepted because it is appropriate to the community. T h e second is a process in which a plan is promoted to the community in a way that emphasizes , its advantages and either ignores or downplays the disadvantages to obtain acceptance. Interviews with administrators suggested the latter approach was the one adopted by U B C . T h e timing and tone o f the process provided further evidence about U B C ' s approach , Turning first to timing, the consultation period began after sixteen months o f internal activity and lasted just under two months, from February 10 to A p r i l T 2003. A t the M a r c h 2 3 Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) meeting, Judy M c L e o d o f Campus and Community Planning stated that "[the Board] set a deadline for M a y 2 0 0 3 " ( A P C Minutes, M a r c h 23, 2003; p.4). One o f the administration interviewees explained the University's assumptions about the consultation: th  ^  r  rd  " W h e n we do a plan, we assume that it's going to get approved. W e assume that. W h e n we find that in fact the changes that are needed are so fundamental that you can't take that to the Board, then on each o f those occasions we change the 'approval' to 'information.'"  In planning the 'consultation, U B C administrators assumed they would get approval o f the plan at the Board o f Governors meeting on M a y I 5 , six weeks after the end o f the consultation. Material rh  for the Board had to be submitted approximately three weeks before the Board meeting (Board deadline drawn from a personal communication with N i n a Robinson, Secretary for the Board o f Governors, in November 2003). Therefore, the consultation period concluded three weeks before the final plan had to be submitted for approval. T h e executive summary o f the Consultation report was completed in time to be submitted to the Board. However, revisions were not completed until late M a y or early June. U B C staff statements and the timing o f the decision-making process indicate that U B C assumed that the plan would be approved without incorporating any public input. Instead, it intended to obtain public acceptance by. promoting the plan.  102  T o n e is an important descriptor o f process (Abelson, 1999). Participants i n the process related how the plan was presented to them. One described University staff and the presentations at the public meeting. She said that the people on the panel showed through body language that they were not interested in public comments, and that they were defensive and didn't look up at public presenters. She added that the presentations seemed to show the plans as a done deal. Others made similar comments: "Dennis Pavlich, I think we've already talked about that. I think it [his presentation] was a sales job more than anything else. 'Envision this, a n d . . . ' — it was just trying to sell the plan." ."I felt that the university was pushing a product, it felt like a commercial for University Boulevard, and that was presentations," public meetings, and open houses." '' ' i M y , o w n observations reflected these comments with respect to presentations, but I found staff at open houses to be genuinely helpful and interested in providing and receiving information. T h i s dichotomy was echoed by interviewed participants with respect to open houses and A P C meetings "[At open houses] they came across very professionally. [They were] friendly and approached people, didn't hide in a corner." "[At A P C meetings] i f I had a question, it was answered properly and with respect." However, two other participants made different observations about the tone o f staff communication's, saying that they became more defensive when asked critical questions: " [ U B C representatives'] attitude was helpful in that they wanted you to understand the plan from their perspective, but sort o f dismissive i f you wanted to challenge the plan."  .  "There is not a high degree o f respect for individuals who are participating in this process and critical o f what the University is doing and the way that they're going about i t — F o r some reason, they feel threatened by the questions that are being posed to them. They view the critics o f the plan as the enemy." T h e tone o f U B C ' s communications varied. W h e n asked for clarification or information about a plan, as would often be the case in an open house or A P C meeting, the tone o f their responses was neutral. However, when questioned or criticized, they responded more defensively, and their 1  presentations were promotional. T h e timing o f the process and administration statements were significant indications that U B C " staff intended to request approval without incorporating public input. In the same vein, the tone of many o f U B C ' s verbal communications support the proposal that they intended to promote and  103  defend the Draft Plan. In short, U B C ' s plan was to promote, and defend its Draft Plan to maximize public acceptance and then request approval o f the plan without revising it. / •  Projects have different levels o f goals, such as those outlined i n the LogFrame method for project management (Dolf, 1999)., In this case, some o f these goals address activities to be undertaken by U B C , such as informing the public, while others address oyerall objectives for the process. It is useful to categorize them in this fashion in order to show which apply directly to implementation and which to outcomes o f the process. T h e following list summarizes U B C ' s goals based on official statements, administration interviews, and its actions: Activities (implementation-related): •  involve the public i n a broad and inclusive way;  •  inform the public about the plan;  •  obtain feedback and summarize and communicate it to the public and the Board o f Governors; and  •  promote and defend the draft plan.  Objectives (outcome-related): •  meet requirements for public process;  •  complete the process (i.e. obtain approval) in a timely way; and  •  obtain public acceptance.  Before concluding this section, it is important to make two points. First, it is clear that the University's goals potentially conflict. In particular, a broadly inclusive process often entails a time commitment, as does incorporating feedback into a plan. It is very difficult to achieve these goals in the context o f a goal to have a plan approved i n a short timeframe: Second, while these goals  :  reflect policy statements about inclusiveness and transparency, they do not reflect policy commitments to taking the needs o f the public into account, nor to engage i n a collaborative process. Establishment  of Goals, Scope and Constraints  T h e goals for the U B C Committee on University Boulevard were established before it was initiated in 2 0 0 1 . Overall goals for the Draft # 2 consultation process were established in the fall o f 2 0 0 2 . > Official goals for the Draft # 2 consultation were identified before the process began, including consulting the public, informing the public, recording and summarizing public feedback, and reporting t o t h e Board o f Governors and. back to the public. In short, official.goals were established for the Draft # 2 process before it began. There is no information about when unofficial goals were established.  •  Legal process constraints were laid out in the 2 0 0 0 M o U . Similarly, the requirement for consistency with the O C P was clearly stated in the B C Local Government Act. Decision constraints were laid out in the O C P and C C P and the degree to which they constrained the process was made clear in the C C P . These constraints were identified on the University T o w n website ("University T o w n , " 2003)i Last, the University was time-constrained: a M a y 2003 deadline had been set for completion o f the plan ( A P C Minutes, M a r c h 26, 2003). These constraints were established before the process began.  104  T h e scope o f the decisions for the Neighbourhood, Plan area was also laid out i n the C C P . However, the informal inclusion o f surrounding areas was not made clear and was not communicated in public planning documents. T h e scope was not completely established before the Draft # 2 process began. D i d the c h o i c e o f a p p r o a c h a n d m e t h o d s reflect o r g a n i z a t i o n a l a n d p l a n n i n g goals?  Approach and methods Under its new leadership and with the advice o f the University T o w n Steering C o m m i t t e e , U B C ' s core planning group developed an extensive process for the M a r c h plan which they termed "public consultation." T h e effort ultimately included (University o f British'Columbia, M a y 2003): •  a University T o w n website;  •  I I open houses (one cancelled due to unrelated staff picketing);  •  2 2 other meetings — O  14 presentations to stakeholder groups;  O  4 meetings with interested individuals, including a professor o f Planning and the • M L A for the area;  O  4 presentations to U B C committees responsible for planning-related matters, such as the President's Property and Planning Advisory Committee;  •  attending a presentation o f a design charrette set up and run by students in Planning and Landscape Architecture; and  •  I public meeting, held at the end o f the consultation on A p r i l I, 2003.  As per the Memorandum o f Understanding, U B C also held two meetings with the Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) , o f which the first did not meet quorum and was informal and short, and one with the Technical Advisory Committee. T h e Terms o f Reference for the A P C described its role and responsibilities: "The purpose o f the Advisory Committee is to provide public input in the University Boulevard Neighbourhood Planning process. T h e committee would be responsible for providing comments to the U B C Planning Team and the G V R D / U B C Joint Committee on the neighbourhood planning process and any other matters referred by the Joint Committee. '  ...  i  T h e Advisory Planning Committee shall: a) . Choose a chairperson from among the members; b)  Meet as required to carry out the Neighbourhood Planning Process as described  c)  Identify issues and neighbourhood concerns, needs and goals, neighbourhood  d)  Use a consensus-based approach to decision-making; and  in the G V R D / U B C Memorandum o f Understanding; strengths and assets, and to address land use planning and service delivery issues; e) • M a i n t a i n meeting minutes that, where appropriate, record votes." A member o f the A P C described their meetings in an interview:  105  " M o s t o f the time there was consensus, occasionally we'd take a vote. It was more o f a discussion o f what the issues were. W e ' d bring the issues up, and they would be sent off to C P & D to the person who organized the input to some o f the planning processes. . . .1 don't know that we as a group-often resolved issues, you know I don't think that was for us to do. But it was for us to raise concerns or questions,  '  T o think about the issues, that's one o f the values o f the committee meetings, where we would have discussions, people would bring different points o f view to the foreground, and I think it would have been nice at some o f the meetings to have more discussion time. [The amount o f discussion time] depended on whether the meetings had presentations or not. A lot o f the meetings had presentations and then discussions and food afterward. So often we were presented with new information, and it takes some time to digest before you can make some comments on it. . . . F o r some o f them [the presentation] would take almost the whole meeting... [and for others] a half hour or so o f an hour and a half meeting." S t f l f  T h e selected communications materials included (see Appendices A - E for copies): • •  a Discussion Guide that provided a textual explanation o f the plan and information about the consultation process; . , Draft Plan Diagrams that provided an illustration o f the physical layout under the proposed plan;  •  a Feedback Form that included a variety o f questions about the plan;  •  a new website that contained basic infonnation about-the consultation process, links to relevant webpages, and copies o f the Discussion Guide, Draft Plan Diagrams, and Feedback Form; and •  •  presentations made by Dennis Pavlich that described the plan's vision and elements.  T h e open houses were held throughout the M a r c h 3 — M a r c h 25 period, some during the day, some late afternoon to evening, and others at night. Locations varied, and included the U B C Bookstore, rooms in the S U B , and the W a r Memorial G y m foyer. Attendance at the open houses varied from 14 t o about 150. T h e open houses were advertised between 2 and 14 days i n advance, sometimes more than once,.in the Ubyssey, U B C Reports, and Vancouver Courier (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003). Through my attendance at a number o f open houses, I was able to observe further details. O p e n houses at which attendance was higher were at highly visible a n d / o r busy locations. Elsewhere, such as upstairs rooms in the Student U n i o n Building ( S U B ) , no signage was provided by U B C to indicate the presence o f the open house. O n l y a simple 8 - 1 / 2 x 1 1 sign posted by the building manager at the top o f the S U B stairs indicated the presence o f the open house. During the event, presentation boards showing the plan drawings were displayed, and U B C Campus & Community Planning and U B C Properties staff were on hand to respond to inquiries. T h e boards included four plan drawings and three cross-sections. Some staff wrote notes to document inquiries, while others did not. Feedback forms and black-and-white copies o f the plan drawings, were available at a table at each open house.  -  106  k  Based on my observations and a conversation with a Landscape Architecture student who attended several sessions, presentations to stakeholder groups consisted o f a slide presentation, usually given by Dennis Pavlich, followed by a question period. Rooms'were generally set up lecture/theatre style. Feedback forms and black-and-white 8 - 1 / 2 x 1 1 copies o f the plan drawings were available to attendees. T h e public meeting was held in the S U B Ballroom on A p r i l I , from 7-10 p m . It was advertised, generally well in advance, i n 6 different local publications (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003). T h e meeting was well-attended, with an estimated 150-200 people. A s illustrated in • Figure 18,1 observed that the room was set up with the entry at the back o f the room. A sign-in table was placed at the entry, and copies o f the Feedback Form and drawings were available. T h e display boards were arranged at the back o f the room; in front o f them was seating facing the front of the room lecture/theatre style. U B C staff sat at a long table at the front o f the room facing the public audience, and a podium, projector, and screen were located to the right o f staff. A microphone was placed at the front o f each o f two aisles for the use o f the public-.  Microphones  Seating.,  Sum-in table (Schematic, not to scale)  Figure 18: Community Meeting Layout  107  The meeting began with an informal period during which people viewed the display boards, and U B C staff responded to questions. T h e formal part o f the meeting was chaired by Larry Bell, the Chair o f the Board o f Governors. It began with two presentations, one by H a r o l d Kalke acting as former Chair o f the University Boulevard Committee, and one by Dennis Pavlich, similar to others given to stakeholder groups, on the proposed University Boulevard plan. After that, M r . Bell allotted three minutes to each o f about 30 speakers, for a total o f 9 0 minutes o f comments from the public. Following the speakers, a short period o f less formal question-and-answer ensued. M r . Bell closed the meeting by thanking the audience for their comments. ' s  Following the consultation process, a summary and analysis o f quantitative feedback was conducted by Brooks Development Planning Inc (Linda M o o r e , personal communication, August 2003). Based on that information, University T o w n staff prepared a report on the consultation process and results titled Campus and Community Consultation: University Boulevard DRAFT Neighbourhood Plan (henceforth termed the Consultation Report). It included a listing o f the public consultation activities and a qualitative and quantitative analysis o f public comments. T h e executive summary o f the report was released in early M a y 2003 and the report itself was released in late M a y . In summary, the public consultation effort incorporated a large number o f opportunities for public review o f the Draft Plan, including many presentations and open houses, a website, and a public meeting. During the process, information was provided in the form o f a "Discussion Guide," "Draft Plan Diagrams," presentations, and responses to questions. Information was received from verbal comments and through the Feedback Form. T h e program concluded with a report describing the process in detail and summarizing the input received. Selection of methods and materials Interviews with administrators provided the main source o f information about how and why different methods were selected. In terms o f the general approach, one administrator stated that "this is pretty well in conformity with what other municipalities do, so I don't, want td suggest that we're starting from scratch here, we weren't doing anything but proceeding from what was the ordinary. [ W e wanted] to do it in a^way that is consistent with our planning process that we agreed to with the G V R D . I don't want to make major structural changes to that."  !  Another explained that the consultation plan was based on a more general communications plan: A communications p l a n . . . had been prepared, and it obviously 'focused around consultation  [But] inevitably due to context and issues and options and all o f  the whole planning and design process, there is a need to tador make a consultation plan." Discussions with two other administrators revealed the rationales for selecting each o f the adopted methods.  • \  '  "Open houses and special meetings [presentations] are very effective means for providing information and obtaining feedback W e knew we wanted to  108  .  provide diversity, a range o f opportunities. So open houses provide the flexibility for stakeholders to come and go according to their schedule. Special meetings [presentations] provide the opportunity for more o f a one-on-one meeting situation with a focused presentation. . . . T h e public meeting is more o f a formal meeting, where people who feel that they haven't had enough o f an opportunity through special meetings or open houses, to come forward and express their point o f view, be it positive or negative  In the case o f the public meeting, the first  and foremost objective is to hear from the campus and the broader community. • there is no doubt however, that for us to be able to respond to some o f the concerns they bring up would be helpful holistically speaking. . . . [Our objectives for open houses and special meetings (presentations) were] to inform, to inspire." "[Open houses] can be instrumental in satisfying people's curiosity and legitimate questions. . . . T h e public meetings are expected i f not required by the GVRD...." W i t h i n the consultation plan, there were different reasons for selecting the different communications materials: "Given the community that we're dealing with - at least the major groups, that is faculty, and students, who are very computer-savvy and technology savvy - we figured, that we could make great use [of the web]." "The full purpose o f a discussion guide is to take the planning, the actual planning report, with all the verbiage and the drawings, and try to create a layman's document that would highlight the key concepts and the key planning issues."' "[In the Draft Plan Diagrams^] there is an indication o f detail as to the siting o f buildings and to what the character o f buildings might be, a suggestion o f what it might look like. . . . there's always those questions from constituents about what it's going to look like, how you would do that. So in order to provide that information, the University would provide additional information that would suggest how the buildings might be sited, even a suggestion o f what the buildings might look like, and that led to other discussions about character and form and what was meant by university character." T h e overall approach and the particular methods for involving the public were chosen based on what is usually done in other municipalities, to be consistent with . G V R D requirements laid out in the Memorandum o f Understanding, and to implement activities planned by the University. These activities included: providing a diverse, flexible range o f opportunities, for involvement, providing information, and receiving feedback. T h e communications materials were chosen to suit the community's expertise and education and to inform the community about the plan through a combination o f readable text and illustrative drawings. Relationship  to organizational and planning goals  Each o f U B C ' s activities and objectives is addressed below. W i t h respect to activities, the process:  109  •  was designed to inform the public.about the plan by making information available to the public on the web and at meetings and open houses; and by fielding questions at open houses;.  - •  was designed to involve the public i n a broad and inclusive way by using a number o f different techniques at different locations and times, including targeted presentations to a variety o f groups;  •  included mechanisms to obtain feedback and communicate it to the public and the Board o f Governors. Feedback was obtained through the Feedback Form and notes taken i n meetings.. A report on the consultation process and results was prepared and made available to the public. T h e executive summary o f the consultation report was made available to the Board o f Governors; and  •  included visionary presentations designed "to inform, to inspire." A s such, it was designed to promote the draft plan.  Turning to the objectives, the process: •  met requirements set out in the Memorandum o f Understanding (2000) in that it employed an A P C and a T A C in review o f successive drafts and in that it incorporated at least one public meeting at a significant point in the process;  • •  was designed to be completed in time for the M a y Board o f Governors meeting; and was designed to obtain public acceptance by inspiring participants to buy into U B C ' s vision.  _j  1  .  Overall, the process was well-designed to achieve U B C ' s goals for the process, but only some o f the goals mandated by policy.  Was participation timed to be congruent with stages in the decision-making process? D i d it follow from process goals? There are two components to the timing o f participation: timing i n the entire Neighbourhood Planning process, and timing in the Draft # 2 process. T h e starting points for the overall process were the plans outlined in the O C P , C C P and M a i n Campus Plan. Figure 19 chronicles public influence through the entire planning process, showing that with one exception, U B C consistently prepared plans and then presented them, limiting public participation to providing comments on finished plans. T h e timing o f participation in the Draft # 2 process, including the activities o f the A P C and T A C , was no exception. Looking at both the overall process and the Draft # 2 process, 1  the University relied almost exclusively on late consultation, and almost never planned  N  collaboratively. Participation was consistently congruent with the stage o f decision-making concerned with reviewing a draft plan or refining a decision. In the Draft # 2 process, it would have been impossible for U B C to receive, compile, analyze, and report on feedback, and then change the plan in response to input in the short time available between the conclusion o f the consultation, and submission to the Board, precluding revisions before submission for approval on the intended timeline. T h e timing o f consultation followed from the process goal o f obtaining acceptance by promoting a completed plan.  110  Description One workshop with ten members o f the public and twenty-four staff members. Initial draft plan preparation. Consultation through A P C , T A C , open houses and a public meeting. Draft #1 preparation. Consultation through A P C , T A C , open houses and a public meeting. University Boulevard Committee. Consultation with the A P C and T A C . Draft # 2 preparation. Consultation through A P C , presentations, open houses and a public meeting. Draft #3 preparation. Consultation through A P C , presentations, open houses and a public meeting.  Figure 19: Pattern o f Public Influence in Decision-Making for University Boulevard  D i d the p r o c e s s r e s p o n d t o resource l i m i t a t i o n s , the n a t u r e o f the c o m m u n i t y at h a n d , l o c a l circumstances, the type o f decision, a n d issue-specific concerns?  T h i s criterion essentially concerns whether the process responded to key contextual factors. T h e factors evaluated included available resources, diversity, and transience. Little data was collected about the resources available in the process. Some information was available about key staff and funding, and more about time availability. Staff in the core planning group included an architect with some experience in managing development projects that incorporate public involvement, a planner/architect with long municipal planning experience, a developer with many years o f experience, and a lawyer with considerable experience with U B C governance matters and some experience with development issues. Overall, the core group had considerable experience in planning and development, but the details o f their experience are not known. O n funding, in response to the question o f whether he had adequate resources for the process, Dennis Pavlich said "Yes, but I didn't realize it at the time that I d i d . " Finally, time constraints in various meetings were acknowledged by administrators and participants alike. T w o administrators commented "time is always a constraint" and "open houses and special meetings... are time-constrained." A n A P C member described constraints on time in meetings and outside them:  III  " i f I wanted to delve farther — which I didn't for lack o f time — I could have gone and got more information. . . . T h e other issue for many o f us was the meetings were set for an hour and a half, and there was a reluctance for people to stay beyond, that." Based on this information, it appears that the financial resources were adequate to implement the process and that staff had significant related experience. T i m e , however, was a constraint both in meeting design and for participants. In facilitating the involvement o f a variety o f stakeholder groups in a variety o f ways, the process responded well to the diverse nature o f the community. T h e effort to reach a wide range o f people also recognized the important role that University Boulevard plays in the University and its neighbouring community. Finally, the process took place primarily during February and M a r c h , which are relatively good months for students and faculty to become involved. T h e Executive Summary o f the Consultation Report suggested that the transience o f participants meant that they were not familiar with previous planning processes. I f so, then an appropriate response might have been to inform participants o f the conduct o f previous planning processes, and key information about decisions made through them. T h e administration mentioned the O C P and the C C P in general terms in their presentations, but they did not explain why those decisionmaking processes were credible. Furthermore, their presentations d i d not mention the 2001 process or its results at all. Printed documents, such as display boards (plan drawings) and the Discussion Guide, also neglected previous public consultation on the plan, and it was not mentioned on the University T o w n website. A s a result; when asked what they knew about previous decisions, community responses ranged from "not at all aware" to "only the sketchiest details..'. in the broader sense I know about it." In summary, U B C provided adequate resources for the process and responded well to the community's diversity, but did not address the issue o f transience. W a s the process designed to give the p u b l i c significant influence over the o u t c o m e o f the process?  T h e process design included the use o f open houses, presentations, a public meeting, and an Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) . T h e A P C ' s Terms o f Reference states that it is intended to "identify issues and neighbourhood concerns, needs and goals, neighbourhood strengths and assets, and to address land use planning and service delivery issues." T h i s role reflects the most common role o f such advisory committees: "[they] are used to rationalize established power through some degree o f shared governance— [it is possible] for a C A C [Citizen Advisory Committee] to influence institutional decisions by flagging errors made by technical experts or political leaders, a n d / o r demonstrating that substantial public opposition exists. Ultimately, C A C recommendations can be ignored by governing bodies or regulators." ( L y n n & Kartez, 1995). In this case, the A P C represents a consultative method, in which advice may be accepted o r ignored by the sponsoring organization. Specifically, their role was restricted to raising issues, not to offering advice as to how to resolve them. Similarly, the structure and contents o f the consultation report indicate that U B C used other events to identify community concerns rather than solutions to problems.  112  The process was designed to give the public some degree o f influence over the outcome. In contrast to U B C ' s policy support for collaboration but very much in keeping with U B C ' s description o f the process as "consultation," the public's influence was limited to critiquing the proposed plan and depended on their ability to convince administrators o f the legitimacy o f their critiques. 1  Evaluation of Process Characteristics Criteria respecting process characteristics, including three o f the contingent criteria, fall into three categories: "Representation," "Procedures," and "Information." These structure the evaluation o f the characteristics o f the University Boulevard process. T h e three categories are addressed in turn below. ' ' ' ••  Representation Was the selection of participants fair? There were two aspects o f participant selection: the selection o f Advisory Planning Committee ( A P C ) members, and that o f participants i n the rest o f the process. T u r n i n g first to the A P C , the 2 0 0 0 Memorandum o f Understanding states that "The committee would have 7-9 members selected by the Joint Committee from members o f the neighbourhood in question, broader campus interests, and adjacent communities. I attended the July 2003 Joint Committee meeting, at which the process was clarified. It was explained that University staff identified 7-9 key stakeholder groups, then asked each o f them to nominate a representative, whose name was then submitted to the Joint Committee for approval. 1  T o explain participant selection for the rest o f the process, an administrator explained that: "[there were] three categories, which we always refer to as (1) open houses (2) special meetings, and (3) the public meeting. F o r special meetings, we always say 'If you .would like to arrange a special meeting, please contact us.'" The consultation report further described this process o f inviting previously identified stakeholder groups and formal committees. "Invitations were broadcast via email February 28, 2003 & M a r c h 24, 2003, to stakeholder g r o u p s — " These included "Internal (Campus C o m m u n i t y ) " and "External (Broader Community)" groups (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, pp. 6-7). Advertisements also informed the community that "your group can request a presentation by contacting Linda M o o r e . . . " (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, p. 14). The consultation described a significant advertising campaign in campus newspapers and in off-. campus community newspapers. T h e advertising informed the public at large about the consultation process and allowed other interested individuals to attend. Essentially, although it did not select people directly, the advertising campaign had the potential to draw individuals who were interested in University Boulevard: it could be said to select for interested individuals who were not members o f identified stakeholder groups. U B C directly selected participants who were members o f a broad range o f previously identified stakeholder groups and review committees and solicited the involvement o f members o f the public who were interested in University Boulevard.  113  Participant selection relied first on staff s identification o f stakeholders and then on a stakeholder self-selection process, ft also provided for the possibility that staff d i d not identify all interested stakeholders by inviting requests for presentations and consultation with the public at large. Overall, it appeared fair. Were the meetings comfortable and convenient for participants: were they accessible? Access to the process can be provided by informing the public it and through timing and selection o f event locations. U B C informed the public about the process through invitations and advertising. T h e invitation process was described in. the previous section. A s documented i n the consultation report, advertising usually came out 1-2 weeks before the events, and was placed i n a variety o f publications. A sample is provided in Appendix E . T h e advertisements were described by a student interviewee: " W h e n you see the ads in the Ubyssey, and they have the U B C logo on them, they all look exactly the same. Students get so many communications from the University that after a while, unless they're highlighted in a way that students can understand, they just start to tune them out." Signage was another potential way o f informing the public about events. F o r the O p e n Houses I attended in the Student U n i o n Building ( S U B ) , U B C relied on 8 - 1 / 2 X I I black and white text signs provided by S U B management to inform the public o f the events. These signs were located at the top o f the stairs on the upper floor.of the building, an area which in my experience is visited primarily by those who already have a reason to be there, especially i n the evenings when these open houses took place. Turning to event timing and location selection, presentations, open houses, and the public meeting were examined. U B C made presentations at established meetings o f organized community groups. Group'members would have been likely to be able to attend these events because they were regularly scheduled and therefore expected. O p e n houses were scheduled for a variety o f locations in both day and 'evening time periods. A l l locations were wheelchair-accessible. T h e visibility o f open house locations varied widely. F o r instance, events on the upper floor o f the S U B were visible only to those who passed either a sign or the entrance to the rooms i n which they were being held, while those in the Bookstore lobby were visible to the many students, faculty, staff, and visitors who were at or passing by the store on other business. T h e more visible locations (the Bookstore, W a r Memorial G y m , and the Aquatic Center) had more participants than the less visible locations in the S U B (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2 0 0 3 , p. 16). T h e public meeting was held in an upstairs room in the S U B i n the evening o f A p r i l I , 2003, in the last week of classes before'final exams. T h i s timing was viewed by some'participants as a potential constraint on student involvement. One student said that "[the timing o f the public meeting] pretty much guaranteed that no student's going to show up," while a resident said "I know the students expressed a frustration with the scheduling o f the A p r i l I meeting." ^ st  The M a r c h process was accessible in that it provided a variety o f convenient forums, times and locations for involvement. However, the process could have been made more accessible through  114  more engaging advertising, better signage, and by holding the final public meeting at a more convenient time for the academic community, for example a week earlier. Were participants representative of the community that has an interest in the decision/issue?  Was the perspective ofparticipants  representative of the  community?  As noted in the Methods section o f Chapter 5, demographic data on participants was limited. Nevertheless, useful demographic information was available. As shown i n Figure 20, the composition o f participants was different from that o f the whole University community. In  off campus  other  faculty  7%  13%  residents  staff  off campus  6%  20%  residents  students  14%  (graduate) students  15%  (undergraduate) 66%  a) Community Composition  students  students  (graduate)  (undergraduate)  21%  25%  b) Participant Composition  Figure 20: Comparison o f Participant and Community C o m p o s i t i o n  13  particular, undergraduate students were very under-represented in the planning process. I f undergraduates and 'other' participants are removed from the comparison, graduate students were under-represented and faculty over-represented. Looking specifically at the A P C , it was composed o f nine community representatives o f the following groups (sources: A P C meeting minutes from M a y 2001 to M a r c h 2003): T h e Faculty o f Dentistry T h e Faculty o f Medicine U E L — Ratepayers Association Broad Campus Interest (the representative was the Assistant Dean o f Law) H a m p t o n Place Resident U B C Business Operations (beginning in 2002, the representative was the Director o f the U B C Bookstore) T h e A l m a Mater Society (the representative was a Planning student) U E L — Tenants Association U B C Athletics and Recreation T h e A P C was intended to be representative o f interests, and had representation from obvious interest groups.  1 3  University of British Columbia, n.d.(a); C E I Architecture, 2003; University of British Columbia, 2003  115  Another important aspect o f the representativeness o f participants was their perspective. In general, participants' comments were "constructively critical" or "negative" i n tone (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, p. 4). Breaking that down, the perspectives o f participants i n different meeting types could have been different. T w o interviewees suggested that participants i n the public meetings were more critical than those i n open houses. F o r instance: "[Open houses] have a downside, and that is that people who support you will not show up at public meetings, so you end up with your public meeting largely comprised o f people that you have not satisfied." A review o f the content o f comments documented i n the consultation report showed that it was similar in comments from open houses, special meetings, and the public meeting. T h e exception to that rule was the public meeting, at which there was a greater emphasis on concerns with commercialization o f University Boulevard and the public consultation process. In terms o f tone, my own experience from attending three open'houses, and from a public exhibition o f ideas from a student charrette, was that support i n the community at large was lukewarm, and that community reaction was generally negative. A t the charrette exhibition, one o f about a hundred attendees expressed support for U B C ' s proposal. A t the public meeting, a straw p o l l showed three people — all planning/development staff — in favour, and eighty opposed, while the Chair o f the meeting noted that those who were neutral were i n the minority (Peter Russell, personal communication, A p r i l 3, 2003). Because it is recognized that intensive groups may not be representative o f larger community interests (Beierle & Cayford, 2002), the A P C ' s perspective as reflected i n their M a r c h 2 0 0 3 meeting minutes was compared to comments documented in the Consultation Report. In general, their comments reflected the same issues raised by the broader public. However, the A P C did not discuss a number o f important issues, including commercialization, personal security concerns with the transit station and market housing, and were less critical o f others, such as building heights. Minutes o f 2001 A P C meetings indicate that issues o f building heights, parking, transit-pedestrian conflicts, and the nature o f new retail/social spaces had been discussed i n this forum before the Draft # 2 process. . • ~ In summary, participants i n the process did not represent community composition well, especially with respect to undergraduate students. Despite that difference, the perspectives o f participants appeared to be consistent with the overall community reaction to the plan. T h e perspectives o f participants did not vary among types o f meetings, except that the A P C did not bring up some issues identified by other participants.  Was participation broadly inclusive? The criterion o f inclusiveness was understood to refer to the number o f people who participated. Indeed, this was a focus o f the Consultation Report, which documented the number o f participants i n the process by counting the number o f attendees at meetings, the number o f feedback forms completed, and website activity (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003): •  approximately 800 people registered at planning events (including formal review and advisory committee members and repeat registrations);  •  481 feedback forms were received;  116  • •  6,900 hits were recorded on the University T o w n website; and the Discussion Guide was downloaded 4,800 times and the Draft Plan Diagrams 4,100 times.  Unfortunately, these measurements may not be clear indicators o f the number o f people who participated. For instance, people who visited the University T o w n website may have stopped at the introductory webpage and not looked at University Boulevard information. Although the number o f downloads o f the Discussion Guide or Draft Plan Diagrams seems to be a more accurate measure o f participation, it says nothing about whether someone read and understood the. diagrams, never looked at them i n the end, or they tried to do understand them and gave up i n frustration. Given the definition o f participation adopted here as "advising a n d / o r making decisions" (p. I I ) , measures o f the number o f people who received information do not adequately describe inclusiveness. Based on meeting attendance and Feedback Form completion, 500 to 800 people participated in this process, o f a daytime population o f close to 50,000. Information  Information was presented in the website, Discussion Guide, Draft Plan Diagrams and presentations, and was received through the use o f the Feedback Form (except for the website, copies may be found in Appendices A - E ) . T h e important aspects o f information provision are the qualities and timing o f the communications. These aspects are discussed in turn in this section. What were the qualities of communications  materials  T h e important qualities o f the communications tools are readabdity, digestibility, accessibdity, and completeness. T u r n i n g to the website, it provided a brief background to overall non-institutional development, an introduction to the consultation process, and a schedule o f events for University Boulevard. It also provided downloadable copies o f the Discussion Guide, Draft Plan Diagrams and Feedback Form. Community members began to access the website within a day o f its announcement in the Ubyssey (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003, p. 22). M y own experience was that it was easy to find the site, and relatively easy to navigate either using links on one side o f the page or within the text. One participant commended U B C ' s use o f the web: . " U B C has been up-front and pro-active about putting all the plans and the stuff on the web: there's lots o f information up there." Another echoed that comment and commented about access within the site: "logistically, it was excellent that there was a website that was devoted solely to this issue. . . . T h e link to University Boulevard was on the left and is pretty small, so it wasn't that clear where you were supposed to go . . . it was not very easy to navigate. " A third interviewee focused on access to the site: "I saw this after the A p r i l I meeting. N o t h i n g got me to the website st  independently." T h e following quote summed up the accessibility o f the website: "[The website was] fairly accessible, but you have to know it's there. . . . Y o u had to find your way 2-3 steps before you found specifically what you were looking for, but I don't remember now i f it was difficult to find. [It was] fairly accessible." T h e amount and complexity o f information on the website was described by one interviewee: "it wasn't overwhelming as I recall." It was written at a Grade 12 Flesch-Kincaid reading level and  117  had a Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score o f 28.4 (see p. 56 for more information about this measure o f readability). T h e Discussion  Guide provided an overview o f the consultation, outlined the O C P and C C P  policies for the area, described the plans, and then outlined the next planning steps. M u c h o f the. Guide's language is accessible, while some terms — "way-finding" for instance — was not clear. In the following example, the term "landscaped feature" did not adequately describe what was proposed: "The draft plan suggests opening'up University Boulevard between East M a l l and Marine Drive to campus shuttles and personal vehicles as,a means o f improving cross-campus way-finding. University Boulevard would be designed to provide traffic calming through this corridor, including a landscaped feature at M a i n M a l l . " (p. 8) T h e description o f the plan was five pages long and included three pages explaining the transit element. F o r some interviewees, the detail in that section made the guide as a whole less digestible: "[When] it goes into huge depth about the buses, you get lost up in all o f that. It's not clear that the bus loop is an element, like the through street or housing. After you hit the bus stuff, which'was long and confusing, you just didn't make it to the rest o f it." Other interviewees found the Discussion Guide to be " O K " or said "I don't think it's a problem." It was written at a Grade 12 level and scored 30.9 for reading ease. T h e Guide was available on the website and at all planning events. ;  T h e Draft Plan Diagrams (the same as the display boards shown at events) included plan .views and cross-sectional drawings. Plan views showed building footprints, used colours to distinguish uses (and shape in the case o f residential towers), and distinguished trees, green areas, streets and sidewalks. Buildings were labeled with names and descriptions, such as "residential tower" and "residential over shops." T h e through street to Marine Drive was not labeled, and shading, critical for the new p o o l location, was not shown. A s a result, the Consultation  Report said that "some  respondents said they felt the plans did not show the intention to connect the area with the street" (p.32). Cross-sectional drawings gave a sense o f scale near the street level, showing lane and sidewalk widths, distinguishing uses by labels and colours, and showing important underground features. Fdowever, both cross-sections were taken at or right next to proposed-towers, and neither showed construction above five storeys. Asked about the drawing quality, one interviewee raised the possibility o f bias in the drawing: " W i t h a bit o f cynicism, they knew that the towers were going to generate a lot o f controversy, .. .so someone would have thought that maybe these might be lightning rods in the public presentation. I don't think someone forgot them. T h e level o f this presentation is such that somebody probably made a decision not to show them."  118  )  T h e sec o f drawings were understood by some incerviewees better chan by ochers. However, incerviewees found ic difficulc Co evaluace chem after the fact because they were so familiar with the plans. F o r example, when asked what the drawings showed, one interviewee explained in great decail how people would move through the space and what retail was contemplated — features not shown in drawings at all. Nevertheless, some useful comments emerged from interviews, particularly because two interviewees were trained as design professionals. T h e drawings were described by one o f them as "very schematic... [they] would inform somebody essentially o f the location o f things and the general amount o f things." T h e other said that they were "quite vague... the diagrams needed quite a bit o f explanation as to what was there." One o f the other interviewees explained the lay perspective: "It's very difficult to conceptualize that a yellow square means an 18 storey high-rise and so it's very difficult to picture what was going to happen to University Boulevard, unless you have that certain eye — you're trained to have it or you just are creative — so I thought that the they were not as helpful as they could have been." As a design professional pointed out: "[they didn't] show buildings by height. Typically you would show building sizes by showing longer shadows— It doesn't tell us about the experience It says 'field' here, and I have no idea i f that allows some sort o f regulation activity to take place, or is this just a general all-purpose play field [By. comparison,] a great piece o f urban design drawing that helps people understand a place, demonstrates the relationship between the inside and outside o f buildings, demonstrates the scale o f the various levels o f intervention, illustrates how the different spaces and rooms are likely to be used at different times o f the day and night, and gives some sense o f the character and the aesthetics as well as the function o f the place." T h e presentations made by Dennis Pavlich were o f a general nature, describing the overall conception o f the plan and asking audience members to envision a wonderful, lively future for the plan area. These presentations were digestible and quite accessible to interviewees. However,'  ;  "  participants found that they were "not very informative" or expressed frustration over the contents: "I was confused and very frustrated that evening in the presentation o f University  ,  Boulevard that Dennis [made], because there was an enormous amount o f rhetoric being tossed around and the reality was to me very shallow." Turning to the Feedback Form, it consisted o f eight substantive questions and two demographic questions. T h e substantive questions included four specific Y e s / N o questions about the plan, a question asking for shops and service preferences, one asking for suggestions for improvement, one asking how respondents wanted to be kept informed o f involvement opportunities, and an openended request for-comments and questions. T h e form was written at a Grade 10 level and had a reading ease score o f '44.7.  ,  119  In the words o f Brooks Development Planning, who wrote Section 5 o f the Consultation  Report,  "Comments captured on the feedback forms suggest an overall dissatisfaction with the-questionnaire used in the consultation process.,.. It is extremely difficult to interpret the quantitative data in a way that helps define a -  consolidated response to the specific plan proposed." (p. 24)'  '  .  Brooks Development Planning quoted one respondent directly, w,ho said " Y o u might as well ask i f people like apple pie or not." A participant interviewed for this research described it as "a set up," Others echoed that description: "The form asked questions that were so confusing and seemed to be coaching an answer. [For instance,] 'Are you in favour o f increasing transportation access to University Boulevard?' . . . W h a t a ridiculous question! T h e answer o f course would be yes. But I felt that it was really manipulative because i f I put 'Yes' for something then they would interpret that in a way that proved that their plan was what students wanted."  1  "Very lame, very lame. I thought, there really wasn't an opportunity, it felt • like they were structuring things in their favour. . . . I felt the questions were extremely vague, and as a result I felt that they were trying to lead people in a specific direction." "By default you have to say yes to a lot o f these. I wonder i f it's been engineered so that when it's all compiled they just support a. kind o f yes, let's go and let's have growth." , F r o m these comments, it is clear that interviewees found the Feedback Form to be biased, even manipulative. In summary: •  ^  '  .  •  T h e materials used by. U B C i n the Draft # 2 consultation process were available at the website and at all public events, and were accessible, as evidenced by the large number o f documents accessed.  •  T h e level o f readability o f written documents varied from Grade 10 to Grade 12 on the Flesh-Kincaid scale. F o r comparison, Chapter 2 o f this thesis and three articles about U B C planning and development were found to have a Grade 12 readability level, while sports newspaper articles had a Grade 9 level. O n the "readability" scale, U B C ' s planning documents scored between 28 and 37 and the Feedback Form 45. F o r comparison, sports articles scored 70, the U B C articles 39 and the thesis chapter 25. W r i t t e n documents' were at an appropriate reading level for the generally well-educated community at hand.  •  Graphic communication was not as readable for those interviewees who lacked training in reading drawings. Furthermore, they lacked many characteristics o f good communication about urban design, as described by a design professional who was interviewed.  . •  Generally, written materials were digestible. T h e Discussion Guide's emphasis on transit made it harder to digest, but it provided concise descriptions o f other elements o f the plan.  120  Because most participants already knew a lot about the plans, it was difficult to assess the digestibility o f the drawings. •  Although'the material was complete as a whole, individual pieces were not. F o r example, the drawings did not provide complete information, failing to label the through road on University Boulevard and failing to illustrate the towers in cross-sections. T h e Discussion Guide provided good descriptions, but regularly referred the reader to the drawings.  •  T h e presentations were easy to understand but their promotion o f a grand vision was poorly received by participants.  •  T h e Feedback Form was seen as being strongly biased by the public, and was considered to be "extremely difficult to interpret" by Brooks Development Planning Inc.  •  T h e drawings appeared to have a degree o f bias in that they did not identify some controversial elements clearly, or did not illustrate them clearly. Was there enough time for participants to understand and respond meaningfully information  to  they received?  The first presentation was held February 4 , and five more took place before information was first available on the website on February 28 . N o data was collected about whether or not drawings and the Discussion Guide were made available to participants before those meetings. T h e first advertisements were published on February 28* (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003). T h e first open house took place on M a r c h 3 and the last planned open house on M a r c h 13 . Additional open houses were scheduled up to M a r c h 2 5 , and the public meeting was held on A p r i l I . W i t h respect to the A P C , one member said: th  ch  rd  th  th  st  • " W e got the plans about that time, not a whole lot before the meeting date. W e had some time to look at it beforehand, to get the concept. . . . Basically everything I was able to read for the first time." Interviewees' ability to understand information varied considerably. One o f the interviewees, a design professional, said: " Y o u have to be able to read that drawing and it takes a level o f s k i l l , . . . but a lot o f people, when they look at the plan, they're just struggling to understand the overall proposal." Another interviewee who was familiar with plan drawings o f the type presented was able to form a basic opinion o f the plan before commenting on it. A lay interviewee described her experience with understanding the information, particularly the drawings. "[The 3-4 week consultation period] offers people an opportunity to go and view [the plans] a couple o f times, or go to the.website and review i t , so that when you are going to the meeting, you were a lot more prepared for the meeting." For her, staff assistance at the open houses was an important factor-in understanding the plans, and in her ability to provide meaningful feedback. In that context, presentations that took place before the website was up may not have provided enough time for participants to respond meaningfully. Equally, people who were not aware o f the website may not have had enough time to respond. In  121  general, however, the process provided enough time for participants to access information before they needed to respond. Were participants assisted in understanding planning jargon and drawings'?  The process provided opportunities to clarify information in the Discussion Guide and plan ' drawings at open houses and presentations, although time was constrained at many presentations. At the public meeting, time constraints and the scheduling of speakers left a short period of time for answering questions at the end of the meeting. Over the entire process, participants were assisted in understanding the information provided, and the level of assistance varied depending on the time constraints at each event. ' Procedural Rules  Was the public involved in the planning of participation  activities?  In any process, there is potential for the public to influence the process and the outcome. Turning to the process, Dennis Pavlich struck two committees to advise him about the consultation program: the University Town Steering Committee ( U T S C ) and an ad hoc group. He described the two groups in these terms: "[The U T S C ] was our committee that would deal with all University Town matters as it related to planning and related issues, broadly based, but the idea behind it is to try to help us [the core planning group] deal with this process. . . . It was a body that would give ideas, gave us the opportunity to chat . . . [and] give planning advice." i  [The ad hoc group is] 'a very loose group — but I use it .purely as an advisory , group, it doesn't have any kind of formal role— And I want to make it clear, they had no decision-making role." The Advisory Planning Committee (APC) could also advise on process, according to its Terms of Reference: "[The A P C is responsible] for providing... comments on the Neighbourhood Planning Process." However, meeting minutes indicate that the A P C did not discuss the consultation process in any of their meetings up to the end of the Draft #2 process. Based on this information, . the public was able to influence the process through the four non-staff members of the eighteen- > member U T S C , which advised Dennis Pavlich. The public was involved to some degree in the planning of participation activities, through the student and faculty members of the University.Town Steering Committee (UTSC). However, their influence was lessened because one faculty member did not attend regularly'and because they were a substantial minority on the committee. Furthermore, the U T S C was struck after the draft plan had been developed, and was therefore not able to advise U B C about public participation in any earlier decision-making stages. , Were goals, scope, and limitations clearly communicated  122  to participants?  T o evaluate the quality o f this communication, two elements were addressed: how U B C communicated to participants about these issues, and how the communications were received (i.e. what was said and what was heard). T h e goals, scope, and limitations o f the process were summarized earlier. In the-case o f the goals, both the goals and U B C ' s communication o f them have been discussed. U B C communicated its official goals o f involving and informing the public and obtaining and reporting feedback formally through letters/advertisemeYits, and the Discussion  Guide, although they were not identified as  goals in those documents. In interviews, the administration identified the goals o f meeting process requirements, acceptance and timely completion, but these were not stated publicly, either before or after the process.  -  T h e scope and limitations for the decision-making process were geographical boundaries, content requirements, compliance with the O C P and C C P , focus on a single plan, time constraints, and M o U process requirements. They were communicated via the website, Discussion  Guide, and  Draft Plan Diagrams. •  T h e geographical scope o f the decision-making process was not described in any documents reviewed for this study, except by the name "University Boulevard Neighbourhood." T h e Draft Plan Diagrams did not include a diagram showing the borders o f the neighbourhood area, nor o f the area studied by the design consultants.  •  T h e University T o w n website described the contents o f Neighbourhood Plans as "a . detailed land use plan, development controls, design guidelines, and servicing and transportation strategies." These requirements were not communicated in other documents reviewed here.  •  T h e need for compliance was communicated through the website, which stated that "Neighbourhood Plans must be consistent with the University's Official Community Plan ( O C P ) , " and the Discussion  Guide, which stated that "a Neighbourhood Plan must be...  approved as compliant with the O C P and C C P . " T h e Discussion  Guide also explained  that an O C P amendment would be required to pass the proposed Draft Plan (p.?). A s related by an administrator, the scope was also described in presentations: " A l l o f our presentations referenced the O C P and C C P . . . without going into too much detail, we would refer to the 1992 Master Plan, the O C P and the C C P , and try and let people know that this neighbourhood plan had this foundation." •  M y . personal recollection was that the University's stance on timely completion was communicated through responses to questions at various meetings. However, these topics were not discussed in U B C documents. As a result, it was difficult to say with certainty how the flexibility o f the process was communicated to the public.  •  Although the consultation process itself was described in the Discussion  Guide, the overall  process requirements were not explained or described. T u r n i n g now to how the community received U B C ' s communications about goals, participants:  123  •  recognized the University's desire to inform the public o f the plans, and to do so in a broadly inclusive way, for example "[the goal] is to seek as broad a community input as possible;"  •  /  were divided on whether they believed that obtaining feedback was a goal. F o r example, one "[felt that] some o f the elements o f the plan were put in so they could say l o o k we listened and took it out/" while another believed that "[the goal was] to get input from the community...";  •  '  thought that the University was involving the public because they had to, saying for instance, "they have to," "they needed a check-off box so they could tell the Board they' had.it," "[they involved the public] so when they took it to the Board, they could say 'we consulted;'"  •  believed that selling the plan was a goal o f the University, for example "primarily [the goal] was to sell," "[the University] attempted to do as good a-job as it could in the sense o f winning it over"; and  •  „  recognized the University's desire for a speedy resolution — "[I think that Dennis Pavlich] felt the need on behalf o f the University to move this thing forward," "[their goal seems to be to] get it over as quickly as possible and get on with the job."  Community members also described their understanding o f and reaction to U B C ' s communications about the scope and limitations o f the process. W i t h respect to O C P and C C P compliance, one said: I "I was really confused about how far back you could go, how much you could change, because they seemed to be able to change the O C P regulations but i f it needed to change because o f student concerns, it didn't seem like it could." T h e comments o f an administration interviewee may explain the community's confusion, and also dlustrates confusion on the part o f the administration: "One o f the responses by the community was 'by the way, you're asking for this to comply with the O C P and the C C P and it doesn't actually. A n d they were fight, it didn't! W e were saying, telling people 'you can't change that  ^  because it's not in the O C P ' and yet we were doing something that was not in the — sorry — the C C P . " There was a significant difference between U B C ' s message about the constraints presented by the O C P and C C P on one hand, and the reality o f the constraint on the other. T h e community commented on the University's contention that people were involved and dealt with options at the C C P and O C P level. One exclaimed: "People did not [deal with options], people did not. It's just not true." Community members also spoke about the content o f the plans in different terms from those used in the C C P . In their words: "They've continually said that this is nothing space, and all the activities that go on in there are also non-activities. They probably want them all to go away  this whole plan doesn't acknowledge this [student] nature."  124  "The programming was a business program, not a community program. I f it had been a community program, more would have been said about the S U B , the Pool, the G y m and so on, and about the spaces and the places that they were creating." T h e community wanted to talk about elements o f the plan not clearly addressed by the "nuts and bolts" description o f the scope in the C C P , such as the essence o f the area as it is experienced. Although the process was flexible, this was not made clear to the public: [I found] that they spoke in terms o f "these plans were final." It was not a case o f an evolving process. Other neighbours also came away with the feeling that these plans were final. That's the way it was presented to us. Even the administration recognized that the community did not think that the process was flexible. "I don't think people believed that at the end o f the first process, we were going to do changes— In fact I know that's the case because they told me that so .often."  .  Furthermore, the administration seemed reluctant to acknowledge any flexibility, as one participant explained: I was surprised that the administration was deliberately vague about the planned approval, because I thought that this was a positive thing. They were ' vague about moving the approval date... instead o f coming out and saying, "we were going to ask for approval, but we've changed because o f your input." Although the. process was flexible, it was not presented as such to the public. As a result, the community thought the plans were final. In summary, official goals were communicated to participants through the website and Discussion Guide without being identified as goals per se, while unofficial goals were not communicated publicly. T h e geographical scope and process requirements were not communicated to participants, the content requirements were mentioned in only one place, communication about the compliance requirements was confused, and U B C resisted clarifying the degree o f flexibility in the process. Goals were well-understood by the public; regardless o f whether or not the University communicated formally about them. Scope on the other hand, was not well-understood, as a result of the limited and confusing nature o f U B C ' s communication about it. Was the process honest, incorporating two-way communication relationships?  with respectful  T h e process used some one-way communication methods and some two-way communications methods: •  the Discussion Guide and the Draft Plan Diagrams are one-way methods for providing information to the public;  •  the Feedback Form is a one-way method for receiving information from the public;  •  although presentations and open houses are categorized as methods used primarily for provision o f information, when notes were recorded by U B C staff, these methods functioned as two-way communications; and  •  the A P C is categorized as a primarily two-way communication method.  As a whole, the process incorporated substantial communication both to. and from the public. However, with the exception o f the A P C , this communication was rarely interactive. Instead, provision o f information to the public was independent o f receipt o f information by the University: it never consisted o f staff collaborating (i.e. working together) with the public. Turning to the issue o f respect, interviewees made quite different comments about different types. o f events. W i t h respect to A P C meetings, a committee'member said, " I f I'had a question, it was answered properly and with respect;" and at open houses, a participant said that "They came across very professionally, [they were] friendly and approached people, didn't hide in a corner." O n the other hand, comments about presentations were less positive. F o r example:  x  [ T h e presentation] wasn't dealing so much with the actual detads o f the plan, he was talking in general terms in this glorified vision . . .and I think a lot o f people found that insulting. I found that insulting too.  In terms o f the administration members' communications in general, community members said: They are respectful in the sense that they are not combative. T h e y are not respectful in the sense that they didn't go there to listen. [With] people who were angry with elements o f the p l a n , . . . they wouldn't respond or they would respond i n a really condescending way. ' O h , you just don't get it.' A couple o f the neighbours who are really good friends with Dennis said they were embarrassed for him because o f the way he spoke to people. A n d some o f the neighbours who didn't know h i m at all were really angry, . . .they said 'who is this man, and why does he think he can speak to us in this manner?' There was a real sense from day I [on a University planning-related committee] that U B C Properties and in particular some o f their managers who were representing them had no respect for us. These more general comments illustrate the disrespect participants felt in general through the process, with the exceptions o f the A P C and open houses. A lack o f respect on the part o f planners and administrators may have caused community members y  to be unwilling to participate, as a faculty member explained about his peers: " N o b o d y wants to be seen to. be a fool, and i f you stand up and make a clever and impassioned speech to somebody arid they just ignore you, you've been made a fool of, and that's the place we're at. there are all kinds o f folks I  126  know who just hate this,  Y o u say well, you know, why don't you come  out to a meeting and say something, and they say, well, it's a waste o f time. A n d it's not that they don't want to criticize the University, they just think it's not worth it. .. .They expect when they say something that they'll be listened to and they know they won't." O n the administration side, interviewees also felt a lack o f respect, saying for example that "some o f this communication isn't at all constructive. It was not helpful. It is just angry," and "[the public meeting] almost developed into a rant, it was not productive." In summary, although administration staff were respectful when participants were requesting information or clarification, at other times, they were disrespectful o f the community through their tone o f voice, body language and attitude. A n administrator suggested that " i n this process it's very easy to move to conflict, to battle positions." T h e observed lack o f respect may have been a product o f the decision-making and participation strategy. Was the process transparent, communicating  input, responses to input, decisions and the  reasons for them clearly and in a timely fashion to participants and the community? T h e decision-making process that followed the consultation consisted o f two steps: compilation and analysis o f feedback, and revision o f the plan. During this process, four major communications were made to the public. T w o administration interviewees explained that the first step in making decisions following the M a r c h process was to consolidate and report on it. Brooks Development Corporation analyzed the Feedback Form, and identified nine main themes. These guided analysis o f other meetings. i. T h e first release o f information was through an Executive Summary o f consultation, provided to the public at the beginning o f M a y . It set the scene by describing the vision for the plan as "including improvements to transit infrastructure in association with a new mixed-use neighbourhood at the University's 'front door,'" by reminding readers o f "the extensive consultations that led to the O C P and C C P and that "[this] process has engaged many people" (p. 3). T h e first section also focused attention on the transient nature o f students and their resulting lack o f familiarity with past planning processes. It described the consultation activities and then identified nine major themes within the public comments. T h e themes were: •  consultation process;  •  height o f residential buildings;  •  market housing;  •  relocation o f Empire pool;  •  services and shops; •  •  sustainability;  •>  •  underground bus loop;  •  University identity; and  •  University Boulevard as a through road to Marine Drive.  '  T h e Executive Summary described comments as ranging from "constructively critical" to "more negative in tone." It summarized results o f the consultation for each theme, emphasizing the lack of understanding o f participants in many cases. A good example is the theme o f M a r k e t Housing:  127  "In the open houses and special meetings, some people supported the concept . o f adding market housing to the area while others raised concerns about it. serving non-University users. Responses via Feedback Form and correspondence reflected similar concerns. T h e benefits o f introducing market housing did not seem to be understood." (p. 4) T h e Executive Summary concluded that "while there was clear indication o f support for the fundamental vision, many people expressed a desire to see specific parts o f the plan changed or improved" (p. 4). T h e second release o f information was the full consultation report, provided to the public in late M a y . In the full report, two other themes, not mentioned in the executive summary, were identified from common repetition in meetings: •  parking supply — concerns over adequate supply for retail and athletics and opposition to , parallel parking; and  •  bicycling — concern over conflicts with cars entering and leaving parallel parking spots.  T h e full consultation report related comments directly and provided thematic summaries for the feedback forms, correspondence, open houses, presentations, the A P C and T A C , and the public meeting (University o f British Columbia, M a y 2003). In the section on feedback forms, Brooks Development Planning Inc. made the general statement that "Responses varied. . . . Responses to the open-ended questions were mostly critical and often negative; Considering the publics most directly affected — students, faculty, staff and residents o f the University area — this tone is not surprising. Y e t although comments were often negative, they do not necessarily imply a complete rejection o f the plan. (p. 22-23)  Once responses had been compiled, analyzed and reported, the core planning group's next  J  decision-making steps were to decide how to respond to criticism it had received, then to instruct consultants on that basis: " W e ourse