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Public participation in transportation planning : learning from the Vancouver ’CityPlan’ experience Haines, Evan Rhys 2005

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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING: LEARNING FROM THE VANCOUVER 'CITYPLAN' EXPERIENCE by EVAN RHYS HAINES B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQURIEMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Planning) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 2005 © Evan Rhys Haines, 2005 Abstract A review of the key literature on participatory planning and transportation planning indicates that there are practically no empirical case studies of public participation in transportation planning and how such cases relate to the generic participatory planning literature. The lack of research is unfortunate because the unique features of transportation planning suggest that this field requires a distinctive set of prescriptions for organizing and facilitating public participation. The avowedly participatory process employed to produce the 1997 Transportation Plan of Vancouver, British Columbia, provides one valuable case from which to draw lessons about opportunities, constraints, and effective strategies for enhancing public participation in transportation planning. The case has been studied for this thesis through open-ended, in-depth interviews with key informants involved in the process leading to the 1997 plan. The findings from the Vancouver case fall under eight categories: the potential and limitations of consensus-building, the role of political will, cooperation between planners and engineers, forms of representation, opportunities for social learning, plan implementation, the degree of detail, and impact assessments. Some of these findings are similar to those in the generic participation literature, but others seem to be novel, indicating that, indeed, the transportation planning sector is a unique field in this topic area. It is concluded that further research could be profitably undertaken on: the role of political will in making the shift to a sustainable transportation system; the potentials and limitations of consensus building as a tool for making such a shift; the necessity of planners and transportation engineers to work together; the level of detail required to render a transportation plan 'implementable' and the various roles individuals can play in participatory transportation planning processes. ii Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables v List of Figures vi CHAPTER I: Overview and Summary 1 1.1 Purpose 1 1.2 Problem Statement 5 1.3 Overview of the Research Method 6 1.4 Thesis Outline 15 CHAPTER II: Prescriptions in the Literature for Citizen Participation in Transportation Planning 18 2.1 Introduction 18 2.2 Two Schools of Public Involvement and Transportation Planning 21 2.2.1 The Democratic School 21 Citizen Demands and Opposition 21 The Right and Necessity of Public Participation 23 Incorporating Public Involvement into the Work of Government 24 Shifting Decision-Making Power from Planners to Citizens 26 Dealing With Complexity 29 The Place of Information 32 Social Learning as Collective Impact Assessment 33 Designing Systematic Plans for Planning: Who and How to Plan? 34 2.2.2 The Neo-Technocratic School 34 Local Knowledge and the Neo-Technocratic Approach 36 Making Participation an Intrinsic Part of an Effective Process 37 Broadening our Understanding of what Planners do, and who Planners are.... 38 2.3 Commonly Encountered Obstacles 39 2.3.1 The Discretion of the Planner 40 2.3.2 Refusal by Governments to Redistribute Decision-Making Powers 41 2.3.3 The Deterioration of Social Capital 43 2.3.4 Distortions of Communication 44 2.4 Prescriptions for Public Participation in Transportation Planning 47 2.4.1 The Democratic Management of Complexity 47 2.4.2 Social Learning 50 2.4.3 Setting Norms of Procedural Justice 51 Using Systematic Involvement Techniques 52 Forming Watchdog Bodies 56 2.4.4 Establishing Cooperative Partnerships 57 Ongoing Fora for Participatory Planning and Social Learning 57 Forming Representative Bodies 58 2.5 Conclusion 59 CHAPTER III: Introduction to Case Study 66 3.1 Pre-1952 66 3.2 1952-1990s 69 3.3 City Plan and the 1997 Transportation Plan 74 i i i Chapter IV: Interview Findings 83 4.1 The Potentials and Limitations to Consensus Building 83 4.2 The Role of Political Will 84 4.3 Planners and Engineers: Working Together 90 4.4 Forms of Representation 97 4.5 Opportunities for Social Learning 100 4.6 Plan Implementation and the Level of Detail 103 4.8 Impact Assessments 107 CHAPTER V: Conclusion, Implications for Planning, and Questions for Further Research 108 5.1 Introduction 108 5.2 The Potentials and Limitations to Consensus Building 109 5.3 The Role of Political Will 113 5.4 Planners and Engineers: Working Together 116 5.5 The Various Roles of Representation / Opportunities for Social Learning 118 5.6 Plan Implementation / The Degree of Detail / Impact Assessment 120 Conclusion 123 iv List of Tables Table 1: Matrix of Informants and Analytical Categories That Emerged in Interviews 12 Table 2: A Timeline of Events Covering the CityPlan Transportation Plan Process 81 v List of Figures Figure 1: Interview Schedule CHAPTER I: Overview and Summary 1.1 Purpose Previous to the 1960's, transportation planning was managed by planners and engineers whose approach was rooted in the technocratic school of thought. Since the 1960's, protests and demands by citizens and public interest groups forced governing bodies to adopt a more democratic approach to transportation planning, an approach that has been evolving ever since. Despite the fact that certain changes have been implemented, very little empirical research or literature exists regarding public participation in transportation planning. While literature covering empirical research public participation in transportation planning and how it relates to the generic participatory planning literature, there is a wide variety of prescriptive theoretical literature available on the topic of participation in planning in general. Much of what this literature addresses has parallels to concepts inherent in transportation planning, which thus provides us with an opportunity to apply many of these concepts and prescriptions to the theory and practice of transportation planning. For example, principles defining the democratic management of complexity, social learning, setting norms of procedural justice and the establishment of cooperative partnerships all share the ability to be transposed from the more general subject of public participation in planning, to the more specific subject of public participation in transportation planning. Yet in the end, it is precisely the fact that the transportation planning realm is more specific, complex, and highly technical that a number of problems with making such a simple transposition arise. 1 A case can be made that, in order to make transportation planning more effective as a route to sustainability, effective public involvement must be implemented. Or in other words, public participation and transportation planning need to come together in a meaningful way if we are to solve immediate transportation problems and larger, global issues such as climate change. Democratization of planning may not be sufficient to move us toward sustainability in the transportation sector, but it is necessary. Transportation planning is a very serious issue that people need to engage in a dialogue over, in order to learn from one another about the nature of the problems we are dealing with, and to decide how to change course from the dangerous traditions of an automobile-dependent society. The purpose of this thesis is to test whether or not the general literature on participation in planning can actually be applied to cases of transportation planning. Two main points underscore the need to raise this question. First, transportation is a unique example of a planning sector. Second, the transportation sector is perfectly suited for public participation for a number of reasons: it represents a multitude of, and often divergent, social values; power relationships are skewed towards the vested interests of the automobile culture; tradition has seen the 'tragedy of the commons' dynamic subtly yet firmly entrenched into the very social fabric and concrete realities of our cities and world; and, in the urban context, there is no obvious natural environment to steward, and no obvious stewards. All of these reasons would seem to contribute to a distinctive set of challenges that need to be explored on a case-by-case basis. 1 hope that my exploratory historical account will help us to understand whether the particularities of transportation planning require specific prescriptions for organizing and facilitating participatory processes in this field. 2 The reasons for involving the public in planning for the transportation sector are many: the innate right of and even need for people to participate in the shaping of their social relations and environments; the fact that transportation is a matter of collective interest; the complex nature of transportation planning; and, participation is a way to better guarantee feelings of personal and social responsibility. The realization of the first and most important reason - that everyone has an innate need to participate the shaping of his or her environments - will tend to result in stronger input, the representation of more voices, and a more thorough understanding of the scope of the issue. The second reason, that transportation is inherently a public matter, and one of a collective nature, is important to bear in mind. To overlook this fact is to embrace the tragedy of the commons, a metaphor used to describe situations where an individual's appropriation of natural resources supersedes the rights of others to share equitably in those resources. In transportation planning, finding the balance between the rights of individuals and the rights of the collective, where individual rights may have to be curtailed, is not an easy task. If individual rights are to be limited by the state, it would be wise to understand the public's interests - the aggregates of their concerns and values - as well as the variations between these. This task raises the question of how to elicit and assert such interests. The third reason why it is so important to involve the public in transportation planning is because this is probably the only way to deal with the complex nature of the urban planning context. If the public is not involved in transportation planning, a limitation of thought and imagination tends to rule decision-making processes, and this narrow view tends to become the planning reality. When the public is not involved, certain private interests, with their peculiar motivations and bottom-line values, will tend to dominate the process, defining the scope of the problem and its solution. 3 Recognizing the complex and collective interests of the planning context requires tapping local knowledge and fostering social learning. Finally, the shift to a sustainable society requires that people feel a sense of social and personal responsibility. Effective and meaningful participation in a process of social learning would encourage people to feel such a sense of responsibility. Such participation is characterized by constructive and effective citizen involvement in the formulation and assessment of key policies for effective travel behaviour, particularly the use of automobiles. By constructive and effective citizen involvement, I mean involvement that enables people to engage each other in dialogue which produces social learning about the local and global, immediate and long-term, consequences of those policy choices. The sense of responsibility that would result from such a process is a necessary ingredient of social change. One of the few available examples of an extensive public participation being employed in transportation planning is the case of the 1997 Transportation Plan of Vancouver, British Columbia. By using this plan as a case study, I plan to explore how the available literature for participatory planning and the prescriptions it offers play out 'on the ground.' Through the study of this case, I hope to provide a thesis that will help contribute to future development of more effective and meaningful strategies towards public participation in transportation planning. 4 1.2 Problem Statement What the literature pertaining to public participation in planning lacks is empirical research into the opportunities for and constraints to applying such techniques to the transportation planning realm. Planning theorists have been addressing the issue of public participation for some time. And there is much written on the topic of public participation in planning. However, most of the prescriptions that they offer are of a very generic nature, where most theorists recognize that public participation is an essential ingredient of planning, that it is a 'good idea,' and explain at length how such participation might be better incorporated into planning work. Yet, due to the unique nature of the transportation realm - long timelines, complexity, politically motivated manoeuvrings, the need for highly skilled engineering, and the high cost of improvements, there is an obvious difficulty in creating 'participatory space,' as well as integrating democratically based concepts into a highly technocratic process. Perhaps, only certain 'pieces' of participatory planning are relevant to this field, and perhaps there are other relevant pieces that have yet to be identified. This thesis will test the applicability of the more general theoretical literature on participatory planning to the unique nature of the transportation realm through an exploratory study and historical account of the process that led to the formation of Vancouver's 1997 Transportation Plan. 5 1.3 Overview of the Research Method The research methodology used to study the case of the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan's planning process consisted of qualitative, open-ended interviews with key informants. Before embarking upon the case study, a careful review of the key literature on the topics of participation in planning and participation in planning more generally, and especially where these topics overlap, was undertaken. There are very few available case studies of actual examples of participation in transportation planning, and the ones that are available fall outside the scope of this thesis since they do not explicitly link back to the theory of participatory planning and were not examples of comprehensive urban transportation planning.1 It would have proved to be much too difficult to have discovered every available consultants report or governmental report documenting other examples of participation in transportation planning given the probability that they would not have fit the scope of this thesis. It is interesting that such reports are not more widely available given the apparent popularity and mandating of public participation in transportation planning. Only one case study seemed to frame its analysis in the language of participatory planning theory, and would probably have been an interesting ingredient of the literature review.2 But I was unable to locate the study at any of the libraries where my research was conducted. 1 Here are a few of the rare examples of such case studies: Cairns et al. refer to one case study of public participation used to develop a new bus route: World Class Transit for the Bay Area, Transportation and Land Use Coalition, January 2000. Grengs writes on the case of the Bus Rider's Union of Los Angeles, who organized and successfully sued the Los Angeles transit authority for discriminating against low-income users of the public transportation system. And finally, Willson et al. studied a case of public participation in the decisions around the "supply, pricing and management of Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) parking facities and other station access modes." 2 John Khisty and Steen Leleur, conducted a case study, "Citizen Participation Through Communicative Action: Towards a New Framework and Synthesis," Journal of Advanced Transportation 31 (1997). 6 The qualitative research method employed in the case study was of an exploratory nature. And it is meant to serve more as historical account or ethnography of the case than as a rigorous empirical study of it. Or in other words, the method employed to study the case is meant to serve as an observation of a process in a particular time and place, and an exploration of the issues that played out within the context of that case in relation to the literature on participation in planning in general, and more specifically, how that generic literature relates to the literature on participation in transportation planning. Rather than using strict categories of analysis and a uniformly employed questionnaire or interview schedule, the informants were left to tell their stories without being inhibited by such categories. As a result, categories of understanding particular to these free-flowing discussions emerged organically, as the interviews were carried out. Exploratory studies are not usually undertaken within the social sciences, but more commonly found in historical accounts. Such studies "test the feasibility of undertaking a more extensive study," or set out some of the terms of reference for such studies. And exploratory studies are most appropriate for cases like this one, where a relatively new research area is being studied.3 Exploratory studies are often used as a source of 'grounded theory,' which point towards further questions and possible answers, and are not necessarily 'representative.'4 And this "openness [...] allows a greater latitude for discovering the unexpected."5 This kind of research methodology is most appropriate under the following conditions, all pf which were at play in this case: (1) when one wishes to study a fleeting or dynamic situation, (2) when it is essential to preserve interrelatedness of the person and situation, (3) when methodological problems, resources, or ethics preclude the adoption of other research strategies, and (4) when very little is known about the topic under investigation.6 3 Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, 8,h ed. (New York: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1998) 64. "Babbie 90-91. 5 Babbie 283. 6 Royce A. Singleton Jr., et al., Approaches to Social Research, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) 349. 7 More generally, qualitative interviews are best used to explore a new research area and ongoing experiments, such as Vancouver's Transportation Plan, and specifically, in this case, novel approaches to public decision-making, where questions of causation are too difficult to resolve.7 The use of an open-ended, in-depth interview method with key informants is a 'non-probable,' or unrepresentative, form of sampling. The technique for choosing a sampling of informants was purposive, however, in that they were selected based on a familiarity with the "elements" of a population "and the nature of [...] research aims." To study the larger population would have proven to be very difficult, given the huge number of people involved in a sector as large as that of transportation planning. This kind of "sample design does not provide a good description of the population as a whole, but enables general comparisons." Although the people who were interviewed as a part of this study were not 'representative' of the entire population, they were valuable informants in the sense that they were "members of the group who can talk directly about the group per se."8 The qualitative research method used - open-ended interviews - is one where there is a general plan of inquiry but not a specific set of questions that must be asked in particular words and in a particular order. A qualitative interview is essentially a conversation in which the interviewer establishes a general direction for the conversation and pursues specific topics raised by the respondent.9 The questions were derived from the central thesis question: what can we learn from this case about the opportunities and constraints to doing effective and meaningful public participation in urban transportation planning? The goal was not to evaluate the 1997 Vancouver process. It would have been inappropriate to simply measure the process against a set of criteria foreign to those involved in the case, an overly 7 Babbie 90-91. 8 Babbie 196-197. 9 Babbie 290. 8 judgmental approach that might have discouraged some informants from sharing information. One of my informants offered a very interesting and useful perspective on the difficulties of using an evaluative approach on the Transportation Plan. Evaluations of such participatory planning processes are difficult because there are simply no examples of completely successful cases to compare them to, he told me. Planners and governments do not have a clear idea of what represents a successful project since each one is an experiment, he added. So, going into these kinds of processes completely inexperienced, as the City of Vancouver did with CityPlan and the Transportation Plan that was spawned from this process, City Staff had no idea what would happen.10 The theoretical issues and prescriptions addressed in Chapter II, rather than evaluative criteria, are used as a basis for a framework for the exploration of the case." Many of the same categories used in the literature were found to be applicable in the case study. But added to these were a few categories that the literature did not focus on, categories discovered and developed during interviews themselves. As proponents of the 'grounded theory' method of social research argue, this method of developing analytical categories is especially useful because "people in situations for which a grounded theory has been generated can apply it in the natural course of daily events."12 In fact, according to these methodological theorists, "it is inappropriate to approach the field with preconceived notions [...] detailing how the world is to be understood." Rather, analytical categories "are developed as part of making sense of the world."13 It is my hope that the recommendations for further research that I generated, and the categories they fall under, will end 1 0 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. " Babbie 64. 1 2 Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research (New York: Aldine Publishing Company, 1967) 249. 1 3 Singleton Jr., et al. 346. 9 up being specific enough to benefit, by being accessible to, those involved in the case, but general enough to fit changing and slightly different contexts.14 Given that we know very little about how theories of public involvement apply to participation in the transportation realm, my informants were asked open-ended questions intended to produce data that would illuminate this unexplored theoretical 'space' (see Figure 1 below for interview schedule). The interview schedule was initially quite short. As my interviewing progressed, I was introduced to more and more of the particular issues that make the field of participatory transportation planning so unique, and so my interview schedule grew. However, each informant usually only addressed a small number of questions, and different questions that depended to their perspectives and areas of expertise. This iterative process exemplifies the most important benefits of the semi-structured, open-ended interview method: that the initial list of topics to be covered can be "flexibly adhered to according to the emergent demands of the interview situation." 1 5 In other words, the open-ended interview method is meant to elicit the categories of analysis that will eventually be used to frame the study, rather than presuming these to be fixed before the research is undertaken.16 As I worked through the interviews, during each interview and the set of interviews as a whole, 1 found that I referred back to the initial interview schedule less and less frequently. My interviews quickly mined into completely free-flowing discussions that - while still based on my basic and evolving assumptions - were completely unique with each of my informants. The discussions usually reflected the particular perspective and area of expertise of whichever informant 1 was interviewing at that time. For this reason, it would have been difficult and not very enlightening to 1 4 Glaser and Strauss 249. 1 5 Derek Layder, New Strategies in Social Research (Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 1993) 41. 1 6 Lay der 41. 10 ask the same questions to each informant. That is why 1 discarded my interview schedule: because I realized that the reality of exploring cases in this way, by documenting historical events using ethnographic techniques, demands that I let each informant be free to tell their stories, without inhibiting them with my analytical categories and interview schedule. This quickly became a more fruitful technique for exploring the case, where each question in each interview flowed from a response unique to that particular interview with that particular informant (See Table 1). Certain background concepts gleaned from the review of the literature helped to give shape to my initial interview schedule. These concepts were organized around the common themes found in different sources of literature on participation in planning and participation in transportation planning. And during my exploration of the case of Vancouver's Transportation Plan, other, sometimes similar, concepts discovered and developed during those interviews. The original background concepts developed during the review of the literature, such as the importance of consensus-building for example, did not limit my interviewing or the way my findings from those interviews were organized, but only provided starting points. As inductive methodological theory states, "the importance of the [background] concept may recede progressively as the research produces newly emergent concepts which may prove to be more useful or relevant." 1 7 In this way, the analytical categories used to explore the case were discovered and developed during the open-ended interviews with key informants. Of particular importance to me were the analytical topics that I was hearing my informants talk about that were not contained in the literature on public participation, per se, nor in the literature on participatory transportation planning. This meant, to me, that I was delving into the little-known, but very important theoretical space where these two fields intersect. And the concluding chapter is where the implications of these discoveries are elaborated upon. 1 7 Layder 129. 11 Table 1. Matrix of Informants and Analytical Categories That Emerged in Interviews C A T E G O R I E S THAT EMERGED I N I N T E R V I E W S Consensus-Building as Goal Political Will and Insecurity Collaboration: Engineers and Planners Forms of Represent-ation Social Learning Detail and Implement-ation Impact Assessments 1 • • • 2 • • 3 • • • • • • 4 • • • • 5 • • • • 6 • • • • 7 • • • • My informants represented a various types of participants in the process that led to the development of the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan. Two of my informants were members of the City of Vancouver Planning Department, and occupied positions of great responsibility in the Plan's development. One was a member of the City's Engineering Services, and also held a prominent role in the planning process. An additional City Engineer was invited to participate, but never responded to my request. Two of my informants were former members of City Council, and directly oversaw the Plan's development. And finally, two of my informants were citizen-12 participants in the process, both of whom can be characterized as independent or community transportation activist/experts, and were very active during the development of the Plan. The reason why each of these informants was chosen is because he or she offered a different perspective on their close involvement in process, and in each case, was a knowledgeable source of information. The interviewing process of the thesis writing took place between November 25th, 2002, and February 13th, 2003. Each informant was interviewed once. And each interview lasted between one and two hours, depending on how long it took to address all of the necessary questions for that informant, and to listen to the stories they wished to recount. Each informant was given a form to sign that indicated their consent to be interviewed, that their identities would remain confidential, and that they could end the interview at any point if ever they wanted to. At the beginning of each interview, I asked the informant if they would mind if I used an electronic recording device to record our conversation. Each informant agreed to the use of an analogue tape recorder, except for one informant, who agreed, but added that he would be more likely to be more forthright if the conversation were not recorded. So I decided to only take notes with that informant, and not to use a tape recorder. Additionally, in all cases, I recorded detailed hand-written notes of the conversations with my respondents, to serve as a backup documentation of the interview. 13 Figure 1. Interview Schedule < • To what extent do you think that the process should have resulted in consensus? • Did politics play a role in the process? • How did the collaboration between Engineers and Planners work? • To what extent do you think the participants in the process should have been representative of the larger population? • Were there ample opportunities for social learning in the process? • How important was the level of detail in the process? • Is it important that the process was cost-effective? • Do you think that the public ought to have played a greater role in the design of the process? • Do you think that there ought to have been impact assessments undertaken as part of the process? • Do you think that government should have better ensured the implementation of the outcome of the process? • How important do you think the roles of individuals should have been in implementing the plan? • Is it necessary or desirable to substitute the public's decision-making with the planner's? • How important was it to involve the public in this process? 14 1.4 Thesis Outline Chapter I contains a description of the purpose of this thesis. By way of introduction, an overview of the key literature in participatory planning and participation in transportation planning has been provided. This is what we know about meaningful and effective participation in transportation planning. That there is a gap, or gaps, in this knowledge should become apparent to the reader by the end of this summary. It is from the central gap in our knowledge - there seeming to be no case studies of actual experiments in participatory transportation planning, only prescriptions -that the purpose of this thesis arises: to contribute to knowledge of the role of citizen participation in urban transportation planning. I explore how the generic prescriptions for participatory planning in the literature play out 'on the ground' by studying the case of the 1997 Transportation Plan of Vancouver, British Columbia. Specifically, I want to know what we can learn from this case about the opportunities and constraints to doing effective and meaningful public participation in transportation planning. In pursuing this main purpose, I will address a secondary gap in our knowledge: the degree to which the general literature on participatory planning can be applied to the transportation sector. The challenge becomes obvious: the difficulty of creating 'participatory space' in transportation planning. Chapter I has also contains an overview of the research method used to study the case. Chapter II takes a more in-depth look at the key literature written to date on the topic of public participation in transportation planning, as well as participation in planning more generally. It will be seen that almost all of this writing is prescriptive in nature. Although the authors differ in the ways they see citizen involvement being incorporated into transportation planning, or planning more generally, they all assume that participation is a "good thing" and that we need to promote 15 and facilitate it more often. They recommend some specific techniques, but usually concentrate on more generic philosophical assumptions. Very few scholars and planning practitioners have ever concentrated on empirical case studies of where these techniques or philosophical assumptions have played out 'on the ground,' in transportation planning. At the same time, their works may provide a very important introduction to and basis for further empirical research in participatory transportation planning, studies that may be more analytically rigorous than this one. Chapter III provides a background to the 1997 Transportation Plan, or more specifically, to "CityPlan," the broader city planning process that this plan came out of. The foci for both the background review and the later study of the planning process that produced the 1997 plan are not on substantive issues addressed by the plan. Substantive issues are of interest to this thesis only insofar as they may help to explain or illuminate my findings about the role, effectiveness, and limitations of citizen participation in the Transportation Plan process. Setting the stage for the analysis of the planning process leading to the 1997 Transportation Plan does involve a discussion of particular substantive plans, such as the plan for a freeway that would have run through downtown Vancouver had organized protests not derailed it. But the introduction to the case focuses more on the process for the planning that led up to the design of the process for the 1997 Plan. Chapters IV and V deal with the case of the process that led up to the formation of the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan. Chapter IV presents the findings from the interviews with key participants in that process. The categories, or 'codes,' used in this chapter were induced from the interviews held with the key informants and derived from the literature on the topic of participatory transportation planning, as explained in the methodology section above. Chapter V, the conclusion, is a summary of the findings from the case study and states the implications of 16 these findings for planning practice and research. The conclusion outlines what we can learn from Vancouver's experience, both generically and specifically. Most generally, the lessons relate to broad themes that need to be better taken into account by planning theorists and practitioners and subject to further study. For this reason, the balance of the conclusion consists of speculations and suggestions for further research. 17 CHAPTER II: Prescriptions in the Literature for Citizen Participation in Transportation Planning 2.1 Introduction This Chapter is a review of the literature written on participatory transportation planning, as well as some of the key generic participatory planning literature. The participatory transportation literature includes the two main schools: what can be called the 'democratic' and 'neo-technocratic' schools. This literature also includes commonly identified obstacles and proposed strategies, or prescriptions, for making participation in planning more meaningful and effective and the implications of these strategies to the changing roles of government planners. What this chapter does not include, however, is a review of any empirical studies of participation in transportation planning, what happens when these prescriptions are applied in actual cases, or what happens when generic participation theories are applied in the transportation realm. This is because there seem to be few studies of this sort, or specifically, literature that focuses on participatory processes in relation to the generic participatory planning literature. There is still a great deal to learn about the opportunities and constraints to doing effective and meaningful participation in the transportation planning sector. The central question that arises from the review of the literature is whether or not the prescriptions offered on the topic of participatory planning more generally can be applied to cases in the transportation planning sector, which are unique: for being quantitative, complex and traditionally ruled by technocrats; for involving a lot of people and divergent social values; for having generally very expensive solutions, et cetera. 18 One might question whether transportation planning ought to include public involvement at all. This question is addressed in the literature with a look back to the public protest movements over urban freeway proposals of the 1960s and '70s. Or, theorists who study participation in planning more generally will often even look as far back as the earliest writings on political philosophy, writings aimed at the very heart of any question concerning how we ought to live together as a society.18 However, differing political theories of democracy define citizen involvement differently. For example, certain transportation planning models assume the public is always involved, and adequately so, insofar as they are consumers of the transportation system, who express their preferences though 'market' choices.19 This view is underwritten by a particular ideology - neoliberalism - of how people ought to live together: as private individuals who express their preferences in the competitive 'free market,' preferences which are then read as signals to those who supply that demand with goods and services. The private sector model of transportation planning has gained acceptance with the ascendancy of neo-liberal thought and practice. Most of the transportation planning models in use today include characteristics of centralized, technocratic state planning on the one hand, and an ostensibly consumer-driven, free-market system on the other. Most of these models, however, include some degree of public participation in the setting of goals and/or generation and assessment of options. Transportation planning has become intimately tied to the neoliberal view of the democratic process. Authors who promote such a view will point, in one way or another, to "the changes in the political environment with the ascendancy of the market view over the social and welfare 1 8 John Freidmann, "The New Political Economy of Planning: The Rise of Civil Society," Cities for Citizens: Planning and the Rise of Civil Society in a Global Age, ed., Mike Douglass and John Friedmann (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998); John Friedmann, Retracking America: A Theory of Transactive Planning (New York: Anchor Books, 1973). 1 9 Richard W. Willson et al., "Does Discussion Enhance Rationality? A Report from Transportation Planning Practice," Journal of the American Planning Association 69 (2003) 354. 19 perspective" that have been taking place since the early-1980s.20 According to the private sector model of transportation planning, long-term strategic planning is replaced with " a commercial (or quasi commercial) approach to maximize the internal efficiency of the transport system.21 The recommended course of action is to privatize transportation systems, where "[d]emand must be met at the lowest cost."22 The democracy school, which emerged in the late-1960s, was a reaction to the technocracy of the 1950s and early-1960s. The rationale behind the democracy school is that participatory planning improves the quality of decisions and increases the 'implementability' of a plan, both of which hinge on support for the process, or 'buy-in.'23 The key assumption of this rationale is that "man [sic] is capable of debating and identifying the standards by which he wishes to live in a community with others."24 The democracy school is also a reflection of recent interest in collaborative planning, as explored by 'communicative' planning theorists, which is a response to the need to deal with the multiple interests inherent in most planning issues, where citizens and technical experts need to work together. The technocratic tradition, on the other hand, has found new life in the neo-technocracy school, which has been either a deliberate or unconscious continuation of that traditional style of planning. In many ways, purely technical approaches to solving transportation problems have never lost favour with the traditional decision-makers. If unconscious, this continuation of the technocratic tradition can be attributed to the way that such traditions can be imbedded into the everyday bureaucratic workings. If conscious, the neo-technocracy school may be a reaction to the 2 0 David Banister, Transport Planning in the UK, USA and Europe (London: E & FN Spon, 1994) 104. 2 1 Banister 104. 2 2 Banister 104. 2 3 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8. 2 4 Friedmann 19-35. 20 democracy school and reflects the traditional transportation planners' efforts to retain their decision-making power. 2.2 Two Schools of Public Involvement and Transportation Planning 2.2.1 The Democratic School Citizen Demands and Opposition Demands by everyday citizens to be included in transportation planning processes, or for "an additional process, or a completely new process"25 to replace the traditional technocratic approach, began in the 1960s. Such demands were originally made by way of protests against urban freeway plans devised without citizen input. Such protests were commonplace in Canada,26 Europe, the US, and UK. 2 7 In response, governments embarked on a project to incorporate public involvement techniques into their transportation planning processes. A start was made with informal negotiations being held with organized protest groups that seemed able to disrupt a plan [...] As it became clear that there would be sustained, substantial protest to much transportation planning, then it became necessary to plan in anticipation to deal systematically with protest groups.28 And so citizen involvement in transportation planning was conceived. 2 5 B.G. Hutchinson, Principles of Urban Transport Systems Planning (Washington, DC: Scripta, 1974) 299. 2 6 Barry Wellman, "Strategy and Tactics for Public Participation in Transportation Planning in North America," Final Report: 'Public Participation in Transportation Planning: Alternative Strategies Project (Toronto: University of Toronto-York University Joint Program in Transportation, 1974) 9. 2 7 David Banister 221. 2 8 Wellman 5. 21 Occurring at the same time and paralleling the democratization of transportation planning in many ways, were movements towards the inclusion of the public in many other planning fields, including social housing. Sherry Arnstein, a former Chief Advisor on Citizen Participation in the US Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Model Cities Administration and the author of a seminal work on the topic of participatory planning, nicely sums up the basis for the democratic school of participatory planning. "The underlying issues are essentially the same," she writes, that '"nobodies' in several arenas are trying to become 'somebodies' with enough power to make the target in institutions responsive to their views, aspirations and needs."29 Similar aspirations of the public to be included in important decision-making were apparent in transportation planning too, but were in response to a set of circumstances unique to the transportation realm. Observing the protests, demonstrations and eventual participation of people concerned with transportation planning who had formerly been excluded from such decision-making processes, Wellman suggests, '"public participation' is the attempt by new potential clienteles to make transportation planning responsive to their interests and values."30 Here, he echoes Arnstein's appraisal, but the similarity ends when he goes on to add how involvement will mean that "considerations other than the classic engineering ones of cost, safety and speed will be taken into account."31 In other words, inviting participants outside of the realm of engineers into transportation planning, opens up a veritable pandora's box of conflicting interests and values held by those involved from other sectors, in addition to the already existing myriad of engineering values. 2 9 Sherry Arnstein "A Ladder of Citizen Participation," Journal of The American Institute of Planners, July 1969: 217. 3 0 Wellman 1. 3 1 Wellman 1. 22 One of the main concerns of formerly unrepresented communities is the matter of "environmental justice." As major freeway developments and transportation development more generally, including public transit, began to criss-cross North American cities, it became clear that the costs and benefits of these developments were not shared in an equitable way. As Forkenbrock and Schwitzer put it, "it has become increasingly clear that the expanded transportation facilities have not benefited everyone [...] in fact, they have made some populations, often low-income or minority people worse off." The authors cite specific examples of noise and air pollution that disproportionately "burden their neighborhoods."32 The Right and Necessity of Public Participation In the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) Guidelines on Citizen Participation in Transportation Planning, compiled in 1978, it is stated that the public generally wants to become involved in transportation planning for three reasons: "because of personal interest in a plan [...] their special expertise [... and] as representatives of many citizens who are part of formal or informal interest groups."33 More recently, Gordon Shunk has added two other reasons to this list: firstly, citizen participation has been deemed necessary as a way of incorporating the public's valuable local knowledge, since they are the ones who "use or see the system everyday." Secondly, he premises the public's right to participate on the notion of accountability, since it is citizens who "pay for the solutions, so they must be given an opportunity to voice their opinions about what the solutions should be."34 3 2 David J. Forkenbrock and Lisa A. Schwietzer, "Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning," Journal of the American Planning Association 65 (1999) 96. 3 3 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 3. 3 4 Gordon A. Shunk, "Urban Transportation Systems," Transportation Planning Handbook, ed. John D. Edwards, Jr. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992). 23 An emerging rationale within the democratic school of public participation in transportation planning is that citizens can help perform a 'watchdog function.' The fundamental purpose behind involving the public in transportation planning may well be, as Wellman suggests, to have goals "other than the classic engineering ones of cost, safety and speed" considered.35 However, the fact is that official agency planners - usually politicians, engineers and private consultants - often lie about those considerations before additional concerns are ever brought into the equation. In the first statistically significant study of cost overruns in transportation planning projects ever conducted, the Danish planning scholar, Bent Flyvbjerg proves "that the cost estimates used to decide whether such projects should be built are highly and systematically misleading."36 For Flyvbjerg and his associates, in order to prevent such lying, the role of the public and their representatives ought to take on a watchdog function. For him, "legislators, administrators, investors, media representatives and members of the public who value honest numbers should not trust cost estimates and cost-benefit analyses produced by project promoters and their analysts."37 Flyvbjerg explains that there are no disincentives for project promoters to lie in their cost-benefit analyses, only incentives. Involving the public in the scrutiny of such analyses would undoubtedly lead to a reduction in cases where project boosters lie in order to see their project is implemented.38 Incorporating Public Involvement into the Work of Government Hutchinson sees the change in the role of government in transportation planning that occurred in the late-1960s as one where the "balance of power shifted from the planning bureaucracy to the 3 5 Wellman 1. 3 6 Bent Flyvbjerg et al., "Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects: Error or Lie?," Journal of the American Planning Association 68.3 (2002): 279-295. 3 7 Bent Flyvbjerg et al. 279-295. 3 8 Bent Flyvbjerg et al. 279-295. 24 new citizens' groups that were articulating the shortcomings of the ways things had been done." Since then, governments all over the world have begun to systematically incorporate public involvement as a requirement in transportation planning. In Great Britain, legislation was passed in the early-1970s that "added a number of non-statutory consultation steps preceding those required under the Highways Acts."40 In the US, the federal government began to require "that states hold an additional public hearing during the early corridor study phase of highway planning, besides the traditional public hearing at the end of the detailed design phase" in 1969.41 Then, the Federal Highway Administration and the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, in 1975, imposed regulations to "mandate provisions 'to ensure involvement by the public.'"42 During that same period, Ontario had a "substantial program of public participation in transportation planning."43 More recently in the United States, the 1991 Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act and the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21s1 Century added more guidelines to include public participation.44 There seem to be no such legal requirements within the Vancouver Charter, the Provincial legislation under which the City of Vancouver conducts its planning exercises. The City of Vancouver, however, does lay out guidelines that recommend public participation in transportation planning. Hutchinson 293; Juri Pill, Planning and Politics: The Metro Toronto Transportation Plan Review (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 1979) 7-8. 4 0 D. N. M. Starke, Transportation Planning, Policy and Analysis (New York: Pergamon Press, 1976). 4 1 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8-9. 4 2 Michael J. Bruton, Introduction to Transportation Planning, 3rd ed. (London: Hutchinson, 1985) 9. 4 3 Wilbur A. Steger, "Reflections on Citizen Involvement in Urban Transportation Planning: Towards a Positive Approach," Research Report No. 4 (Toronto: University of Toronto-York University Joint Program in Transportation) 8. 44Willson et al. 355. 25 Shifting Decision-Making Power from Planners to Citizens Ideally, according to the A A S H T O , government planning agencies and the public will collaborate in participatory transportation planning processes as a way of reaching agreement on transportation plans and investments.45 According to Wellman and others, for this to happen, it is extremely important that public involvement is "formally and systematically incorporated into the planning process" and not limited to "external 'confrontation.'" This means that the public ought to be a partner in the decision-making process and "to influence the planning process directly, rather than giving their decision-making proxies to official transportation planners or elected officials."4 6 This kind of collaboration was beginning to occur by the early-1970s. But the public's involvement was usually limited to an advisory role, "with a governmental body retaining ultimate decision-making powers."47 Since the earliest exercises in participatory transportation planning, Wellman goes on to argue, there has been "little opportunity for the mutual education of planners and publics [...] In practice, participation is used to inform public clienteles and get feedback and advice from them." To this day, the public may be able to voice their preferences between different options, but 'official' planners and not the public, usually develop the alternatives. As well, "the initial decision to study a problem" is usually for officials to make.4 8 Steger and Shunk argue that the degree to which public involvement is an effective part of a transportation planning process has to do with how the public is viewed by 'official' planning bodies. Shunk holds that people involved in transportation decision-making processes fall into one of two categories: actors or audiences. "Actors are the persons and agencies that participate 4 5 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 16. 4 6 Wellman 3-4; Shannon Cairns et al., "Environmental Justice and Transportation: A Citizen's Handbook," Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California Berkeley (2003) 18. 4 7 Wellman 7. 4 8 Wellman 3-8. 26 in the planning program; audiences are the persons, agencies, or other entities that are affected by the program." For Shunk, everyday community members are relegated to the role of "audience," which implies that they ought to play a passive role in transportation planning. The public is also used in a kind o f "information exchange," where they provide useful information to the '"lead agency,' the agency or party which initiates the planning program and is likely to be the program manager," in exchange for being 'informed' about the findings of the planning process and its results. The community's feelings and ideas are dismissed as "opinion," the extent of citizen expertise. 4 9 In a similar vein, Steger contrasts the roles o f the "leadership," perhaps community leaders, but most likely, "planning staffs," with that o f the larger "population." It is the role of the former bodies to "'educate' the population about the costs and benefits o f alterative systems [...] and to determine which groups may be wi l l ing to make what trade-offs to accomplish given objectives." With this approach, surveys and public hearings are seen as the most obvious tools for involving the publ ic . 5 0 Bruton sees the planner's role as ideally becoming that of facilitator between different "client groups" involved in negotiations with one another.5 1 P i l l agrees and suggests that this role of planner-as-facilitator, an important part o f the "new process" that is unfolding in the aftermath of mass public protest, can be performed with one of two approaches: the planner can try to maintain a "value-free neutrality, advising all groups equally on technical matters and studiously avoiding any apparent bias, despite whatever personal convictions he may have [...] On the other hand, the planner can publicly advocate certain positions, take an active part in the political process and in effect acquire independent political power." 5 2 Steger worries that the latter approach is "sti l l somewhat authoritarian in having the planner considering all effects, all alternatives, even 4 9 Shunk. 5 0 Steger 16-19. 5 1 Bruton 81. 5 2 Pill 1-8. 27 evaluating the credibility and validity of the data base. The planner's perceptions are to be used as a substitute for the community's."53 Similarly, Marcuse worries about models where the planner is seen as the person who is best equipped, "in the words of one of the pioneers of the modern city planning movement spoken in 1913, to 'discover ... the one, and the only, logical and convincing solution of the problems involved.'" Marcuse witnessed this model still being practiced in 1980, with planners doing everything from inventing problem statements, setting priorities, providing all relevant information, and developing alternatives.54 Perhaps the most important theory put forth in the advocacy planning literature, Sherry Arnstein's "Ladder of Citizen Participation" can serve as a valuable tool for determining how effective and meaningful participation in planning really is. Arnstein equates participation in planning with "citizen power," where participation "is the strategy by which the have-nots join in determining how information is shared, goals and policies are set, tax resources are allocated, programs are operated, and benefits like contracts and patronage are parceled out."55 The bottom rungs of the ladder are (1) Manipulation and (2) Therapy. These two rungs describe levels of 'non-participation' that have been contrived by some to substitute for genuine participation. Their real objective is not to enable people to participate in planning or conducting programs, but to enable powerholders to 'educate' or 'cure' the participants. Rungs 3 and 4 progress to levels of 'tokenism' that allow the have-nots to hear and to have a voice. (3) Informing and (4) Consultation. When they are proffered by powerholders as the total extent of participation, citizens may indeed hear and be heard. But under these conditions they lack the power to insure that their advice will be heeded by the powerful. When participation is restricted to these levels, there is no followthrough, no 'muscle,' hence no assurance of changing the status quo. Rung (5) Placation, is simply a higher level tokenism because the groundrules allow have-nots to advise, but retain for the powerholders the continued right to decide. Further up the ladder are levels of citizen power with increasing degrees of decision-making clout. Citizens can enter into a (6) Partnership that enables them to negotiate and engage in trade-offs with traditional powerholders. At the topmost rungs, (7) Delegated Power and (8) Citizen M Steger 16-19. 5 4 Peter Marcuse, "Ethics and 'The Public Interest' in Transportation Planning," Papers in Planning 21 (New York: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, 1980) 7-18. 5 5 Arnstein 216-217. 28 Control, have-not citizens obtain the majority of decision-making seats, or full managerial power.56 Elizabeth Rocha builds on Arnstein's "Ladder" by stressing the importance of knowledge in the changing roles of planners and the public. For her, the public's attempt to join the state's decision-making apparatus is their attempt to see the legitimization of a particular type of knowledge. Questions arise challenging the legitimacy of professional knowledge, such as: Whose knowledge? What kind of knowledge? Or, as Baum describes it, conflicting and contested narratives [...] Hoch states, '{ejfforts to emphasize professional status and expertise are an impediment to nurturing and expanding planning deliberations among citizens with different occupational, ethnic, racial and religious affiliation'.57 For Rocha, questions regarding the legitimacy of planners' knowledge over that of the public are tied tightly to citizen empowerment. But accepting a broader definition of what constitutes legitimate or expert knowledge does not mean that planners will become outmoded, or be perceived to lack special knowledge and skills. Citizen empowerment requires the presence of an external enabler, whether professional or quasi-professional [...] Professionals are a continuing presence in organisations of all types because they are needed. Solutions do not lie in an either/or dichotomy - ban professionals or fully privilege their knowledge - but somewhere in between. The potential lies in altering our understanding of the role of the professional.58 Dealing With Complexity Many contributors to the democratic school argue that participation is the best way to deal with a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. By the early-1970s, planning theorists were reflecting more on the fact that transportation decisions are not "exclusively technical or 5 6 Arnslein 216-217. 5 7 Elizabeth M . Rocha, " A Ladder of Empowerment," Journal of Planning Education and Research 17 (1997)41-42. 5 8 Rocha 41-42. 29 exclusively political," but rather, a peculiar mixture of these two elements. Technical transportation 'experts' could no longer take for granted that their particular technical solutions, such as large expressway schemes, were necessarily going to be acceptable to society.60 One can trace the increasing recognition of complexity by the planning profession to the 1960s, with the development of a new process for planning river basin projects in the US. Morris Hill, building on a simple cost-benefit analysis model, developed a "goals-achievement approach for evaluating public investment in complex urban and regional settings [...] Whereas benefit-cost analysis places major emphasis on a single goal of economic efficiency, the goals-achievement approach accommodates multiple goals."61 Building on this view, Wellman points out that the complexities of urban geography are reflected in the kinds of'communities' who are involved in transportation planning. There are geographical communities, people who reside in the same vicinity, "communities of interest" and communities of people who "share the same values."62 In other words, the many groups of people and individuals who want to participate in transportation planning processes do so for a variety of reasons and therefore, reflect a variety of, often competing, social values. Conflicting social values are a reflection of the complexity that transportation planners face in their work. Steger states that transportation planning processes need to be "made more sensitive toward the dynamic aspects of urbanization," contrasting his view with the "narrower views of the fifties and mid-sixties." He sees the use of community participation as a way of dealing with the complexities of urbanization in the following ways: 5 9 Hutchinson 299. 6 0 Actually, technical experts were driven by politicians. In the 'freeway era,' the politicians wanted freeways for a variety of economic and social reasons - only when the negative impacts became unbearable for them did the politicians start to change. 6 1 Morris H i l l , Planning for Multiple Objectives (Philadelphia: Regional Science Research Institute, 1973) ix-xii 6 2 Wellman 11-12. 30 1. Helping specify critical and sensitive data requirements for alternative plan formulation; 2. Assisting in the generation of alternatives to be analyzed; 3. Increasing the reliability of data acquisition programs; 4. Participating in analyses meaningful to affected residents; and, 5. Assisting in the specification of criteria and the measurement of criteria.63 Anderson and Boothroyd have identified the key difference between the social and corporate realms. "Unlike the corporation, where all members are organized to reach the corporate goal, members of a social organization legitimately have a multitude of competing purposes." And although there may be goals that are widely shared, such as education, these goals "are defined in such a way that they do not provide concrete criteria by which to measure success, i.e., there is no given bottom line [...] The more social the organization the broader, more processual, qualitative and interpretable the goals."64 Collaboration implies a democratic, cooperative approach to designing and carrying out planning processes and to implementing the resultant plans, in a complex setting. One of the main things that makes collaboration so popular and therefore, democratic because it "holds widespread appeal to people from every position on the political spectrum, not because it offers everything to everyone (as some of the literature advocating collaboration seems to suggest), but because it deals with a process, as distinct from a program, agenda, or outcome."65 It is also perhaps the only way that, what Boothroyd and Anderson term, 'internal variety' - and complexity and uncertainty more generally - can be adequately and democratically managed and acted upon. According to Boothroyd, we are "faced with the challenge of surviving and thriving in a world of increasing resource competition, sophisticated technology, formalized systems of accounting and accountability, information explosions and business and political uncertainty. This is a world of 6 3 Steger 9-19. 6 4 Anderson and Boothroyd 2-9. 6 5 Scott London, "Building Collaborative Communities," The Public Involvement Network http://wvvw.piD.oig/librarv/ppcc.htrn (November. 1995) 1-15. 31 increasing interdependence, complexity, and risk." Collaboration refers to the processual work of participating in changing our complicated relationships in ways that help to beneficially change some part of the world.67 The Place of Information Information is inherently a political thing. According to the conclusion of Innes' study of 'planning in action,' "information that influences is information that is socially constructed in the community where it is used."68 She does not say whether the influence of this information is beneficial or agreeable to all affected by it, or if participation in the process that it comes out of is exclusive or democratic, only that the information that is used to make change is information -such as the significance of certain indicators - produced through negotiations involving certain individuals and groups, such as business interests and a local government's planning agency. This idea had far-reaching implications. Knowledge was linked directly to action without the intervening step of decision. Action often simply occurred once there was an agreement on the indicator and a shared understanding of the problem it reflected. Learning, deciding, and acting could not be distinguished. The linear, stepwise process, assumed by the model of instrumental rationality, where policymakers set goals and ask questions, and experts and planners answer them, simply did not apply.69 Everyday people are usually left out of such question asking and answering, agreeing and not agreeing, she says, because their knowledge, which often "includes stories, myths, and the implicit understanding shared in a community," is not deemed useful or legitimate. Innes suggests that planning theory and practice are lacking in their attention to the design of processes for engaging ' Peter Boothroyd, "Community Planning Definitions, Planning Processes," First Nations Development Planning: May 30 to June 10, 1994 (Vancouver: U B C School of Community and Regional Planning & The First Nations House of Learning, 1994) 18. 6 7 London 1-15. 6 8 Judith Innes, 'Planning Theory's Emerging Paradigm: Communicative Action and Interactive Practice,' Journal of Planning Education and Research 14.3 (1995) 185-186. 6 9 Innes 185-186. 32 with local knowledge and social learning, and consequently, an incomplete body o f social knowledge has been institutionalized and taken-for-granted by its users "and it is no longer examined, evaluated, or cri t icized." 7 0 Social Learning as Collective Impact Assessment According to Boothroyd and Anderson, with corporate planning, impact assessment, a key part o f any planning process, is used for "gathering and analyzing information for decision-makers by competent professionals." 7 1 In social planning, on the other hand, competent professionals might still be presenting information to the official decision makers, but this is only after all o f the potential impacts o f a plan are identified by the participants of a planning process. In this way, impact assessment can be seen as part of the larger social learning process, "as a means by which society as a whole can learn about the impacts o f alternative forms o f development" from one another where the professional planner's role is "to facilitate the collection, interpretation and presentation of facts by impacted groups." 7 2 Impact assessment is just one example of the way that information is developed, disseminated and used in planning. With social planning, information is developed and disseminated in order to improve "social development decision-making and for equalizing the power that comes from holding information. Feedback - a certain kind o f information - would not be used for controlling production so as to maximize efficiency but for reflecting on the intended and unintended impacts of actions." 7 3 ™Innes 185-186. 7 1 Anderson and Boothroyd 2-9. 7 2 Anderson and Boothroyd 2-9. 7 3 Anderson and Boothroyd 2-9. 33 Designing Systematic Plans for Planning: Who and How to Plan ? According to Boothroyd, it is crucial to plan for planning processes in order to better ensure that the planning process is well-structured, where such a plan can be understood as "a decision to act in a certain way [... and] a written documentation of decisions made regarding goals (i.e., what one intends to be in the future) and strategies (i.e., what one intends to do now and in the future to achieve one's goals)." A 'plan for planning' is the first input to any systematic planning process, and "assists in making communication among people accurate and unequivocal which in turn facilitates participation in planning, continuity in leadership and administration, and commitments to be carried out." A plan for a planning process will include a decision as to who will participate and how. This is when it is critical to identify the people who will have to be involved by virtue of their knowledge, interest, and possible support (or lack thereof).74 Furthermore, the planning of the decision-making process should be concerned with how to ensure the effective involvement of those participants. Effective involvement in planning produces plans that are actually implemented and not simple 'wish lists.' Effective involvement means the right people are involved in the right way and are committed to the process. Public involvement, Boothroyd argues, can also be used in this planning of the planning process.75 2.2.2 The Neo-Technocratic School The second school of public involvement in transportation planning is the neo-technocratic school. It should come as no surprise that "[m]any transportation planners have backgrounds in engineering and that until recently they were quite used to having their advice followed as engineering advice." This style of transportation planning began to be challenged with the coming 7 4 Boothroyd 15. 7 5 Boothroyd. 34 of the protest movements. "The role of the transportation planner," according to Pill, "who had been concerned mostly with major road improvements as indicated by his travel demand projections, shifted drastically."76 But one might ask how much this model really has changed. By the 1980s, behavioural scientists were still being recruited by planning agencies for their services in estimating travel demand, doing origin-destination studies and surveys of chosen modes of transportation.77 A problem with the use of such surveys is that "respondents have difficulty evaluating hypothetical circumstances."78 In other words, with the technocratic approach, there is little room for opportunities to develop alternative future scenarios and to measure support for them. Innes traces the intellectual roots of the neo-technocratic school of planning back to the positivist school "and their work on policy analysis, administrative behaviour, public choice theory, neoclassical market theory, systems theory and systems analysis; incrementalism, and others, spanning a wide range of disciplines and fields."79 Positivism assumes that there is an absolute Truth, accessible only through the use of the scientific method, an assumption that lay behind movements that occurred in the 1950s and early-1960s towards public policy based on 'good science.' 'Clear,' indisputable scientific truths were to replace the noise emanating from the messy social world. However, there have been problems associated with this approach for as long as it has been used, as Innes has identified. Rittel and Webber, for example, pointed out 'wicked problems' which could not be solved because the problem definition kept shifting and there was no way to aggregate incommensurable values. The unsolvable puzzles were many, including the tragedy of the commons, the prisoner's dilemma, the failure of collective action, the limitations of cost "Pill 1-8. 7 7 Samuel Z. Klausner, "The Macro-sociology of Transportation," Transportation Planning and Policy Making: Behavioural Science Contributions, ed. Richard M. Michaels (New York: Praeger, 1980) 111. 7 8 David J. Forkenbrock, "Improving the Transit Development Planning Process," 1981 Meetings of the Transportation Research Boards (Iowa: University of Iowa, Institute of Urban and Regional Research, 1980) 11. 7 9 Innes 183-184. 35 benefit analysis and other systematic analytic methods, the indeterminacy of the implementation process, the inevitability of uncertainty in goals and technology for planning problems, the impossibility of aggregating the public interest so that its optimization can be amenable to rational systematic analysis, and the impossibility of relying on the large-scale model for societal guidance.80 Despite these problems, the use of the technocratic approach to transportation planning seems to persist, as Steger suggests and is underwritten by the neoliberal "notion of community involvement as a welfare improvement in the economics of information involved."81 Local Knowledge and the Neo-Technocratic Approach Klausner believes that it is safe to assume that, judging from the organized responses to freeway proposals all over North America and Europe, "large sections of the population see the interrelated nature of transport and other problems."82 With the neo-technocratic school, however, public involvement is often seen as one of a whole array of tools available to planners for making important decisions about the social realm. Although it could probably be put to more 'participatory' uses, the survey tends to be the favourite tool of engineers doing 'public involvement.' Engineers use public involvement to provide "factual data on community conditions and trends that are often unavailable from other sources" and to "supplement the expertise of the technical planning team."83 Willson et al. put it this way: with the technocratic approach to participation in transportation planning, the planner's use of the public's knowledge is to "predict and provide," ignoring the increasingly complicated and political nature of the planning contexts within which they work.84 8" Innes 183-184. 8 1 Steger 27. 8 2 Klausner 111. 8 3 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 9-10. 8 4 Willson et al. 355-356. 36 Ever since the first models for the involvement of the public in transportation planning processes were developed, it has been stated that "participation is not a substitute for decision making by responsible public officials, but is an essential contribution to well informed decision making," as was stated in the 1975 "Transportation Policy Statement" of the AASHTO. The public's role was originally cast as that of'contributor' or 'advisor' to a larger, official decision-making process. This seems to translate into a view where the public is simply a source of information to feed into engineering equations. Where they were involved more closely was merely as isolated individuals, and again, usually with the tools of the survey and open houses and not in face-to-face negotiations with the other actors involved. Average citizens were to "provide information of community characteristics, needs, values, and preferences," but were seen to have little or no special knowledge, no ability to negotiate through difficult problems together in creative, imaginative ways. At the same time, certain citizens were deemed to have 'expertise' and therefore, had a "special role" to play, "such as a service district commissioner or local developer." Citizen leaders were also often granted an important status and were to "have quite formal roles as spokespersons for others, as conduits of information between the agency and group members and as advocates for constituents' points of view."85 Making Participation an Intrinsic Part of an Effective Process Proponents of the neo-technocratic school might share the view of the democratic school, that public involvement could be used as part of a process of 'social learning' between citizens and planning agencies, a process that would "increase the capacity of each to see issues from different perspectives and to develop more creative solutions to transportation problems."86 The goal is for 8 5 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 3, 5-7, 6-8. 8 6 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 9-10. 37 the creation of ongoing, two-way avenues of communication between official planners and the public; the building of the "credibility" of planning agencies in the eyes of the public and the provision of "a forum for important debates during planning."87 Broadening our Understanding of what Planners do, and who Planners are Innes and Forester argue that, in order to plan for effective and meaningful public involvement in transportation planning, it is important to consider possible changes in the roles of government planners. It used to be that the planner was seen as the only person with sufficient expertise to identify the 'public interest.' It is now becoming common to understand the public as planners and the planner as process facilitator, changing the role of planner from 'master' to 'helper.' Innes argues that participatory planning, or consensus building, "overcomes the dilemma posed by Alan Altshuler when he contended comprehensive planning was impossible."88 Democratic comprehensive planning is possible when every interested citizen, given his or her personal expertise or local knowledge, becomes a planner. Local knowledge becomes expert knowledge and the expertise of the planner is with facilitating decision-making processes. Forester argues that planning has a very important role to play in the facilitation of "a rich and practical, efficient and productive process of deliberation."89 From the earliest work on racial and environmental disputes to that on zoning revisions, historic preservation, community planning, design negotiations and broader public policy issues, the planning profession can now draw upon far more experience with the critical use of mediation and negotiation skills to refine plans and improve decisions.90 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 9-10. Innes and Booher 9-26. Forester 155-157. Forester 155-157. 38 It is not clear, however, how this shift in decision-making power from planner to citizen would occur in the transportation realm, where it is not planners who have traditionally done the planning work, but engineers. 2.3 Commonly Encountered Obstacles Many of the same obstacles that stood in the way of doing effective and meaningful public participation in planning in its earliest days, in the 1960s and '70s, are still being identified today. These obstacles include: the assumption that the planner is able to identify '"the public interest' of the 'community as a whole,'"91 or that they even ought to have the power "to frame problems, inform and call attention to one point or another and in the process, to empower or disempower individuals" in the first place;92 a refusal by governments to redistribute decision-making power, as Arnstein describes in her seminal article;93 the inability or refusal by certain groups to participate;94 what Robert Putnam has identified as the deterioration of social capital95 and finally, what Forester terms 'distortions of communication.'96 9 1 Checkoway 140-141. 9 2 Innes 186. 9 3 Arnstein 217-220. 9 4 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 13-17. 9 5 Robert D. Putnam, "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital," Journal of Democracy 1A (1995) 1-14. 9 6 Patsy Healey, "A Planner's Day: Knowledge and Action in Communicative Practice," Journal of the American Planning Association 58.1 (1992) 9-19. 39 2.3.1 The Discretion of the Planner The traditional mode of transportation planning was itself an obstacle to ensuring effective community involvement, where planners, usually engineers, controlled the process, which "until comparatively recently, has been purely traffic functional."97 Local and state governments charge their engineers with carrying out the goal of moving cars, often leaving them to work on transportation matters independently of other agencies concerned with other aspects of the planned urban environment, as Klausner points out. This model of planning ignores the fact that "transport problems cannot be considered separately from the wide environment in which they occur, for any attempt to solve them separately could lead to disbenefits in other areas."98 But even when they include the public, transportation planning processes can pose obstacles to the effectiveness of that involvement. As is the case with models that hold citizens as a source of information or 'advice' for engineers to carry out their plans with, where a multitude of citizens' have their "rich diversity of goals, interests, and values - along with the conflicts between them" generalized and robbed of their important details to better serve as a data source simple enough for a small group of people to develop a plan out of. 9 9 Is it wrong, as Innes argues, to assume that planners ought to have the power or discretion "to frame problems, inform and call attention to one point or another and in the process, to empower or disempower individuals?"100 Klausner 111-112 Klausner 111-112. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 20-21. 'innes 186. 40 2.3.2 Refusal by Governments to Redistribute Decision-Making Powers Planning agencies took responsibility for including more participation in transportation decision-making processes by the late-1960s, but by the mid-1970s, it appeared as if these efforts were in vain. "In practice," writes Wellman, participation is used to inform public clienteles, and get feedback and advice from them. It is not used to give clienteles decision-making power in negotiations. This remains with the government planning agency and elected officials [...] One recent assessment finds that the most prevalent use of participation to date has been in 'selling' efforts by planning agencies wanting public acceptance of their projects. The participatory process has affected the actual results of planning studies to a lesser extent.'01 By the end of the 1970s, this failure to shift decision-making responsibility to the public was still a problem. The AASHTO identified a number of constraints governments face that might contribute to their reluctance to shift decision-making power to citizens. The most common obstacle is resource limitations. Other obstacles include: the fact that planners "unsure of official support for CP [Citizen Participation] are not likely to commit themselves to making the process creative and effective;" the view held by many planners that their "professional expertise entitles them to make what are often value judgements without consulting others" and, the common misconception that "citizens cannot give useful input on complex technical issues."102 The obstacle to doing effective and meaningful participation in transportation planning posed by the refusal of government agencies to adequately redistribute decision-making power is common to other planning fields. As Arnstein argues, in the case of planning for social housing, [t]here is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process [...] participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the power holders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit.103 1 0 1 Wellman 8. 1 0 2 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8-21. 1 0 3 Arnstein 217. 41 According to Arnstein, there are four different types of non-participatory processes that citizens can be brought into: manipulation, therapy, informing, and placation. "Manipulation," the bottom rung of the 'Ladder of Participation,' consists of citizens being placed on advisory committees "for the express purpose of 'educating' them or engineering their support." The process is used as "a public relations vehicle by powerholders,"104 which sounds very similar to the characterization of public involvement exercises that Wellman made with regards to transportation planning. "Informing" consists of government authorities simply communicating details of their decision-making process to the public, without actually involving them in the development of the information used in those processes. Obviously, providing citizens with the information that they need and want is a key part of any participatory planning process. However, too frequently the emphasis is placed on a one-way flow of information - from officials to citizens - with no channel provided for feedback and no power for negotiation." "Consultation," as well, can be an important part of participatory planning, but if participation is limited to a consultative role, it is deeply inadequate and "offers no assurance that citizen concerns and ideas will be taken into account." Governments are able to say that they involved citizens, without having them actually complicate the process. "Placation" is the first level of Arnstein's ladder that actually involves some redistribution of power. However, power is only being redistributed to select groups of citizens. These groups are usually not representative of any particular constituency; nor do they share full decision-making power.105 Another problem that has been identified is where social planning Arnstein 218. Arnstein 220. 42 functions such as transportation planning seem to have taken on the characteristics of a corporate style of planning,106 or they have simply been privatized altogether.107 2.3.3 The Deterioration of Social Capital A very serious obstacle to effective and meaningful participation in planning has to do with the deterioration of what Robert Putnam has termed 'social capital.' Social capital is a measure of the health of civil society - "a strong and active civil society" - and is key to any well-functioning democracy, Putnam argues. For him, '"social capital' refers to features of social organization such as networks, norms and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit," and moreover, "powerfully affect the performance of representative government."108 For Putnam, this deterioration is reflected in a number of things: in the declining numbers of people who vote, attend public meetings, or political rallies, or who serve on a committee of a local organization; it can be reflected in the growing numbers of people, now the majority, who do not trust the government; in the general decline of peoples' memberships in civic organizations such as church groups, school-service groups, sports groups, professional societies, the Boy Scouts and the Red Cross; in the "loosening of bonds within the family (both extended and nuclear)" and, in the decline of numbers of people who regularly socialize with their neighbours.109 Putnam's message to governments and his theory's implications for the practice participatory planning are clear: 1 0 6 Owen A. Anderson and Peter Boothroyd, "The Difference Between Corporate and Social Planning, and the Implications for Indian Affairs: Social Planning vs. Corporate Planning in Public Agencies," Saskatchewan Fonim (n/d) 2-9. 1 0 7 Banister 104. 1 0 8 Putnam 1-14. 1 0 9 Putnam 1-14. 43 we need to explore creatively how public policy impinges on (or might impinge on) social capital formation. In some well-known instances, public policy has destroyed highly effective social networks and norms. American slum-clearance policy of the 1950s and 1960s, for example, renovated physical capital, but at a very high cost to existing social capital [...] On the other hand, such past initiatives as the county agricultural-agent system, community colleges, and tax deductions for charitable contributions illustrate that government can encourage social-capital formation."0 Putnam has identified a very serious obstacle to doing effective and meaningful participation in planning - the deterioration of social capital. The responsibility for the placement of this obstacle lies both with the citizenry - who need to become more engaged with civic organizations and thereby, increase their capacity to participate in planning processes - and governments - who need to ensure that public policy has the most positive impacts upon the formation and maintenance of social capital possible and promotes its growth and development. The question for participatory transportation planners then, is what are ways that social capital can be developed in the transportation realm? 2.3.4 Distortions of Communication Hutchinson argues that transportation planners erect a great obstacle to effective community involvement when they fail to communicate with "elected representatives and electorates" about the "real impacts of alternative proposals." But he adds that 'official' planners should be the ones in charge of identifying the "real issues to be resolved by the community" and developing the alternatives around which decision-making is carried out.111 A major problem that has been associated with the neo-technocratic school of transportation planning is that engineers will tend to develop plans using their own peculiar terms of reference. "In making this information highly particular to themselves, the experts [...] control the direction and limits of the [transportation] ""Putnam 1-14. "'Hutchinson 299-300. 44 policy.""2 This problem has been compounded with the advent of computer models, where Starkie has argued that these models "miscalculated the popular mood of the time.""3 And in full agreement, Steger adds that this is not simply a problem of "outdated data bases."114 It is argued that the public needs to become involved in the process very early, perhaps during the design of the process itself."5 From early on in the evolution of participatory transportation planning, it was clear that the "one-shot" public hearings/consultations were a deeply insufficient way of involving the public, especially when most of the technical work had already been completed."6 Where public processes are used to measure the public's feelings about certain objectives, long lists can be produced. But lists of objectives, according to Marcuse, are "meaningless" if they are not operational. Making objectives operational would mean involving the appropriate members of the public in a process where they can "establish priorities, evaluate alternatives, make trade-offs [and] resolve choices" together. Otherwise, many of those objectives, because so many of them will tend to clash with one another, will not hold, and transportation decisions will continue to be made "ad hoc, on the basis of expediency, administratively, without informed public discussion and thus without the effective participation of those democratically charged with making public decisions.""7 It is argued in the generic participatory planning literature that the issue of power imbalances can pose a very difficult obstacle to doing effective and meaningful public participation in planning. Forester contends that power inequities in society are mirrored in the planning environment and 1 1 2 "Transportation: Who Plans? Who Pays?" (Bureau of Municipal Research, Autumn, 1970) 3-5. 1 1 3 Starkie 91-96. ""Steger 10-17. 1 1 5 Boothroyd. 1 1 6 Wellman 11. 1 1 7 Marcuse 7-8. 45 are reproduced through the production of what he terms 'misinformation,' a form of distorted communication. Traditional powerholders, according to Forester, will "threaten to make a mockery of a democratic planning process by misrepresenting cases, improperly invoking authority, making false promises, or distracting attention from key issues.""8 Communicative planning theorists pay a great deal of attention to the ways that misinformation is produced in particular cases. Patsy Healy, one of the leading communicative planning theorists, conducted such an empirical study of 'planning-in-action.' She found that the "planner was surrounded by constraints - council procedures and philosophies, a limited budget for his [sic] department and the political and administrative checks and balances available to challenge his [sic] advice."119 The solution to this dilemma, according to Forester and most other communicative planning theorists, lies in the fact that planners are potential agents of change and development within their limiting contexts. But this solution can become an obstacle in itself. Judith Innes, also one of the leading communicative planning theorists, poses this problem nicely. "Forester's planner has substantial discretion -power - to frame problems, inform and call attention to one point or another and in the process, to empower or disempower individuals," explains Innes. "But how does, or should, this planner decide how to frame issues or what to call attention to?"120 This contradiction in the literature is likely relevant to the transportation realm. " 8 Healey 9-19. " 9 Healey 9-19. 1 2 0 Innes 186. 46 2.4 Prescriptions for Public Participation in Transportation Planning It seems that the prospects for doing effective and meaningful public participation in social planning processes are numerous. It is commonly argued that the project of democracy itself could be better carried out using participatory planning models and at the same time, be better suited to deal with an increasingly complex and interdependent world than traditional decision-making techniques.121 Such participatory planning models could, in turn, be used to build and develop "the capacity of the affected people to learn together about their common future, about their diverse concerns and about the options they can create together;"122 to set norms of procedural justice and thereby, to achieve justice in outcomes; to establish cooperative partnerships; to establish ongoing fora for planning and social learning to take place within and finally, to start thinking about ways to design representative bodies to channel decision-making processes through. 2.4.1 The Democratic Management of Complexity Communicative planning theorists have come to see planning as a democratic process by which possible future scenarios can be modelled - one is based on participants' goals, concerns, and special knowledge - and plans of action created. Innes compares such processes to a combination role-playing game and consensus building. These games try out possibilities while also making them more real. The games themselves are transformative in the ways that they change the players, how they see the world, and what they will do in it. They are truly 'games without frontiers,' moreover, because no one can predict all the paths they could take, the scenarios that could evolve, or the ways the dramas could be resolved. Ultimately, the games allow 'war without tears,' while encouraging creativity through cooperation [...] People all over the world are 1 2 1 Checkoway 140-141; Friedmann 19-35; Innes and Booher 9-26; Forester 155-157. 1 2 2 Forester 155-157. 47 experimenting with consensus building to deal with complex, controversial public issues, changing contexts, and uncertain futures in an institutionally and politically fragmented society.1 2 3 Innes defines consensus building as a process in which individuals representing different interests engage in long-term, face-to-face discussions, seeking agreement on strategy, plans, policies, or actions [...] Such face-to-face group communication allows the sincerity, legitimacy, comprehensibility, and accuracy of statements to be tested, and the inclusion of opposing stakeholders makes it likely that assumptions are questioned.124 Innes sees role-playing games as ways for people to "make collective sense of complexity, or predicting possibilities in an uncertain world and can allow the playful imagination, which people normally suppress, to go to work." 1 2 5 Applications of such models of problem solving can result in more than zero-sum outcomes; they can cooperatively and deliberately make visible win-win options that no one participant could have ever dreamed of on their own. 1 2 6 It has even been suggested that Geographic Information System (GIS) technology can be used in collaborative decision-making, as a way for groups of people to make informed decisions about the impacts of various scenarios in large, complex environments, rendered comprehensible and visible to all with this type of technology.127 Participatory planning processes deal with complexity by representing and providing a forum for deliberations between people who oftentimes hold competing social values. As Boothroyd shows, developing good processes for public involvement is a way of "managing internal goal variety" though a collective development of innovative options that satisfy as many of the participants 1 2 3 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 2 4 Innes and Booher 2-26. ' 2 5 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 2 6 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 2 7 Pamela M . Lebeaux, "GIS for Group Decision Making: Towards a Participatory Geographic Information Science," Journal of the American Planning Association 69.2 (2003): 211. 48 fundamental goals as possible.128 Such processes, it is argued, operate on the basis of dialogue. Dialogue is different than 'discussion,' which according to Innes and Booher, "is something like ping pong: an idea is batted back and forth, analyzed and criticized and each participant seeks to win by having her or his point of view accepted. Dialogue, on the other hand, is about finding and developing a pool of shared meaning."129 Dialogue is a means of discussing and planning for a complex whole from multiple points of view and at the same time, enables participants to "suspend their assumptions but communicate them freely." 1 3 0 But dialogue, like participatory planning more generally, requires that participants "regard one another as colleagues" and is aided by a mediator/facilitator to guide and record deliberations.131 Facilitation is a key ingredient of good participatory planning and maybe even the most essential one. The role of a facilitator is to help people make decisions together, including the choice of how they will make decisions together. Ground rules are good ways to "set the stage, provide some accountability, guide behaviour, control intrusions from nonparticipants and provide for a way to resolve differences the group cannot work through."132 Facilitators can suggest such ground rules, based on their former experiences with working with groups, but a good facilitator will probably elicit suggestions from participants themselves, to ensure their 'buy-in' to the process. Participants also supply the information and local knowledge that will eventually give shape to decisions. Participants themselves model different scenarios; facilitators help to make these models meaningful and effective plans for change. A facilitator will help participants to: identify each other's goals, invent options for achieving them and communicate the potential impacts that certain options for change might have on them, promoting a process of social 1 2 8 Boothroyd. 1 2 9 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 3 0 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 3 1 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 3 2 Innes and Booher 9-26. 49 learning at the same time.1 3 3 Likely, dialogue and collective impact assessments would be welcome additions to any exercise in participatory transportation planning, but the question of whether consensus is a realistic goal in such a complex field as transportation, where there is such an abundance of actors involved, remains unresolved. 2.4.2 Social Learning Innes and Booher demonstrate the importance of social learning when they describe how participants in planning processes "learn how the dynamics of their own ideas and actions play out in a complex world of interlinked players and unanticipated events."134 A prescription from those promoting "environmental justice" in transportation planning, advocates for doing better impact assessments - ones that identify the "probable consequences" of transportation system 'improvements.' This way, where one part of the system may be improved by a specific change, the disproportionate burden of such a change on particular, usually low-income or otherwise unrepresented, communities can be identified and mitigated against.135 "A Citizen's Handbook" on "environmental justice and transportation" recommends that historically disenfranchised populations, the poor and ethnic minorities and their representatives, be included, along with agency planners, in the decision-making process that lead to the formation of transportation plans. The handbook recommends that the education of the public of these environmental justice issues is not limited to the simple distribution of information or an invitation to the public to make a comment on a plan. Rather, "the greatest impact a person can have is to be an active member of a board or committee. In this way, citizens share power with staff and elected officials." 1 3 6 1 3 3 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 3 4 Innes and Booher 9-26. 1 3 5 Forkenbrock and Schweitzer 107. 1 3 6 Cairns et al. 18. 50 There seems to be little or nothing explicitly written on the subject of participatory transportation planning as a process of social learning. However, it is not difficult to argue that all social planning has a learning component - from group goal identification, through situation appraisals, collective modelling and impact assessments and the synergistic invention of alternate possibilities. Social learning is different than education in the sense that little can be taken for granted at the outset of the process; participants are not being educated so much as they are learning together, about each other and the world they share or the particular part of the world where they live. In a process of social learning, knowledge is formed in a bottom-up and lateral fashion since participants are involved in an experiment in which they are all co-researchers, setting the research agenda together. When planners facilitate a process of social learning, they are not there to 'educate' the public, but to involve them in a process where they are learning together, from each other's perspectives.137 Much research needs to go into the topic of social learning as an ingredient of participatory transportation planning. It is not known if it is even possible to include social learning in transportation planning. 2.4.3 Setting Norms of Procedural Justice It is argued that norms of procedural justice ought to be identified, at least in part, by participants of a process themselves and put into place before any exercise in participatory planning takes place. "Grounded in reasons of inefficiency (time delays, budget over-runs), ignorance (the assertion that the 'general public' lacks the 'expert' knowledge to make informed comment) and stress (vulnerability to increased questions and complaints)," this is rarely the case, as Jean Hillier 1 3 7 Raymond J. Burby, "Making Plans That Matter: Citizen Involvement and Government Action," Journal of the American Planning Association 69 (2003) 33-44. 51 explains and usually, "planners set rules for the participation process."138 Hillier believes that, instead, official planners and lay citizen planners need to work together to form a shared understanding of what constitutes 'procedural justice.'139 Although the definition of procedural justice will take shape in unique ways in each case, there is a small but growing body of work dedicated to developing and testing various decision-making techniques and they have found that certain criteria must be met in most cases. Hillier 1 4 0 and Rowe and Frewer's 1 4 1 prescriptions include such elements as: early involvement; buy-in from all participants and a general perception of fairness; ensuring each participant or group has sufficient resources to participate; participants are representative of a cross-section of society; a clear understanding of how participation will direct policy and facilitation and mediation are employed. Using Systematic Involvement Techniques Usually participatory planning processes include most of the following steps: the setting of the task, the identification of goals, the appraisal of the planning situation, the development and packaging of alternatives, the assessment of the various alternatives against the pre-identified goals of the process and finally, a decision.142 Many theorists of participatory transportation planning argue that the tasks of such planning processes are rarely followed systematically, or even stated clearly and often have to be "inferred."143 It is very difficult to identify goals for a process that has no clear or mutually understood task, for example, where each participant may 1 3 8 Jean Hillier, "Beyond Confused Noise: Ideas Toward Communicative Procedural Justice," Journal of Planning Education and Research 18 (1998) 14-24. 1 3 9 Hillier 14-24. 1 4 0 Hillier 14-24. 1 4 1 Gene Rowe and Lynn J. Frewer, "Public Participation Methods: A Framework for Evaluation," Science, Technology & Human Values 25.1 (2000) 3-29. 1 4 2 Boothroyd. 1 4 3 Hutchinson 24. 52 have a different notion of what it is they are planning for. And the goal identification step can pose a similar problem if there is no shared understanding of what those goals mean.144 This is why, theorists argue, that it is important for there to be "direct interaction between the planner and those being planned for" and why public hearings and surveys are deficient techniques for developing such shared meaning.145 While surveys and public meetings can be used to generate and measure the acceptance of a particular set of goals among those who did not wish to volunteer to participate directly in a process, it is very important to include in the process absolutely everyone and every group concerned about transportation decisions, and who do wish to participate directly, or at least involve their representatives.146 Often, situation appraisals are being carried out before the planning task has even been set, or goals identified.147 The situation assessment step often takes the form of a 'community profile,' or a simple "regional description."148 Agency planners also use this step to "educate" the public in a top-down manner.149 In a participatory transportation planning process, it is essential for the community to be involved in the alternative-development step - to improve the quality of decisions, deal with complexity, be democratic, etc. Having agency planners and government officials develop more 'acceptable' alternatives and informing the public of and seeking their comments on "practicable alternative routes for road projects" through public hearings are not participatory techniques.150 There is a great difference between being asked opinions about a selection of already fully-designed and evaluated alternatives, and being iteratively involved in selecting initial alternatives, acquiring preliminary information, making choices for further investigation, 1 4 4 Starkie 118. 1 4 5 Forkenbrock 1-11. 1 4 6 Forkenbrock 1-11. 1 4 7 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 38; Forkenbrock 1-11. 1 4 8 Forkenbrock 1-11. 1 4 9 Steger 25-28. 1 5 0 John Black, Urban Transportation Planning: Theory and Practice (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981) 220. 53 generating new or modified alternatives, developing more detailed alternatives, and evaluating them by means of more elaborate criteria.151 Where public meetings are used to showcase already-developed alternatives, "the technical planning staff is heavily committed in time, resources and emotions to one alternative" 1 5 2 and will often surround this alternative with "several 'straw' alternatives, which are clearly inferior to the preferred one."153 Then, the final decision is always left to the 'official' decision-makers to make, rather than to those decision-makers in participation with the public. In more traditional models of transportation planning, it is taken for granted that the task of the process is to increase the mobility of automobile drivers. The goals were simple - to reduce congestion by any and all means possible. The kinds of information that were gathered included what kind of budget was available for planning, and most importantly, what future travel demands were going to be, where it was always assumed to increase. This information formed "the necessary basis for building new alternatives [...] A highly tentative assessment was also made of the technical and political feasibility of certain improvements such as road widenings or additional roads in each sector."154 This model is typical of the neo-technocratic school of transportation planning. As has been noted, the initial attempts to enlarge the planning process to include the public were deeply inadequate, where "theplanner [was] considering all effects, all alternatives, even evaluating the credibility and validity of the data base. The planners' perceptions are to be used as a substitute for the community's." Attempts to involve the community, and to move away 1 5 1 Steger 11-19. 1 5 2 Steger 11-19. 1 5 3 Forkenbrock 1-11. 1 5 4 Province of Ontario. Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, Toronto Transit Commission, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, "Development of Land Use and Transportation Alternatives," Metropolitan Toronto Transportation Plan Review (Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, 1974) xv-5. 54 from the traditional technocratic model, resulted in suspicions by the community that such exercises were nothing more than an attempt at "selling" alternatives.155 Since the success of protest groups organized to stop freeway plans, governments in many jurisdictions in Canada, the US, Great Britain and Europe have adopted guidelines for involving citizens in transportation planning processes.156 Although the goal of such involvement is, ideally, to work it "formally and systematically [...] into the planning process," it often takes a more limited form, that of "citizens' advisory committees." 1 5 7 Another, equally limited, form of involvement has been the use of 'community' objectives by engineers in their formulation of transportation plans, where environmental and social concerns are simply appended to traditional travel demand projections158 and cost benefit analyses.159 Despite these limitations, since the early-1970s, there has been a remarkable shift in the approach with which citizens are involved in transportation planning. The most notable change was made with the abandonment of the 'one-shot' public hearing, which "usually took place at the end of the planning process, when decisions had been made and a single alternative had been decided upon." 1 6 0 However, replacing this technique with something other than the involvement of citizens in a limited "advisory" capacity, "with a governmental body retaining ultimate decision-making powers," has proven difficult.161 The major failing of the public hearing was the fact that it lacked a forum for "any real communication between planners, elected representatives, and electorates."162 The most critical challenge has been, not only to incorporate participation more formally into the transportation Steger 6-19. 1 5 6 Steger 2-5, 8-9; Pil l 1-8; Banister 104-105. 1 5 7 Steger 2-5. 1 5 8 Pi l l 1 6-8. ' 5 9 Banister 104-105. 1 6 0 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8-21. 1 6 1 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8-21. 1 6 2 Hutchinson 299-300. 55 planning process, but also, to decide on how to incorporate such involvement into the process at earlier and more regular points.'6 3 Forming Watchdog Bodies Due to the apparently global phenomenon of "systematic misrepresentation" - lying - that Bent Flyvbjerg and his associates have identified in the field of transportation planning, a phenomenon whose persistence over time proves that the only thing transportation project promoters have learned about doing cost-benefit analysis is that "cost underestimation pays off," 1 6 4 the formation of watchdog bodies seems necessary. For Flyvbjerg, the implication of his study, besides that the public should be suspicious of such analyses, is that "institutional checks and balances - including financial, professional, or even criminal penalties for consistent or foreseeable estimation errors -should be developed to ensure the production of less deceptive cost estimates."165 Flyvbjerg identifies the development of accountability measures in other fields, and sees them being instituted in transportation planning the following ways: "(1) increased transparency, (2) the use of performance specifications, (3) explicit formulation of the regulatory regimes that apply to project development and implementation, and (4) the involvement of private risk capital, even in public projects."166 Essentially, this describes the institutionalization of a watchdog function that the public could surely play a large part in. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 8-21. Bent Flyvbjerg et al. 279-295. Bent Flyvbjerg et al. 279-295. Bent Flyvbjerg et al. 279-295. 56 2.4.4 Establishing Cooperative Partnerships Arnstein argues that the state is far more capable of acting as an enabling partner with citizens than is commonly assumed. She sees the potential for collaboration and negotiation between citizens and government. They agree to share planning and decision-making responsibilities through such structures as joint policy boards, planning committees and mechanisms for resolving impasses. After the groundrules have been established through some form of give-and-take, they are not subject to unilateral change. Partnerships can work most effectively when there is an organized power-base in the community to which the citizen leaders are accountable; when the citizens group has the financial resources to pay its leaders reasonable honoria for their time-consuming efforts; and when the group has the resources to hire (and fire) its own technicians, lawyers, and community organizers. With these ingredients, citizens have some genuine bargaining influence over the outcome of the plan (as long as both parties find it useful to maintain the partnership).167 Planners are also potential agents of change and development within their limiting contexts. A case study of one planner conducted by Patsy Healy showed this planner working to make "local government more open and sensitive than had traditionally been the case [...] particularly by showing how senior public officials could operate interactively to increase the transparency of bureaucratic systems."168 The question that arises when such partnerships are considered for the transportation realm, as is the case for the following prescriptions as well, is one of resources. Establishing ongoing fora for participatory planning and representative bodies might prove to be exceedingly expensive measures. Ongoing Fora for Participatory Planning and Social Learning Putnam's theory of social capital could lend a great deal to research into prospective methods of effective and meaningful participatory transportation planning. Social capital is something that is 1 6 7 Arnstein 221-222. 1 6 8 Healey 9-19. 57 usually developed in voluntary or community organizations, which Putnam characterizes by their "dense networks of interaction" or "dense networks of civic engagement." Such networks operate on generalized reciprocity and social trust; they "facilitate coordination and communication, amplify reputations and thus allow dilemmas of collective action to be resolved;" they tend to reproduce themselves quite easily, since such networks "embody past successes at collaboration, which can serve as a cultural template for future collaboration" and finally, "dense networks of interaction probably broaden the participants' sense of self, developing the T' into the 'we,'" 1 6 9 Civic engagement very well might benefit exercises in participatory transportation planning. Putnam argues that the state has many tools for facilitating the development of cooperative partnerships and that we need to think of ways that these tools can be best put to use.170 One important thing that governments could do to further the prospects of effective and meaningful citizen participation in transportation planning is to establish ongoing fora in which social learning and participatory planning can take place. Forming Representative Bodies Probably the least discussed prospect for doing effective and meaningful public participation in transportation planning is the development of new models of political representation. Logically, some form of representation is an unavoidable requirement to doing face-to-face collaboration with large groups of people. It is simply impossible for large numbers of people to talk together all at once and when large groups of people are engaged in planning together, it becomes easy to overlook certain groups and individuals: One concern frequently expressed in the literature is the need for participants to be representative of the broader public (or the affected subgroups within the population), 1 6 9 Putnam 1-14. 1 7 0 Putnam 1-14. 58 rather than simply representing some self-selected subset. Particular caution should be exercised with regard to disenfranchising poorer groups or segments of society or employing an intelligent, motivated, self-interested, and unrepresentative elite [...] Further caution is needed in transboundary disputes.'71 There is a whole range of options for ensuring representation in participatory planning and many of these may not need to be as involving as developing a whole new political process. Rowe and Frewer recommend randomly selecting a sample of the affected population to participate in some sort of panel of representatives. Another method involves "the use of questionnaires to determine the spread of attitudes with regard to a certain issue" as a way of forming a "basis for the proportionate selection of members [of a panel of representatives]."172 More involving options might include the establishment of neighbourhood councils from which to filter up delegated representatives to the next level of planning; those councils would then be maintained and referred back to for feedback. Or 'communities of interest' could be formed and perhaps be based on existing organizations, which would then appoint delegates to the planning process. 2.5 Conclusion Literature on the topic of public involvement in transportation planning falls into two schools: the democratic and neo-technocratic schools. The first, the democratic school, is based on the original citizen demands to become involved in transportation decision-making in the 1960s and 1970s, which most commonly took the form of public protest. The opposition that these kinds of protests pose often have completely derailed governments' transportation plans. The inherent right of people to participate in public decisions is also given as a rationale for public involvement in 1 7 1 Rowe and Frewer 3-29. 1 7 2 Rowe and Frewer 3-29. 59 transportation planning. The democratic school also offers participation as a way to improve the equity of relations between stakeholder groups. Another way to improve the balance of power between various 'interest' groups is to have the public perform a 'watchdog' function. Another major motivation for proponents of the democratic school is a response to the difficulty of doing planning in an increasingly complex and ever-changing world, one comprised of citizens who hold a great variety of often incompatible social values. The use of participation in planning is probably the best way to help understand conflicting social values. In turn, it is argued, this understanding will tend to lead to compromise. In this way, participation in planning can be used to help satisfy multiple goals in creative ways, producing 'win-win' solutions in the process. Given a fair process design, or the perception of a fair process, participation in transportation planning is the only way to democratically manage the internal goal variety of a society. The second school of public involvement in transportation planning, the neo-technocratic school, sees the public as a source for improving the quality of information used to develop, or gauge the support for, different options. Such involvement, depending on whether it is used democratically or not, is open for abuse. It is one thing to look to citizens as experts who will help to inform the quantitative engineering problem-solving that has to go into the development of any implementation plan and quite another to appropriate and use citizens' local knowledge to plug into the technocratic planning models that characterize the traditional technocratic approach to transportation planning. Prescriptions abound for ensuring effective citizen involvement in transportation planning through "a cooperative process where agencies and citizens work together developing and analyzing alternatives," where such cooperation "increases the capacity of each to see issues from different 60 perspectives and to develop more creative solutions to transportation problems." 1 7 3 These benefits are the potential result of participatory planning's ability to help citizens to view the comprehensive picture of the planning area beyond their "local stance," where participants have the opportunity to learn from one another's 'local knowledge' and form a basis of shared understanding together.174 This is the potential 'social learning' component of participatory transportation planning. Social learning is also taking place when the impacts of various alternatives are collectively gauged by the feedback of those potentially affected by those impacts. "CP [Citizen Participation] gives the added long-range benefit of setting up continuous two-way communications between agencies and communities."175 There seem to be many opportunities to employ techniques for formally integrating involvement into transportation planning process through the creation of required guidelines, which "insure avenues for the involvement of citizens in central aspects of transportation planning [...] Requirements are important evidence to citizens that they have a place in the transportation planning process and that their contributions are essential."176 A l l of the prescriptions above would likely benefit the practice of participatory transportation planning. However, not enough is known about how these prescriptions, being theoretical, would apply in the transportation realm. The same could be said for the prescriptions that are outlined in the generic literature on transportation planning. The transportation sector poses unique challenges to the practice of participatory planning. There are many things that, reviewing the literature written on the subject, we obviously still do not know. For example, Sherry Arnstein's A Ladder of Citizen Participation offers a very well constructed tool for assessing how participatory a planning process is. We might ask, as many transportation theorists have, i f the public's 1 7 3 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 3, 14-15. 1 7 4 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 3, 14-15. 1 7 5 Marcuse 7. 1 7 6 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 10. 61 involvement is still being limited to that of an inadequate advisory role? But Arnstein's theory offers little in the way of solutions for the transportation planning sector. How would the huge variety of views reflected in the different issues involved in the transportation realm be worked into a planning process? What is a form of participation that puts more responsibility for decision-making in the hands of the public going to look like and is this even desirable? And where planners have taken on more of a facilitative role in this shift in responsibility, are these planners still making decisions themselves and is this desirable? As Innes asks, should planners have the discretion to frame problems, inform and call attention to one point or another, and in the process, to disempower individuals? And given that the transportation sector is invariably going to involve a lot of very specialized engineering knowledge, how could citizens become involved in designing planning processes, as many authors argue they should, where it seems unavoidable to use ridership data, land-use and population projections, customer surveys, journey to work data, data from trip diary survey, etc.? Similarly, is it even possible to do the kinds of collective impact assessments that certain authors recommend in a realm as complicated and involving such specialized knowledge as transportation planning? And are these two things, the technical and collective/social components, mutually exclusive? The general literature on participatory planning recommends a shift in decision-making power from planners to citizens. But how would this occur in the transportation realm, where it is not planners that have traditionally done the planning work, but engineers? Is power sharing between and among citizens, engineers, and planners a realistic goal in a field that has been dominated by engineers for so long? Does the involvement of Engineers necessarily preclude the involvement of others? And if the historical problem of the domination of engineers in transportation planning processes is supposedly already being addressed, has this goal really been achieved? Has the technocratic model of transportation planning really changed? 62 It is stated in the literature that consensus in planning is achieved through the systematic design of better planning processes. But this raises fundamental questions about what transportation planning is setting out to achieve. Given the complex nature of the transportation planning environment and the numerous actors involved, one might question whether consensus is a realistic goal. And if consensus is not an appropriate goal, might participation take away from the responsibility of government decision-makers to make strong decisions? Or in other words, within the current decision-making structure, will the democratization of transportation planning take away powerholders' right to judge the legitimacy and feasibility of citizen advice? And if consensus is not a goal of the process, what are other possible goals: the development of social capital through the creation of ongoing planning fora for social learning; the formation of watchdog institutions? And are these necessarily the goals of government, or maybe citizen groups? Further to the matter of systematic process decision, is it clear who should be involved in transportation planning? Is it possible to involve representative groups and if so, how might they be formed? Randomly selected groups might lack interest and commitment. All of these ongoing planning functions might be entirely too expensive to implement. A review of the literature on participatory transportation planning raises many interesting questions about what might happen when the prescriptions it offers are applied in practice. Also, many questions arise when we consider the application of the general literature on participatory planning to the transportation realm, which is unique in that it is so quantitative, complex, involves so many people with so many divergent values, requires such long term measures, is inescapably political and potentially costly. In the following case study of Vancouver's process for the 1997 Transportation Plan, these questions and others will be addressed. 63 In order to know how the Vancouver case study will help to resolve the above theoretical problems, it is first necessary to define what Vancouver's transportation planning process was sought to achieve. It may indeed have been an attempt to explore the ways in which participatory planning methods could be applied to transportation planning. It was not meant to be an attempt to build consensus on highly conflicrual issues, as this would unlikely ever be possible. The most likely explanation was that it was an attempt to build popular support for 'sustainable' transportation measures, such as investments in public transit, as well as being an attempt to democratically manage technical complexity - an important question that will be further addressed in the study of the case that follows. If indeed Vancouver's process was a case of an attempt to build popular support for sustainable transportation measures, the question becomes, 'what can we learn about the opportunities and constraints to designing transportation planning processes that simultaneously serve goals of democracy and technical efficiency, or complexity management? The Vancouver transportation planning case came out of the larger CityPlan, which was itself an attempt to manage complexity democratically. Although, it was also an attempt to help citizens to understand what City Planners, developers and politicians wanted, which was, they thought, the only reasonable approach to urban development: density plus transit. CityPlan was not purely democratic, nor was the transportation planning process. It seems as if democracy, technocracy and self-interest were tensions within CityPlan and perhaps in the transportation planning process. Nevertheless, the transportation planning process was noteworthy for opening up transportation planning to citizen involvement in defining goals and options more than any other process that 1 am aware of. So although the case of Vancouver's transportation planning process was a primitive, perhaps impure, attempt to democratize transportation planning, it can shed light on the opportunities and constraints to doing that. One of the obstacles that can be anticipated is the difficulty in defining what an appropriate goal of participatory transportation planning process 64 ought to be, such as consensus, and maintaining the consistency of that goal so that problems are not caused later on in the process. 65 C H A P T E R III: Introduction to Case Study 3.1 Pre-1952 As Setty Pedakur, the author of the most comprehensive historical account of the Vancouver freeway debate ever written, writes, Vancouver's "raison d'etre is as a major transportation terminus."'77 Although the Trans-Continental Railway, was originally supposed to terminate in Port Moody, which is located at the end of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, which was then known as the Granville Townsite, was chosen due to the lobbying efforts of the City fathers. There is a story that, apparently, William Van Home, who was put in charge of the railway building project by John A. MacDonald and who had gained his experience working in the United States on their Trans-Continental Railway, checked in to his hotel in Port Moody, overlooking the harbour and immediately knew that the water there was too shallow to accommodate the kind of deep sea port that would be necessary to accommodate. But before he even had a chance to begin to devise an alternative plan, delegates from the Granville Townsite, which does have the capacity to host a deep sea port, approached Van Home to request that he choose Granville as the terminus and that if he did, Victoria would offer the Canadian Pacific Railway most of the land that is now Vancouver, 6,500 acres from the Fraser River to Burrard Inlet and from Ontario to Trafalgar Streets. Not even twenty years after the completion of the Trans-Continental in 1871, in 1889, when Vancouver was only three years old, streetcar lines began to be laid down, connecting the 1 7 7 Setty V. Pendakur, Cities, Citizens & Freeways (Vancouver: B C Transportation Development Agency, 1972). 66 emerging neighbourhoods, Central Park, Cedar Cottage, with New Westminster. By 1891, there were 20 kilometres of track; by 1909, 64 kilometres were added to this and, by 1914 approximately 80 more kilometres of track were added to the network, which stretched from the University of British Columbia to Burnaby, New Westminster and all the way to Chilliwack and Abbotsford and from North Vancouver to Steveston to the south. The laying down of the streetcar lines was intrinsically tied to real estate development and the present-day settlement patterns of the city. The British Columbia Electric Railway Company (BCER) collaborated with real estate speculators and developers to develop up to a certain area, sell off and develop all of the properties there and then expand the line further, repeating this pattern. This ensured that the value of the land would always remain high. It was only after the popularity of the private automobile exploded after WWII that land in between the major arterials served by the streetcars was developed. Vancouver's process and pattern of development was common through much of North America, but with slight variations. For example in Los Angeles, the streetcar lines were extended to their termini before the land was sold off or developed, perhaps accounting for the severely sprawling nature of that city; land was simply so cheap to come by that a great many people could afford to live on fairly large lots. Vancouver's case is unique in that its pace of growth, and sprawl, occurred very quickly. By 1914, the entire metropolitan region covered only 30 square miles of land. Forty years later, the tentacles of the metropolis extended over much of the Lower Fraser Valley; Haney, Cloverdale, and White Rock, each some 40 to 50 kilometres from the centre of the city, housed appreciable numbers who worked and shopped (at least occasionally) in the city, and these communities were clearly part of the urban fringe. The consequences are perhaps best revealed by comparison. In 1860, Toronto had a population of 50,000 people in little more than four square miles, and densities were described as 'not particularly high'; fifty years later, twice as many Vancouverites occupied approximately seven times as much territory. In 1921, population densities in Montreal and Toronto were three times those in Vancouver, South Vancouver, and Point 67 Grey, and in 1929, when these administrative units amalgamated, most of the Burrard peninsula, some 88 square miles of land, had been turned to urban uses.178 In 1919, the provincial government began to build and pave roads in the Fraser Valley. During the 1920s, subsidiaries of the BCER established bus services in the region, connecting the suburban municipalities with the City of Vancouver. By 1930, new bridges across the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet were built. Between 1920 and 1950, an increasing number of trucks and private automobiles were on the roads. By 1926, there were 44,000 cars in the Vancouver-New Westminster area. Whereas in 1911, there were 116 people for every car, by 1931, there were six people for every car and by 1951, the ratio of people to cars was four to one. "Recognizing the reality of changing circumstances, the BCER terminated its passenger and express services in September 1950." The BCER had to pay compensation to the municipalities it had serviced, money which was then put directly into road improvements.179 In Vancouver, the only two comprehensive plans, which both included major streets plans, done before the 1950s were both carried out by Harland Bartholomew and Associates of St. Louis, Missouri, the first in 1929 and the second, in the form of an update, in 1947. The plan's 1947 update was intended to reflect and "to accommodate the increased number and use of the automobile and the major streets which had become an even more important portion of the city's physical structure." In keeping with the traditions of the day and reflecting the engineering measures being instituted all across the United States, it was recommended that the way to accommodate the automobile is with "a new type of street called The Freeway.'" As well, a number of new bridges across the Fraser River were recommended. The 1947 plan also called for the removal of the streetcar tracks and to replace them with trolley buses. Officially neither of 1 7 8 Graeme Wynn, "The Rise of Vancouver," Vancouver and its Region, eds. Graeme Wynn and Timothy Oke (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1992) 72. 1 7 9 Wynn 72-73. 68 these plans was adopted as policy. Yet, both were "followed in establishing the physical development pattern for the city. The zoning plan, on the whole was adopted by the City Council. On the other hand, the street and transit plan was never adopted but in the absence of any other policy documents, it has been a civic official Bible with revisions by the City Engineer in putting forward his Public Works Program from time to time."180 3.2 1952-1990s The only comprehensive transportation plan done between 1952 and 1972 was the 1959 Sutton-Brown Plan called Freeways With Rapid Transit. Essentially, it was "a further updating, with proper bureaucratic blessings, of the 1947 Bartholomew plan to suit the conditions of the early '60s. In essence, the Sutton-Brown Plan made provision for better highways and freeways and assumed the supremacy of the automobile to be a panacea for all of the urban transportation problems." Gerald Sutton-Brown, who had moved to Vancouver from England, was Vancouver's Director of the Planning Department, which was formed in 1951. Sutton-Brown was also the Chair of the newly formed Technical Planning Board, which was formed "shortly thereafter [...] to advise council on technical and administrative matters related to city planning."181 When the Planning Department was formed, it was recommended that the Town Planning Commission, which had been formed in 1926 and was comprised of "the heads of those departments specifically concerned with the physical development of the city," be expanded to include "an increased membership drawn from citizen organizations to advise the Council on 1 8 0 Pendakur. 1 8 1 Pendakur 69 general planning matters, due care being taken to keep the Commission advised on the undertakings of the Technical Planning Board so that its opinion and recommendations could be properly expressed upon planning matters." This recommendation was made to ensure that the Commission remained "a grass roots organization and citizen oriented, and to make sure that the Technical Planning Board did not dominate the Commission in its efforts to perform broad, long-range planning." However, Council did not approve this recommendation. Subsequently, the Commission became dominated by the views of the Technical Planning Board, and represented little more than "the viewpoint of the City council of the day."182 Gerald Sutton-Brown, while Director of Planning, was concerned with long-range planning. However, when he became the City Commissioner, "all he has wanted to do was to get projects built." He was convinced that his plans were a direct expression of the 'public interest' and did not allow City Staff to question the possible impacts of his plans. "In the clamour for getting his plan implemented, Commissioner Sutton-Brown seems to rely on the philosophy that the decision making process should not be made cumbersome by public participation. He believes in the "Royal English Tradition that if the public does not like what is being done, they can always express themselves during the next election."183 Beginning in 1955, the provincial and municipal governments worked together on joint transportation studies that concluded, in 1959, in the final report, Freeways with Rapid Transit - A Study of Highway Planning, that a major urban Freeway system was needed in Downtown Vancouver by 1976 to accommodate the growth of and the increased number of automobiles in, the region. The particular route that this freeway would take was not included in this plan. However, the detailed technical studies that the implementation of the Freeway Plan would have 1 8 2 Pendakur. 1 8 3 Pendakur. 70 been based on were all drawn from the assumptions of this 1959 plan. Also in 1959, City Council approved a plan for the redevelopment of 2,500 acres of land next to the CBD that would have accommodated a number of the different options for the route of the Freeway identified in the 1959 plan. A subsequent slowdown in the province's economic growth delayed the implementation of the plan and led to its review. By 1964, however, the original measures called for in the 1959 plan, as well as the assumptions that these recommendations were based on, were reaffirmed and "[construction was to begin immediately." The updated 1964 plan, "[fjor the first time in many years [...] was also presented to the public-at-large in a widely publicized, well attended meeting held a the Queen Elizabeth Theatre."184 The next step was for City Council to commission a detailed implementation plan that would lay out the particular route of the Freeway. This plan, the Vancouver Transportation Study as it was called, was presented to, and approved by, Council during an open meeting in October of 1967. "The proposal to build a freeway through Vancouver's historic Gastown and culturally unique Chinatown met with overwhelming opposition." A public hearing over the plan in November of that year saw more than twenty-seven citizen groups present, for the most part, their opposition to the plan. This public outpouring of opposition led Council to rescind its previous motion to approve the plan, and to subject that plan to further study. Alternative options, however, would be compared to that 1967 plan.185 The public had been organizing itself in opposition to the freeway plans since 1964. This opposition began to reflect itself at the University of British Columbia, where up until 1967, the topic of transportation planning had only been studied by the Department of Commerce. Gradually, the School of Planning and the Department of Geography began to study this 1 8 4 Pendakur. 1 8 5 Pendakur. 71 controversial matter. "Young and new academics with transport expertise, such as Walter Hardwick and Setty Pendakur, had established themselves as emerging experts and began to fan out with their broader concern to the community as a whole." Other concerned citizen groups included: architects, the Civic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trade, Community Arts Council and the Community Planning Association of Canada, ratepayer groups, and community associations. But perhaps the most vehemently opposed and well organized opposition came from the Chinese-Canadian Community, who were to be most affected by the 120-foot wide freeway that was to cut through their neighbourhood. Along with all of the other groups, it was the Chinese community who led the original opposition against the 1967 freeway plan, the opposition that forced Council to take another look at the whole plan. However, when they came back to the public, it was a freeway through Chinatown that they recommended.186 The Chinese community were not, nor any other concerned citizens for that matter, invited to share their input with Council before the final decision was made. "This declaration raised a huge public furor and, in the months that followed, a growing alliance challenged the freeway alignment; the broader downtown plan and, also, the insensitive, centralized administration that was such an abiding feature of technocratic civic decision making. With remarkable insensitivity that also revealed the cloistered decision making process, Mayor Campbell denounced the demand for public meetings as 'a public disgrace and a tempest in a Chinese teapot' and fumed, 'do we have to hire a playhouse to put on a puppet show for objectors?'"187 The public was not only upset with the substantive elements of the plan, but with the nature of the authoritarian, anti-democratic process that produced it. 1 8 8 However, after two heated public hearings, which included hundreds 1 8 6 Pendakur. 1 8 7 David Ley et al., "Time to Grow Up? From Urban Village to World City, 1966-91," Vancouver and its Region, eds. Graeme Wynn and Timothy Oke (Vancouver: U B C Press, 1992) 260 1 8 8 Ley et al. 260; Setty Pendakur. 72 of citizens from a huge range of organizations, Council finally decided to abandon its motion to begin construction on the freeway.189 Stemming directly from these events, a group of concerned academics formed a group called Vancouver Tomorrow in 1966. Their aim was to form a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing citizen participation in planning. By 1968, committees of the group were holding local meetings on local issues with concerned local residents. "The major thrust of Vancouver Tomorrow was in discussing local issues and seeking their support for a conference to discuss citizen participation and city planning." Many of the key organizers of this conference went on to run for municipal office in the 1968 elections, two of whom were elected and two of whom were defeated. Subsequently, Vancouver Tomorrow was replaced by another organization called Citizens Council on Civic Development (CCCD) whose main goal was to form a "new non-political widely based group primarily concerned with information dissemination and citizen participation" and more specifically, to promote a "collective citizen examination of issues of urban policy and development, bringing together citizens' views to all levels of government and creating a greater understanding of the issues involved [...] The Council was to act as a clearing house of information and research resources."190 Two other organizations directly stemmed from the freeway debates. First, The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) was formed in 1968, as a response to the public's growing demands to be included in important planning issues. TEAM, who were committed to increasing public involvement in planning, eventually won a majority of Council seats, as well as the Mayor's chair. Another group of citizens formed the Citizens' Co-ordinating Committee for Public Transit (CCCPT) in 1971. The CCCPT, faced with "continued efforts by the civic politicians to give top 1 8 9 Pendakur. 1 9 0 Pendakur. 73 priority to the expansion of a freeway network," organized a public meeting "attended by about 50 people who came from diverse backgrounds and represented a variety of organizations." A second meeting, planned as a major public transportation conference and jointly organized with other community groups, was attended by delegates from 50 organizations and 120 concerned individuals. From that historic May day in 1971 on, the CCCPT was to play a leading role as the voice of the poor and irrevocably committed to public transit, rapid or otherwise. While previously the players in the rapid transit poker game were essentially the elected politicians, now was added a new player [...] From then on, the rapid transit poker game took on new focus and the citizens were getting a co-ordinated voice.191 However, the City of Vancouver did not take measures to formally include the public in its transportation planning processes until the early 1990s. The traditional engineering approach to transportation planning was employed until then. 3.3 City Plan and the 1997 Transportation Plan Formal and broad public involvement did not become a policy of the City of Vancouver until CityPlan was developed. CityPlan, which outlines broad "directions" for a 30-year period, is Vancouver's first 'official' comprehensive plan. In 1992, Council approved the following motions: That a City Plan reflecting a shared vision of the future of Vancouver be prepared [...] That the CityPlan Program inform citizens about the issues facing the City and present Council policies, and create, from their advice, a shared sense of direction for the City and its place in the Region; and [...] That the process for developing a plan actively seek the involvement of a broad range of individuals and groups, including those who do not normally participate in City activities.192 1 9 1 Pendakur. 1 9 2 City of Vancouver, CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver & City of Vancouver Response to GVRD Livable Region Strategic Plan (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1995). 74 The public process that led up to the drafting of CityPlan took three years to undertake and the local area planning component, where CityPlan is taken to every neighbourhood of the City for more specific participatory planning work, will take many more to complete. The key features of the Plan include: the establishment of neighbourhood centres, or more complete communities, with greater housing variety, more shops, services and amenities; the requirement of greater citizen participation in future planning processes; the provision of community policing services in local neighbourhoods; the development of greenways and other public spaces; the preservation of industrial areas and finally, "more transit, walking, and biking, as ways to make moving people, not cars, the priority."'93 The Plan is to be implemented through its use as "an ongoing framework for decisions and budgets," for example, to influence the work schedules of City Departments, the policies of Council and the City's Capital Plans.194 (See Table 2 for a detailed timeline and description of the process.) The Associate Director of Planning, Dr. Anne McAfee, who initiated the CityPlan process, questions the traditional role of the planner as "guru of social values," which lends some insight into the rationale behind the use of a participatory planning process to create a comprehensive plan. McAfee believes that, instead, citizens themselves ought to be charged with the responsibility of making important decisions about the future of their own city.1 9 5 The role of planners, she believes, is to hold the knowledge that 'informs' the public process: they analyze trends, identify the consequences of actions and bring 'voices' to the table, without actually choosing who does and does not participate. One of the main goals of CityPlan was to ensure that 'special interest groups' did not overwhelm the process. So, individual citizens were encouraged to participate and did. According to McAfee, over 100,000 people participated between 1993 and 1 9 3 City of Vancouver. 1 9 4 City of Vancouver. 1 9 5 Anne McAfee, "When Theory Meets Practice - Citizen Participation in Planning," Plan Canada 37.3 (1997) 18-22. 75 1995.196 Criticisms of the CityPlan process have come from academics, who argue that it was nothing more than a very expensive exercise in wish-list making. They base this argument on the City's own admission that a CityPlan 'vision' "will generally not include new zoning bylaws, design specifications for community greenways, or the locations of bus stops, traffic circles or speed bumps."197 To these academics, CityPlan is not implementable by its very nature. They also argue that the figure of 100,000 participants is misleading because it counts the repeated participation of certain individuals and, most people are not interested in participating, as they are preoccupied with their day-to-day lives. The process was also criticized for using surveys that asked leading, double-barrelled questions."198 There has been no shortage of criticisms levelled against the CityPlan process. In a City-sponsored, independent evaluation of the CityPlan process conducted by Context Research Ltd. between 1996 and 1998,199 which studied participants' feelings and ideas about the process, it was found that, although the City of Vancouver ought to be commended for involving citizens in the first place and was generally very strong in this regard and getting stronger, there were certain identifiable weaknesses in the ways it involved the public, for example: the planning for the process and the setting of the mandate; the provision of adequate resources for more complicated steps in the process; the maintenance of a database of stakeholder groups; the use of technical jargon and the mixing of facts and opinions in communications; occurrences where officials, both elected and appointed, would argue with citizens' opinions in fora where they were asking for the public to give their opinions and finally, the adequate evaluation of its processes as a way of 1 9 ( 1 Anne McAfee 18-22. 1 9 7 Michael and Julie Seelig, "CityPlan: Participation or Abdication?" Plan Canada 37.3 (1997) 18-22. 1 9 8 Michael and Julie Seelig, 18-22. 1 9 9 Context Research Ltd., Public Involvement Review - Phase 2: Final Report (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1998). 76 learning from them. Context Research recommended that the City should: use "guiding principles" for each of its processes; use media "to enhance its ability to communicate on issues and to inform citizens of options for input;" and finally, shift away from involving the public on an ad hoc basis and find ways to do "long term relationship building with groups and neighbourhoods in the City. This continuity of contact and dialogue could improve the context within which public involvement occurs."201 The 1997 Transportation Plan, and the process that it came out of, was a direct spin-off of the CityPlan process. CityPlan set out the overall direction for transportation planning in the city, along with the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Liveable Region Strategic Plan. The 1997 Transportation Plan was meant to outline the steps and specific measures that would have to be taken, over a 25-year period, in order to achieve this direction. CityPlan states the goal, to "enhance the transportation system to provide a greater emphasis on transit, walking and biking within and between neighbourhood centres and downtown and make better use of the existing street system for moving people and goods."202 The public process that produced the Transportation Plan began with a Transportation Symposium in January 1996, followed by a "broad public discussion of the Transportation Choices workbook" in April and May of that year. The Draft Transportation Plan was published in September 1996, alongside of a series of public meetings intended to gather feedback on that Plan. During the early part of 1997, Council held a series of meetings to hear presentations from delegations on the Draft Plan. And finally, the Transportation Plan, except for the Downtown Transportation Plan, which has its own public process, was approved in May 199 7.203 Before the 1990s, nothing like CityPlan or the 1997 Transportation Plan that came out of it, had been tried in Vancouver. In addition to the fact that 2 0 0 Context Research Ltd. 2 0 1 Context Research Ltd. 2 0 2 City of Vancouver, Vancouver Transportation Plan (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1997). 2 0 3 City of Vancouver. 77 formal exercises in participatory planning were novel, there had not been any comprehensive planning carried out in Vancouver since the 1929 Bartholomew Plan. This plan was never officially adopted by Council, "yet left a firm mark upon the fabric of the city." The major streets network "closely resembles that outlined in the comprehensive plan."204 The role of Council was to set goals and criteria for the process. According to the architect of the planning process, Council asked themselves what a measure of success would be. Planning theory generally states that consensus is the fundamental objective of public processes, but Council said, no, that this would be impossible. So instead, they chose much more achievable goals, for example, to bring new people into the process. The two main goals of the process that the project team leader identified are: that it takes less than a year and that it involve the public in a "meaningful way."205 CityPlan was never meant to serve as a "detailed map and budget for the City. The Plan only goes as far as the three-year public process went: to create a plan to guide future planning, development, and civic decisions." It was always held that subsequent planning was required for "citizens, Council and Staff to work together to fill in the details."206 The recommendations of the Transportation Team with regard to the Transportation Plan were as follows: first, "That Council adopt the Transportation Plan, including the mode split targets which emphasize the need for increased provision and use of transit; limiting overall road capacity to the present level; maintaining an efficient goods movement network; traffic calming in neighbourhoods and providing more comfortable biking and walking environments." Second, "That Council instruct the General Manager of Engineering Services and the Director of City Plans to report back by September on a joint Engineering/Planning implementation program based 2 0 4 Graeme Wynn 128-129. 2 0 5 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 2 0 6 City of Vancouver, CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1999). 78 on action items scheduled for completion 'within 3 years'." Third, "That Council instruct the General Manager of Engineering Services and the Director of City Plans to monitor implementation of the Transportation Plan and report to Council, prior to the next Capital Plan budget preparation, on initiatives to further the Transportation Plan." Fourth, "That Council instruct staff to reference the Transportation Plan policies when reporting on transportation initiatives and the General Manager of Engineering Services and the Director of City Plans to report back, as required, with suggested amendments to the Transportation Plan to address new issues or reflect new Council Polices." And finally, motions to clarify that the City supported three new LRT lines, and that Council commended the planning team on "its achievements in working on this challenging task in a short time period, crossing departmental boundaries and involving the public in discussions." The Transportation Plan Steering Committee was meant to give direction to the Staff team on the overall study direction. The Committee was formed in response to Council's motion requesting a continuing role in the transportation planning process by providing the following: feedback on progress and key decision points; development of public information and review program to provide feedback; to ensure that the Plan reflected Council and regional policies; to review the study progress to ensure a comprehensive listing of transportation issues and the monitoring of budget and schedule progress. The Steering Committee's objective was never to make policy decisions, but to provide "guidance and support" to the process. "Normal decision making would be done by the full Council."207 Public consultation for the Downtown Transportation Plan consisted of pubic meetings, workshops and newsletters. Due to budget constraints at the time, the options of an enhanced 2 0 7 City of Vancouver, "Management Structure - Transportation Plan," Administrative Report (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1995). 79 outreach program and a random sample survey were identified, but not pursued. There was concern, though, that some interests were underrepresented. So using what funds were available at the time, a simple survey, with questions written with the help of a focus group, was used to discover if this was the case.208 City of Vancouver, "Downtown Transportation Plan Completion," Administrative Report (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 2001). 80 Table 2 . A Timeline of Events Covering the CityPlan Transportation Plan Processes Dec, 1991 Council adopts the Central Area Plan, which included a transportation policy report that laid out most of the same issues that would eventually be addressed by the 1997 Transportation Plan. June, 1992 Council approved the creation of a City Plan, and that the City Plan program "inform citizens about the issues facing the City and present Council policies and create, from their advice, a shared sense of direction for the City and its place in the Region." June, 1992-Feb, 1995 Over 20,000 people actively participate in the development of CityPlan by making submissions and attending City-sponsored events. Feb, 1995 The draft CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver is produced. This Plan sets directions to guide City decisions about services, development and budgets over the next 30 years. May 30, 1995 Council approves the preparation of a Transportation Plan as recommended in CityPlan, as well as the process for this preparation. It is recommended that a Transportation Plan Staff team be established and comprised of seconded Staff from Engineering and Planning. City Manager was requested to report back with recommendations for a management structure for the continuing role for Council in and ongoing monitoring of, the transportation planning process. June, 1995 Council adopts the draft CityPlan as a broad vision for the city and as a guide to policy decisions, corporate work priorities, budgets and capital plans, to be used by themselves and City Departments. June 13,1995 A Council-Staff steering committee is established to provide for regular reviews and guidance to the preparation of the Transportation Plan. An interdisciplinary Staff team is formed to undertake the day-to-day activities and work program of the planning process. Sept, 1995 Transportation Planning Team begins a one-year assessment of the city's long-term transportation requirements Jan, 1996 The Transportation Planning Team canvassed ideas as part of a public symposium, consisting of four public seminars at Robson Square, featuring prominent transportation experts from Vancouver and other cities May, 1996 35,000 Transportation Choices Surveys distributed, which identified 23 key transportation options June, 1996 2,500 responses to the Choices Survey indicated positive public response to the choices/proposals June 21, 1996 Staff prepare a draft Transportation Directions Plan on the basis of feedback from the public on the proposals outlined in the Choices Survey Sept, 1996 Staff carry out a pubic consultation program on the widely publicized release of the draft Plan. Program consisted of 11 public meetings in neighbourhoods across the city that attracted 230 people, as well as a number of meetings with various interest groups. Additionally, 66 written submissions were received on the draft Plan and 105 people registered to address a Special Meeting of Council on three separate evenings. City of Vanouver, CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1999); City of Vancouver, City of Vancouver Transportation Plan (Vancouver: City of Vancouver, 1997). 81 May 13, 1997 Council moves and unanimously carries a motion to approve a set of recommendations put forth by the Transportation Planning Team. May 27, 1997 Council adopts the Vancouver Transportation Plan July, 1997 Council approves the Historic Railway Alignment Options Study Oct., 1997 Council awards a contract for the undertaking of the downtown Historic Railway Alignment Options Study for $80,000 Dec. 9, 1997 Council adopts the Transportation Plan - Report Back, which identified action items for making changes to improve pedestrian environments, reclassifying low volume secondary arterials as neighbourhood collectors and initiating traffic calming on selected collector streets with less than 10,000 vehicles per day. 1998 Following a consultant study, Council endorsed a downtown streetcar plan. July, 1999 Council approves the work program and public consultation program for the Downtown Transportation Plan, which included a 19-month time schedule, five full-time Staff members from Planning and Engineering and a budget of $734,000. Nov. 2, 1999 A process for establishing priorities for traffic calming plans is established June-Sept., 2000 Downtown Transportation Plan ideas and issues canvassed through stakeholder meetings, open house and survey and distributed through a newsletter July, 2000 Council approves the contracting out of a consultant study to review the feasibility of False Creek crossing options for cyclists and pedestrians since the Downtown Transportation Plan does not specifically address bridge access to downtown Oct. 16, 2001 The life of the Downtown Transportation Staff team extended an extra month, to March 2002, at an extra cost of $76,000, to enable the completion of the plan. An extended public outreach program undertaken, including a survey of randomly selected residents, businesses and commuters, at an extra cost of $83,000. March 6, 2001 A contract for undertaking the False Creek Pedestrian and Cyclist Crossings Study is awarded to a private consultant for $70,000. The study is to be coordinated with the Downtown Transportation Planning team, to include a cost benefit and impact assessment and to require significant public participation and consultation. A task force representing specific stakeholders and City Staff is formed. Oct.-Apr., 2001 Downtown Transportation Plan components developed: distributed through a second newsletter, and discussed at workshops, meetings with stakeholder groups and open house May-Aug., 2001 Options and choices of Downtown Transportation Plan developed: distributed through a third newsletter and discussed at workshops, public committees and a series of open houses Nov., 2001 A conceptual study of major crossing option and connections for False Creek, along with a study of heritage aspects of Burrard Bridge, was completed. Sept.-Dec, 2001 A draft Downtown Transportation Plan for discussion completed: distributed through a fourth newsletter and discussed at an open house April 11, 2002 Council adopts the creation of the Silk Road, historic walking route May 16, 2002 A consulting contract for Burrard Bridge Sidewalk Capacity Improvements for Pedestrians and Cyclists is awarded for $250,000 82 Chapter IV: Interview Findings 4.1 The Potentials and Limitations to Consensus Building Two of my informants addressed the question, 'to what extent do you think that consensus should be a goal of the process?' Both of them thought that consensus should not be the goal, but one held mixed feelings. One of the two disagreed that consensus should have been a goal of the process and referred back to the initial position of Council on the matter. Council asked themselves if consensus ought to be a goal of the process and decided that this would have been impossible to achieve. It was not the expectation that people would agree with the conclusions at the end of the process; it was more important to Council that participants thought that it was a fair process. This respondent added his own opinion for why consensus is not an appropriate goal, which is the extreme difficulty in "measuring the validity of dissent." He insists, at the same time, that disagreement and controversy is a legitimate facet of decision-making.210 The respondent who held mixed feelings about whether or not consensus was an appropriate goal for the process believed that total consensus was impossible, but a certain degree of consensus was necessary. Total consensus would have been impossible in the case of the 1997 Transportation Plan, assuming that a "stark decision" had to be made; it is unlikely that the public would have agreed on all the measures of one specific plan. For him, this is due to what he believes is the impossibility of resolving conflicting social values. "There is no way of resolving insidious 'win-lose' scenarios," he says. Because public processes cannot eliminate trade-off decision-making, but can only provide a better framework for decision-makers, it is important for governments to 2 1 0 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 83 retain their ultimate decision-making power. Decision-makers must insist that "consultation is not consent" in order to retain their decision-making power, he says, because otherwise "the critics would be justified in saying, 'you consulted us, so now you're held to our word.'"2" On the other hand, this same informant points to the necessity of a certain degree of consensus based on the public's ability, in this city and others, to halt the work of a government determined to force transportation decisions on them. He used a recent example of a plan for an upgrade to a local bridge, which was developed out of the public involvement process of the False Creek Crossings Study, a component of the Downtown Transportation Plan, where a lane of traffic was going to be removed to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. During a trial run, the resultant vehicle congestion made it "impossible for the public [sic] to accept this option." For this informant, decisions that are palatable to everyone have to be made, or no decision should be made at all. This respondent adds that consensus-style decision-making could probably be more appropriately used "once tough decisions have already been made."212 4.2 The Role of Political Will Every one of my respondents addressed the question of whether politics played a role in the process. Three of those respondents thought that the process was designed in a way that helped respond to the attempts of certain groups to wield a disproportionate degree of political power. They each thought that the most effective way to do this was to have Council be closely involved in every step of the process. One of the respondents, who felt that Council needed to play a 2 1 1 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 2 1 2 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 84 stronger role, thought that it was an important way to counter the process' tendency to produce limited input, regarding meetings where only a small handful of the public are in attendance.213 One respondent held a mixed view on the matter of Council's participation. He felt that, on the one hand, that this did not adequately occur. "Council was good at setting up CityPlan and the Transportation Plan, telling the planning teams what kind of information they wanted," but they were not closely involved.214 He thought that Council chose not to get involved for the following reasons: (1) overwork; (2) they were already involved in significant ways such as reading reports and signing off at different stages; and (3) it was highly 'risky' so they wanted to step back."215 On the other hand, the same respondent also felt that council can play too strong a role in the process. He cites an example of a jurisdiction, the City of Seattle, where a "strong" mayor took full control of the process, saying 'this is what I want.' The respondent felt that this active of a role was to the detriment of the process, since the politician entirely removed the public from the equation.216 Of the three respondents who felt that the degree of Council's involvement was inadequate, all of them focussed on the problem of 'political security' or 'political risk.' The first of these respondents explains this problem in terms of the unpredictability of a public process. He says that, since the outcome of the Plan was unpredictable, it had a high risk of "failure." Since the Plan might have failed, Council wanted to retain the ability to criticize it, to disassociate themselves from its conclusion. This same respondent, the one who held mixed views on the topic of Council's involvement, felt that this was a "reasonable position for Council to take."217 The 2 . 3 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 2 . 4 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 1 5 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 1 6 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 1 7 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 85 second respondent puts it another way, claiming that a politician does not want to be associated with an unpopular decision since his or her political future depends on being able to stand behind popular ideas.218 The third respondent claims that both Staff and Council would prefer that Staff do all the planning work themselves, from the creation of the scope to the development of options and that Council prefers this approach because it minimizes "political risk." He asks, "why would a politician make a controversial decision when it would probably spell the end of their political career?" For this reason, he says, "very disagreeable" options were discarded from the Transportation Plan before the plan was even brought to the public for their input.219 Two respondents use specific examples to further explain the concept of political risk. One of them notes that, although some critics of the Plan complain that its implementation is not proceeding quickly enough, certain measures such as bike lanes, have been put into place quite easily because they had the full support of Council.220 Another respondent uses the example of the process that produced the successful Historical Railway plan. In this case, it was discovered that the Canadian Pacific Railway was about to abandon a line on the south shore of False Creek to build condominiums. Following this discovery, a constituency was built through the local news media, and a delegation of 20 people approached Council with a proposal to plan for a street car line, who agreed that this might be a good idea. Staff was then assigned to do studies over the next few months, and consulted the public for their input, all of which came back positive. Council knew that the plan was 'safe.' The subsequent Council passed the plans for the routes, using the previous Council's plans. Right of ways had already been reserved through the work of the 2 1 8 Personal Interview, 28 Nov. 2002. 2 1 9 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 2 2 0 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 86 Planning Commission. This informant insists that this was an effective case of planning because it presented a politically safe solution to Council, who could throw their full support behind it.2 2 1 The three respondents who felt that the degree of Council's involvement was inadequate also pointed to the problem of 'political will,' or a lack thereof. According to one of these people, from the very beginning of the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan, the planning team failed to have politicians onside with certain initiatives, and as a result, "Staff got ahead of where the political will was willing to go." He uses an example of bus lanes, where the Transportation Plan calls for this measure when congestion warrants it. But who is to say, he asks, that congestion does not warrant bus lanes now? He also speculates that the new Council may be more willing to make these kinds of difficult decisions, but that only time will tell. 2 2 2 The second respondent pointed to the lack of willingness to break away from traditional planning solutions, where transportation solutions, usually more roads, were being called for when land-use issues were at issue.223 And finally, the third respondent believes that the process for the Transportation Plan was set up to fail because public officials are meant to represent everyone, the 'greater good,' so they have to be prepared to say 'no' to special interest groups, but refuse to. She points to the example of the neighbourhood of South False Creek, where the Federal Government, who funded its development, insisted that there would be very few roads.224 There are differing views as to the ways and degree to which Council wielded their political will with regard to the 1997 Transportation Plan. Three informants addressed this issue. One of these informants believed that Council adequately exercised their political will, while two believed that they did not. The informant who believed that Council did exercise their political will, credits the 2 2 1 Personal Interview, 28 Nov. 2002. 2 2 2 Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 2 2 3 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 2 2 4 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 87 Councillors who presided over the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan as "quite supportive of it" and "treaded into 'politically insecure' territory, especially with the Downtown Transportation Plan. An example of this, according to this informant, occurred when representatives from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area complained about the Plan's lack of freeways. "Council told them that there will be no freeways." According to this informant, this kind of firm stand sends a clear message to Staff, who otherwise "may indeed have their own agendas."225 Of the two informants who believed that Council did not fully exercise their political wil l , one notes that, "although Council can tell the City Engineer what to do, in practice, you have the City Engineer telling Council what to do, owing to his possession of 'better information.'"2 2 6 Another informant compares the relatively weak political will of the Mayor and Councillors who presided over the 1997 Transportation Plan to Council's of the past. He points to the former Council's failure to fully utilize their policy-making resources, citing the example of the 1997 Plan's call for measures that were not in the City's jurisdiction, such as an increase in the number of buses and rapid transit, while ignoring or at least minimizing important measures that are within the City's jurisdiction, such as space allocation for bus lanes and signal priority for buses. He claims that there was a "stronger" Planning Department in the 1970s and that this Department was "highly developed and supported by Council." A subsequent Council did not share the agenda of the Planning Department and appointed a new director. In much the same way, this informant contends, "Council needs to be able to fire senior Engineers." He speculates that the then, new Council members, elected in 2001, who campaigned on a "progressive" transportation policy platform, may be more willing to make the difficult decisions that he claims the previous Council could not, giving up some 'political security' in the process, but that only time will tell . 2 2 7 2 2 5 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 2 2 6 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 2 7 Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 88 Another informant agrees the present Council may be more willing to exercise their political will than the former one, citing the example of the False Creek Crossing Plan, where a third option, removing a lane of traffic on the Burrard Street Bridge, is now possible.2 2 8 Four respondents addressed the issue of how important Council's involvement in the process is. Two of my informants believe that closely involving Council in a transportation planning process is an important way of ensuring that the resultant plan is effective. One informant believes that the process should be run independent of Council and finally, one informant held mixed feelings. Of the two informants who hold that Council's involvement is indispensable, one believes that the most important way that Council can be involved in the process is by setting parameters at its outset. He used an example where certain interest groups were pushing for a transit and pedestrian mall to be opened to cars and where Council said "it may only be opened to traffic i f there are no negative impacts on transit, which of course, there would be." 2 2 9 The other informant agrees that parameters need to be established at the very outset of the process. Otherwise, he poses by way of example, that process can lose legitimacy if, "say, Council decides that a big number of survey returns, maybe a thousand, is actually a small number." Another reason that he cites for closely involving Council throughout the process is that, if Council signs off at each step of the process, then they will more or less adhere to the final plan. With the case of the 1997 Transportation Plan, the planning team lost Council's support along the way, which is something that happens "behind closed doors, so it is hard to say exactly what happened."23" The informant who felt that the process should be run independently of Council believes that Council's role should be at the end of the process, to ensure that the implementation of the 2 2 8 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. 2 2 9 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 2 3 0 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 89 resultant plan takes place. She adds that the effectiveness of the implementation of that plan depends on how Staff presents the end result of the process to Council. 2 3 1 The informant who held mixed views on this topic of Council's involvement believes that, although it is Staff's task to run a process independent of politics, at the same time, it is not properly Staffs task to mediate the dialogue between citizens and politicians, that they should not be editing and representing, only presenting information to Council. 2 3 2 4.3 Planners and Engineers: Working Together Four of my respondents addressed the question, 'how did the collaboration between Engineers and Planners work?' Each thought that there were problems with the relationship between the two Departments. Two informants were adamant that the Engineering Department deliberately attempted to block the Plan's development or otherwise demonstrated a deliberate lack of cooperation with the Planning Department, as well as with Council. One informant believes that the lack of cooperation between the two Departments may be more of a matter of miscommunication than deliberate obstruction. And two informants who addressed the question of collaboration believed that it is important and very possible for Planners and Engineers to work together. One informant held mixed feelings on this matter. Of the informants who believe that the Engineering Department posed obstacles to the process, one claims that the City's Chief Engineer blocked certain options before the Draft Transportation Plan was ever published. He also offers a specific example of the Engineering Department's 2 3 1 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 2 3 2 Personal Interview, 11 Feb. 2003. 90 refusal to cooperate. In this case, a conflict between Planners and Engineers arose over a proposal for certain engineering improvements to a segment of road, a conflict that the General Manager of Communications had to be called in to resolve. The resultant agreement was that there would be a Council report written that would include two options. Neither the Planners nor the Engineers wanted to present it this way. The Planners sought a small compromise to the Engineer's proposal. The City Engineer responded by saying that there would be no change to the report because there was no design for it and that waiting for a design, which he claimed would take three months to prepare, would take him beyond his construction deadline. A Planner on the Transportation Plan planning team claimed that this was not true and that it could take as little as three days to prepare a design. To prove his claim, he went ahead and prepared some drawings. Subsequently, the Director of the Planning Department called in Staff to say that they had received negative feedback from Council and that what that Planner did was never to happen again. Although he does not know who was responsible for this negative feedback, this Planner claims that he was "always undercut" after this event.233 The same informant who claims that the Engineering Department posed obstacles to the process offers another example of the Engineering Department's refusal to cooperate. In August of 1996, a month before the Draft Plan was to be published, an initiative to introduce a new road classification system was put forth by the planning team. A map of the City's arterial roads had never been published before. "The Engineers were furious" and resisted the planning team's attempt to publish it at this point. According to this informant, a Planner asked the City Engineer, "shouldn't the public be able to know, like zoning?" He asks to imagine such a secretive organization that the most basic piece of information relation to its work is kept secret. The proposal for introducing the new road classification system included designations for regional 2 3 3 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 91 roads instead of arterials. "The City Engineer said that this change would cause too much trouble and the Director of Planning at the time went along with him - a sign of gutless leadership - and said that it must be taken out. And it was never to appear again." At the same time, TransLink, the new regional transportation authority, was being established and the Province was downloading its responsibility for roads to this new organization. The Regional Engineers Technical Advisory Committee met during the summer, while the Transportation Plan's planning team was on holiday, mapped out and agreed upon new road designations with no public process. The City Engineer went on to adopt a plan for Regional roads, the same idea he fought against. The regional road network was to receive Regional funding. Vancouver had never before received money for roads from the Region or Province. What this meant was that the more Regional roads there were, the more money the City would receive, but with a whole list of conditions, like not being able to reduce capacity, or install pedestrian controlled signals without the Region's approval. There was to be Regional jurisdiction over Regional roads. None of this information ever got to Council.234 Another of the informants who believes that the 'technocratic approach' posed obstacles to the process uses an example of a plan for a rapid bus network developed by the provincial transit authority in a 'top-down' process. The transit authority presented a plan to Council, "who were unaware where it was coming from" in a political sense. All Council knew was that there was a need to improve the transit link between Vancouver and one of its major suburbs, Richmond and that studies had suggested that it be a LRT rail link down the 'Cambie Corridor,' but not necessarily Cambie Street. The transit authority's plan was for buses to use curb lanes on Granville Street 12 hours per day. As was predicted, "every commercial operator on Granville Street 'screamed bloody murder.'" The transit authority had plans to do this on 13 streets, plans 2 3 4 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 92 that "never saw the light of day because the public wouldn't stand for it." The city is complex, this informant reasons "and there are other interests. To rape the urban fabric to move people from point A to point B is not the only priority of the city; there are cars, businesses, shopping amenities, pedestrians, the environment and right to quiet enjoyment." The City held about six public hearings on the matter of the rapid bus network, each attended by about 400 people, "screaming, insulting, compassionately pleading." According to this informant, the transit authority attempted to force their plans through with "misinformation." The public did not have access to all or good information and even Council could not get all of the information it wanted. They also tried to push their plans through with "disinformation, where BC Transit did apple/orange comparison studies that backed up their plan - they were jigging the figures to fit their conclusions."235 The informant who emphasises the role of miscommunication, or a total lack of communication, in the problem of the uncooperative relationship between Planners and Engineers illustrates his view by way of example. The problem occurred while the Downtown Transportation Plan planning team was meeting with local residents to plan for the future of a busy shopping street in a high-density residential neighbourhood. At the same time, the Engineering Department was about to commence work on completely replacing the street to work on a waterline without making any changes to its design. This informant acknowledges that there was a perception that this was an attempt by the Engineering Department to undermine the public process, but insists that neither the Planners nor the Engineers knew that the other was preparing plans for the street. The Engineering Department is very large, he explains, with four Divisions. The Waterworks and Sewers Division, who did the work, evidently did not know that the Downtown Transportation Plan planning team were working with the public to prepare a plan for the street. The planning 2 3 5 Personal Interview, 28 Nov. 2002. 93 team, made up of both Engineers and Planners, all found out about the Engineering Department's work because someone from the Streets Division decided that they should be notified. This notification provided the planning team with two days of notice before the work was to commence. The Sewers Division had been planning this work for weeks and wanted to schedule it to end before the tourist season was to commence. The City Engineer could have stopped his Staff, my informant admits, but the Downtown Transportation Plan planning team would have had to provide a very good reason for making any changes. Not having finished their planning work yet, the planning team could not present the City Engineer with any alternative design plans. "Believe it or not, there was no malicious intent here," my informant insists. Since then, and perhaps because of this event, he adds, there is a new process to ensure greater communication between Departments and their various Divisions.236 Of the three informants who believe that it is important and possible for Planners and Engineers to work together, one claims that, in recent years, it has become less difficult for Planners and Engineers to work together, that there have been important moves to bring the different disciplines together and that they are closer now than they were before 1997. Engineers now have a much more 'sustainable' focus, and less of a bias towards the automobile. The Engineering Department is hiring people with better communications and public relations skills. The whole attitude is changing. The 1997 Transportation Plan was very forward looking, and set a very progressive direction. But at the end of the day, it is the attitude and skills of Staff that will change things. He adds that there is a natural process of attrition at work that facilitates this change in attitude: every seven years, approximately half of the Engineering Staff are replaced with younger, more 'progressive' members. 2 3 7 Still, this informant does not completely ignore the obstacles to collaboration between Engineers and Planners. "There was a huge gap between where the planning team was and where the transportation Engineers were, where the latter are used to 2 3 6 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. 2 3 7 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 94 controlling everything." He recommends that more planners and landscape architects be employed in transportation engineering and points out that the Engineering Department already does employ a landscape architect in its Greenways Division and that this kind of hiring practice could easily be expanded into other Divisions. However, he insists, "just because the traditional engineering approach did not work, transportation planning shouldn't be moved to Planning." The second informant who believes that it is important and possible for Planners and Engineers to work together claims that Councillors can play an important role in that collaboration. According to this person, there were two particularly "helpful" Councillors who presided over the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan. One of these Councillors in particular would ask that reports coming out of meetings be joint Planning-Engineering reports. "This was extremely helpful to Planning Staff, who might have otherwise been left out of report writing, because once a report is written, signed off by each Department and presented to Council, it's done." So, this informant explains, if the Planning Department gets a report a few days before it is to go to Council, it has no opportunity for any effective input. He adds, "the Engineering Department will withhold reports for sign-off and then complain that they can't work under the conditions created when the Planning Department wants to hold off on making their input."238 The third informant agrees with the importance of Council's ability to require jointly written reports and adds to the benefit of joint reports the fact that, since they have to be signed off by both departments, Council does not know who developed which option, decreasing the chance of bias toward the Engineering Department.239 The third informant cites one example that occurred within the larger case of the 1997 Transportation Plan where Engineers and Planners successfully collaborated. The example is that of Vancouver's Silk Road, "a safe, marked, interesting, working pedestrian commuter route, 2 3 8 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 3 9 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. 95 connecting the shopping districts of Robson Street and Chinatown, successfully combining a broad mix of existing situations." Both the Engineering and Planning Departments had a hand in planning and implementing the walking route. This informant speculates that Engineers and Planners may be able to successfully collaborate on plans for improvements to a major thoroughfare, Pacific Boulevard, part of the Downtown Transportation Plan. For him, cooperation between Engineers and Planners occurs despite deep-seated obstacles posed by the differences in their bureaucratic traditions. These differences, for him, are based on "a dichotomy between engineers and planners," where engineers talk in terms of finite definitions, "a book of forms, and want function to fit form." Planners on the other hand, "feel inferior to engineers, who work with 'hard' numbers, not theories, which are 'soft.'" For him, planners look at the psychological factors of the public. And planners will get "knocked out" if there is a conflict. For this informant, collaboration between Planners and Engineers could be based on the theory of 'pattern language' of the architect, Christopher Alexander, transposed to exterior situations. The theory ties together numbers with personal preferences and behaviour.240 The informant who held mixed feelings about Engineers and Planners working together changed his view as the process unfolded. Before the process began, he felt that Engineers need to be involved and participate in the same way that other stakeholder groups should. As the process began, he came to share the view of Council, who had come to the conclusion that, "if you want something different, you go to different people," where it was Engineers who had traditionally done the work of transportation planning. After seeing what this informant refers to as "the disastrous outcome of the engineering approach to transportation planning," Council asked themselves, "why do we have to have buy-in from Engineering when we're the one's making the decisions?" Citing the refusal of the Engineering Department to give up their control of 2 4 0 Personal Interview, 28 Nov. 2002. 96 transportation planning, this informant asked, "why don't we confront these people?" He believed that if the Engineers were not involved, the planning team might end up with a less detailed plan, yet subsequently with more effective implementation due to the lack of bureaucratic roadblocks Engineers tend to pose. In retrospect, he now realizes that there would have been less of a plan, and still no implementation. Regardless, he says, where he used to take for granted that you have to have buy-in from the Engineering Department, he is not so sure anymore. He now believes that the concept of buy-in is overrated. "Just because Engineers participate does not mean that they are going to buy into the process. They might participate, but they might try to destroy the process, too." Still, he identifies the necessity of "breaking down the walls and working together. If you want a paradigm shift, then you have to break out of the status quo."241 4.4 Forms of Representation Four of my respondents addressed the question, 'to what extent do you think the participants in the process should have been representative of the larger population?' Three of them thought that representation was an important way of levelling the relations between different interest groups in order to create a more equitable ground for negotiation, but one believed that representation was not an appropriate goal of the process. This informant acknowledges all of the competing social values at play and that "particular interests will trump others," yet does not advocate representation as a solution to this problem. He characterizes the entire process as being "adversarial" and explains, "special interest groups will articulate their goals and persuade Council, eroding the power base of the people who elected them, turning the process into a struggle of extremes." Yet, representation is not the appropriate means of resolving this conflict 2 4 1 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 97 for him. Instead, he says that the best way around this problem is to employ a process that helps build a "middle ground." He says that politicians appreciate that participants are not representative of the general 'public interest' and that participation can help to provide a framework to go forward on, "to let you know what you should be concerned about." For him, most people do not participate because "they want the government to do their job and keep out of their lives."242 Therefore, he is against the idea of new systems of representation replacing the traditional decision-making process and the work of the traditional decision-makers. Of the informants who thought that representation was an important way of levelling the relations between different interest groups, one cites an example of how this is not happening under the present system. According to this informant, there is an unacknowledged power bias of certain Business Improvement Areas over that of residents, where the control of the pedestrian realm and the privatization of public space is at issue.243 This informant cites the example of when, during the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan, the General Manager of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area, who also chaired the Downtown Vancouver Association's Transit Sub-Committee, met with the head of the City's parking body and decided that the city needs freeways, or at least high-speed arterials, contrary to what they had heard in CityPlan, the Region's Liveable Region Plan and Council's policy of giving pedestrians the highest priority in transportation planning. They made a presentation to Council "and Council told them to get lost."244 Three informants note as examples of uneven 'playing fields' occur within the previously discussed power struggle within the City's bureaucracy itself, over the competition for resources Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 98 between different Departments, with the Engineering Department, and the Transportation Division in particular, usually winning this competition.245 Two informants claim that many interest groups will be critical of the process because they did not perceive its outcome as being favourable to them, or satisfy their particular interests. Furthermore, these participants will tend to try and dominate the process to the exclusion of other participants and interested citizens and therefore, it ought to be the responsibility of elected representatives to try and represent the public interest. One of these informants argues that, on the one hand, certain groups and individuals will "make a fuss" and influence the process and on the other, many people will participate "and nothing will happen." Therefore, since every neighbourhood and interest group obviously cannot "get what they want," she argues, it ought to be the responsibility of elected officials to represent the "big picture."246 The other informant warns that the "singular collective" - the public - is often a small group of people "who go to a lot of meetings and drive out detractors by wearing them down at these meetings." Furthermore, he adds, these same participants are more likely to respond to surveys and polls and therefore, such methods of representation are "an abrogation" of Council's decision-making responsibility.247 One informant argues that partisan politics can interfere with Council's responsibility to represent the public interest. He claims that Council consciously employs a "divide and conquer" style of public process. "They meet independently with special interest groups - business associations, individual business stakeholders, established community groups and environmental groups - and not too many individuals." This informant finds it appalling that, during the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan, the City Engineer attended meetings of the Downtown Vancouver 2 4 5 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002; Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002; Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 2 4 6 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 2 4 7 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 99 Association (DVA), "an old boys network" and that a senior Planner and Engineer attended meetings of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area (DVBIA), "an offspring and close relative of the DVA" and the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and not meetings of smaller, grass roots community organizations. The DVA and DVBIA, he says, is composed of representatives from parking and development corporations that share the mandate of supplying transportation and parking facilities for automobiles. For him, this demonstrates that certain, automobile-oriented groups wield too much of an influence over the process. However, he claims, to Council's credit, that the process for the Transportation Plan brought out a lot more individuals than usual. Still, he worries that the Council who presided over the process for the 1997 Transportation Plan was aligned with the business community. This informant sees Council's challenge as being one of bringing together interest groups and individuals as representative bodies to dialogue around the issues and to develop a better understanding of the different perspectives that are inherent in the urban transportation realm.248 If one thing can be concluded from these interviews, it's that equal representation is an ideal that is aspired to, but very difficult to realize. 4.5 Opportunities for Social Learning Five of my respondents addressed the question 'were there ample opportunities for social learning in the process?' Each of those informants thought that it is important to develop social capital as a means to create opportunities for social learning and that there were indeed opportunities for the development of social capital in the Transportation Plan's planning process. One such informant claims that, overall, the planning team attempted to incorporate education into the Plan's planning process: they laid out the facts, gathered input, put together options, did more education, gathered 2 4 8 Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 100 additional feedback, et cetera. They did this by holding public meetings to gather feedback and producing four newsletters to provide information and outline options. At the workshops at Robson Square, experts and community leaders were brought in for panel discussions, after which the participants would break into small groups for discussions that were then used to inform options. According to this informant, "the workshops worked well: there were a lot of people in attendance, as well as the press. Summaries of the experts' knowledge were put into newsletters to inform others who could not attend." The same informant credits the popular downtown public venue of Robson Square for helping to increase the level of public participation.249 Another informant claimed that, in Vancouver, "people used to be more informed" because there was a planning office dedicated to doing public outreach with local communities. For this informant, this was a way for the public to not only be brought into the process to discuss "big issues," but to have the ongoing opportunity to learn and be educated about planning problems. The informant adds that such an ongoing process of involvement helps to overcome the obstacles inherent in more adversarial planning models of public hearings, which are more reactive to specific "issues of change," rather than anticipatory of them. "The City has to look at its overall mission statement and find ways to convince the citizenry to get onside. Then, if you're going to make a change, at least you have got some people who know what you are talking about."250 This informant recommends establishing roving planning workshops on issues such as density, with one night scheduled for each local area and using existing neighbourhood community centres. "You could have Engineers talk about the benefits of reduced car use. It would be like night school on urban sustainability."251 The same informant applauds the False Creek pedestrian and Personal interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 0 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. ' Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 101 cycling planning process, part of the 1997 Transportation Plan, for containing a good education component.252 Another of the informants who felt that social learning was an important part of the process talked about the social capital that can be developed within the City's bureaucracy, particularly the Planning and Engineering Departments, as a way for the Departments to learn about each other's work. He saw evidence of such a process of social learning at work in certain situations. "The Engineers approached the negotiation that led from the Draft to the Final Plan with open minds, asking to have things explained to them because they honestly didn't understand sometimes."253 Two of the informants who thought that social learning was an important part of the process and would agree that the City attempted to include opportunities for it to take place, felt that it did not work as well as it could have. One of these informants notes that, in the case of the DTTP, social learning did not occur within the general public, but attempts were made to bring different groups together to engage in social learning. However, the facilitation of social learning between acutely adversarial groups was not successful. According to this informant, "sometimes opposing groups were brought together, but that didn't work." Since many interest groups were interested in the plan, individual consultations were done with them instead.254 The other informant identified the traditional public meetings, "where usually the same four or five people would show up to some high school," as being failures as exercises in social learning.255 Two of the informants who discussed the matter of social learning with me indicated that there is a role for the media to play in such a process. According to one of these informants, getting the 2 5 2 Personal Interview, 25 Nov. 2002. 2 5 3 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 5 4 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. 2 5 5 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 102 public "onside" and including them in the dialogue of the planning process requires a "savvy" use of the media. For example, it is good to know someone in the media in order to receive sufficient press coverage.256 The other informant who commented on this matter focussed on what can happen if the media is not harnessed properly, in which case, "the media can be the worst enemy of a public process." An example that this informant gave me relates to the Transportation Plan and occurred around a proposal to levy a vehicle tax to help pay for transit improvements. The board of TransLink identified its priorities and some funding options and came to an agreement on the option of the vehicle levy. Then, "the media blows you out of the water as soon as the cameras are turned on, turning the whole thing into a damage control process."257 The board pushed the proposal through anyway, only to have it overturned by the provincial government, which according to this informant, was probably a vote-winning measure. The informant holds that "these things turn into raw political fights through the media and emotional public meetings."258 4.6 Plan Implementation and the Level of Detail Only one respondent addressed the question, 'was the implementation of the plan taken into account when planning for the process?' He noted that, although the Transportation Plan was the first ever transportation plan to be adopted as official policy, Council did not approve the Plan as an official community plan (OCP). He explained that this is due to the fact that the Vancouver Charter - a unique piece of provincial legislation under which the City governs itself - exempts Vancouver from the requirement under the Municipal 2 5 6 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 2 5 7 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 2 5 8 Personal Interview, 3 Dec. 2002. 103 Act - the legislation that governs every other municipality in the province - of municipalities to develop, adopt, and be legally bound to an OCP. "Council can change its policy at any time; whereas, an OCP is very difficult to change," he says. For him, the fact that an OCP is difficult to amend is both "good and bad," because "amending them takes unimaginable public process, even for small land-use matters." Because of this fact, according to this informant, "often, municipalities end up doing their OCPs in ways that do not really say anything. Instead, in Vancouver, we say exactly what we want, but can change our minds loosely and freely."259 Three of my respondents addressed the question, 'does the degree of detail in the plan play a role in the process?' Al l of those three thought that the question of detail was an important one to consider when designing the Transportation Plan's planning process, but differed in their opinions as to the merits of doing general versus specific, or detailed area planning. One informant claims that the reason that "there was an incredible consensus on the principles of the Transportation Plan" was because the process set out very broad "and some would say vague," terms of reference. The same informant, at the same time, recognizes the weakness of the technique, where the generality of the plan makes it difficult to implement. He uses the example of the City's policy of placing pedestrians as their highest priority in transportation planning. "To 'put pedestrians first' is not specific enough to base action on. It's more complicated than that - what about Knight Street, what about trucking? It's very hard to do both."260 The same informant recognizes that, although, as he claims, "the question of detail was constantly debated" during the design phase of the planning process for the Transportation Plan, there is no 2 5 9 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. 2 6 0 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 104 easy answer to the problem of how detailed the planning should be and when. He describes the City's public planning processes as tending to move from the general to the specific and claims that this approach has a major shortcoming: what happens when a decision is made at the citywide level, taken to the neighbourhood level for implementation and rejected? Which decision is more legitimate? According to this informant, there is no answer to this question. "Why should the next level be bound by the level above it? And if you can't pass a general decision down to the local level, why have a top level?"261 At the same time, this same informant defends the use of the generic scale of planning in the Transportation Plan. The process for the Transportation Plan was modelled on CityPlan's, he explains. The process that CityPlan, instead of being detailed, "was reduced to very broad principles." This informant defends this approach against critics who contend that such broad plans are too vague to be easily implemented. "Assuming that local people need to be making local decisions on local issues," he argues, "it was consciously decided that the general public should be involved in planning, but only make broad 'visions.' If detail were to have run that process, it never would have gotten done."262 And he adds that this vagueness was remedied in the part of the process where CityPlan was taken to local neighbourhoods to add a level of detail, which now includes the Transportation Plan context.263 Another informant argues that a high level of detail is necessary at the local level and especially so in certain areas such as the highly dense, complex geography of the Downtown area of Vancouver. During the process leading up to the creation of the DDTP, he saw that "local people have a very detailed knowledge of every nook and cranny of the area." He agrees that there needs to be a 2 6 1 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 6 2 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 2 6 3 Personal Interview, 2 Dec. 2002. 105 general plan done at the citywide level, but with more detail at certain areas like Kingsway and Knight Street, but adds that the most difficult challenge is deciding how to involve the appropriate people in that detailed planning.264 According to this informant, the DDTP came out of the dissatisfaction that Downtown stakeholders had with the original Downtown plan that had been included in the Draft Transportation Plan. The Planners and Engineers, he says, began their work in "a naive fashion, unaware of decades-old transportation controversies in the Downtown." After local residents and businesspeople rejected the original Downtown Plan, the City recommended that a DTTP be finished in three years, with a six year implementation schedule and that it be much more detailed than the citywide Transportation Plan.2 6 5 Another informant points out one of the problems associated with doing detailed planning for the Transportation Plan, where the process begins with "a very conservative and restrictive frame of reference."266 He contrasts the process for the planning of the citywide Transportation Plan, which "encouraged a creative, long-term, comprehensive view of things," with the detailed planning for the DTTP, "which was restrictive and bogged down in specifics."267 Despite the restrictions inherent to detailed planning, this informant noted that the strength of this approach is that the DTTP produced very specific recommendations, for example: "due to the fact that the planning team went so far as to measure particular streets for bike lanes. During the Transportation Plan's process, they simply asked, 'Do you want bike lanes?' or even more vaguely, 'What measures do you want for cyclists?'"268 Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. Personal Interview, 17 Dec. 2002. Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 106 4.8 Impact A ssessments Only two of my respondents addressed the question, 'did impact assessments occur as part of the planning process for the Transportation Plan?' One informant identified the challenge of incorporating "trade-off assessments" as being "key in the crafting of good public processes."269 For this reason, says this informant, it is not good practice to utilize simple polls that ask one-dimensional questions to the citizenry. Instead, the public needs to be engaged in discussions of the trade-offs that exist within every issue, such as "being stuck in traffic."270 According to another informant, the City tends to "promise high-cost options that would offend no one, like a Sky Train tunnelled down Cambie Street."271 This informant argues that the process for the Transportation Plan and the Plan itself, could have been better supported by "more quantitative checks and balances," such as economic, social, and environmental impact assessments, in order to determine "if the things it was promising were really achievable."272 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. 0 Personal Interview, 11 Jan. 2003. ' Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 2 Personal Interview, 13 Feb. 2003. 107 C H A P T E R V: Conclusion, Implications for Planning, and Questions for Further Research 5.1 Introduction This Chapter contains a the conclusion of this thesis: a summary of findings, its implications for planning thought and practice, and general lessons and speculations that are meant to contribute to the literature on participation in transportation planning, or at least to serve as a starting point for such research. The summary of findings and implications are derived from the categories that were repeatedly identified by the informants of the exploration of the case study. And considering that many of the categories identified by my informants correlate with the categories identified in the literature, much of this conclusion deals with, when applicable, incorporating the findings gathered through my informants with the theoretical analyses and prescriptions outlined in the literature. The prescriptions that fall within the categories identified in the literature are: first, the democratic management of complexity; second, social learning; third, setting norms of procedural justice; and fourth, establishing cooperative partnerships. However, beyond the incorporated categories, there are a handful of additional categories identified in the case study that require further study. As identified by my informants, these categories are: first, the potentials and limitations of consensus building as a tool for making a shift to a sustainable transportation system; second, the role of political will in making such a shift; third, the difficulty and necessity of planners and transportation engineers working together; fourth, the various roles of representation; fifth, social learning; sixth the degree of detail required to render a transportation plan 'implementable;' and seventh, impact assessments. The existence 108 of these 'other categories' seems to prove, as well, that the participatory transportation planning field poses a particular set of problems, and therefore, requires a specific set of prescriptions for dealing with these problems. 5.2 The Potentials and Limitations to Consensus Building Not even its critics can disagree that the design of the process that produced the '97 Transportation Plan lent itself to more meaningful and effective involvement of the public than had ever taken place before. The two strongest, most important, and promising aspects of this process included: large, well-facilitated public workshops organized to attract and excite the interest of a lot of people and he formation of a multi-disciplinary planning team headed by a 'progressive' Engineer. However, weakness in the process were even identified by the City Planner who organized the process, as well as by its 'critics.' These weaknesses include: decisions regarding who to involve and how to involve them being made too late - decisions that should have been made before the onset of involvement, and then throughout the entire process; a lack of consistency and continuity in the planning group, especially through the implementation phase, preventing the outcomes of the process from being both quantified and measured; and lastly, certain special interest groups and the bureaucracy tending to dominate the process, most significantly, members of the City's own Engineering Department. To identify the limitations to consensus building is not to say that trying to forge a middle ground or a win-win solution is not advisable or possible. In fact, it is necessary for decisions to be balanced. Because if too many people disagree, that decision will be forcefully, and probably 109 successfully, opposed. But if a stark decision has to be made, it is probably impossible for the public to agree on one specific plan of action. This inherent limitation to reaching a perfect consensus needs to be taken into account in future planning exercises. Perhaps the public would be more inclined to vote for political leaders who would dare to exercise their political will, provided that - in the end - these decisions, which may seem unpopular, proved to satisfy a 'greater good.' Although, in order to foster such an environment, exercises in social learning would have to be well designed, effective ways of demonstrating these benefits, which may be unclear to the public at first glance. It is possible that consensus-building techniques might be better utilized once Council has already taken the initiative to act on tough decisions, as a way of fine-tuning and mitigating against the worst impacts of Council's decisions; yet, many in the public might feel manipulated as a result, since their role 'after the fact' is less active. As it is often stated in the literature, more important than reaching consensus is that the public feel they are involved in a fair process, a process that remains representative and, in essence, democratic. Forming a win-win scenario between various interest groups is a very important ideal to maintain. And striking that balance between strong, maybe unpopular, decisions by Council, and satisfying 'the public' is key. As a former Councillor suggests, the process turns into a 'struggle of extremes,' and the only way to prevent this is to try to build a 'middle ground.' But identifying who these opposing groups are is not as simple in transportation planning as it might be in other arenas. It may be commonly accepted that the power of special interest groups needs to be balanced against other groups and the general public. But what is less commonly discussed in the literature is the fact that the bureaucracy, and certain elements within the bureaucracy - namely the Engineering Department - wield an inordinate amount of power within transportation planning processes. So there also needs to be a 'middle ground' built into the planning bureaucracy itself. 110 The matter of representation in transportation planning is of a paradoxical nature. It is assumed that, like the larger consensus building process that it is a part of, representation is both necessary and impossible. Although there is no question that greater representation would most probably improve the quality of decisions, it is practically impossible, both because of the weaknesses of existing forms of representation, and because of the existence of certain 'special interest' groups who tend to dominate public fora, and governmental bureaucracies. New systems and institutions of representation need to be put in place, and old ones refined. While those who design surveys need to be vigilant to avoid bias by using representative sampling techniques and well-designed questionnaires, surveys are insufficient if they are the only way the public is able to participate, as they do not allow for face-to-face or dynamic interactions between participants. Following from this logic, what is important is to recognize the strengths and deficiencies of the present systems and institutions of representation, where there needs to be new representative bodies to encourage a balanced cross-section of participation - not an easy task, but a crucial one to consider. And in considering how such a feat will be accomplished, it will be important to bear in mind that certain members of the public will best be served by simply keeping abreast of how and why certain decisions are being arrived at, while others will wish to participated much more closely in the process through which these decisions are made. While Council members may themselves be subject to bias or hidden agendas, they still remain the elected representatives of the public and, are thus, ought to be closely involved in the transportation planning processes. It seems that closer involvement by Council would probably ensure a greater likelihood of planning decisions being implemented. There are two forms that this involvement can take: first, they can serve as members of steering committees, or second, they can serve as the heads of various civic departments, as is the case in Portland, Oregon. Either way, the closer the involvement of council, from the very outset of and all throughout the process, 111 the more ownership and responsibility they will feel within the process. A heightened sense of accountability will help motivate them to make more informed and proactive decisions. However, because Council members are aware that bad decisions will lead to their demise, they will be in a position that forces them to consider the solutions that will ultimately please their constituents. This tendency of politicians to care more about their personal political security than about the 'greater good' needs to be better balanced out. At the same time, the closer involvement of Council is also necessary to make the process more steady and predictable. Currently, City Council's need to engage in electoral, partisan politics is preventing them from being able to properly represent 'the bigger picture,' the long-term need to improve the public's quality of life. One way to ensure that Council make more informed decisions would be to create a decision-making framework that establishes permanent neighbourhood, or roaming, planning centres and neighbourhood councils. By remaining more closely attuned to the public that they represent, in all its variety and complexity, the Council will not only be engaged in a more 'hands-on' style of representation, but they will also be in a position where they can utilize the 'local knowledge' of those living within each neighbourhood to inform their own decisions, and not just rely on the pressure of traditionally powerful special interest groups, lobbyists, and City Engineers. Surveys and Polls are very commonly used tools, yet highly suspect techniques of representation. More care needs to be taken in survey design in order to eliminate the use of double-barrelled and loaded questions if these are to be used as tools of representing the public interest. In addition to surveys and polls, to physically bring special interest groups together, as well as encouraging more of the general public to participate in the process, needs to take place. This more intense form of involvement was unfortunately absent, excepting a couple of fairly insignificant examples within 112 the DTTP's process. Forming official citizen watchdog groups would also be a good idea. Both interest groups and interested members of the general public could be brought together as members of representative bodies, advisory or oversight committees, and in ways that level the playing field between them, if such meetings were well-facilitated. This would be a good way of putting to use all of the concern and special knowledge that these groups, and the public itself, possess and would build a greater consistency and continuity to the process, provided that participants demonstrate a willingness to act with respect, commitment to the process, et cetera. It seems that the most important way to ensure that transportation plans are implemented is through constant and systematic evaluation and reassessment of a very detailed implementation plan. What this means to the bureaucracy is that each civic department and departmental division needs to make certain that their work schedules and budgets 'fit' within the plan, that they help to forward its goals and act upon its decisions in its everyday work. And Council, in developing its capital plans, needs to do the same. A good way of carrying out such a continuous evaluation in Vancouver's case would have been to leave the multidisciplinary planning team together as a coordinating and oversight body that could also help to align budgets and work schedules of different Departments with the implementation plan. 5.3 The Role of Political Will No matter how well process are designed, there are going to be instances where consensus building will always be insufficient, where it will not lead to complete agreement, and where Councillors will need to exercise their power to make the ultimate decision. In an interesting twist, to become more effective, it seems as if the focus of participatory transportation planning 113 could stand to move away from perfect consensus building and back towards Council's necessary exercising of its decision-making powers, which would require a great deal of 'political will' on their parts. This is not to say that Council should not use the process to help identify the varying interests of different groups, they should not in fact strive to build mutually acceptable decisions; but at times, when this ideal is not possible, they must be prepared to be steadfast. Council cannot be afraid to be involved in, and stand behind, the decision making process every step of the way. One way to better ensure Council's buy-in to the process is to have them sign-off on the parameters of the process at its outset. For a council to make a strong decision, for those public officials to represent everyone, the 'greater good,' they have to be prepared to make decisions that will draw considerable opposition from certain groups. In other words, they have to be prepared to defend their decisions in the face of adversity in order to educate the citizenry on why and how certain decisions are made, whether that is through social learning fora, or even the media. In making the shift to a sustainable transportation system, it seems as if actions that would result in such significant social change might only lead from a transportation planning process if Council is involved in a way that allows it to safely exercise its political will, instead of leaving City Planners and Engineers to wonder what options might be agreeable to Council, which dramatically reduces the kind of creative and potentially positive impacts that significant and major changes might bring to bear. There obviously needs to be a strong link between the process and politicians, especially in an ongoing, long-term strategic transportation planning process. But what ends up happening instead is, Staff are put in charge of 'sensing' what Council will accept. This task presents a challenge to the conventional thinking on how decisions ought to be made: to what extent should staff attempt to present options that may or may not strike a compromise between different positions, and to what extent should the decisions be left entirely for politicians to decide? Since 114 an objective stance is difficult to maintain, even simply presenting information may influence the debate. One of my informants, who asserts that politicians know that 'participants' are not representative of the general 'public interest,' expresses a related view, that public participation can help to provide a framework to go forward on, "to let you know what you should be concerned about." For him, most people do not participate, he says, because "they want the government to do their jobs and keep out of their lives," and therefore, representation ought not to be a goal of the process. At first glace, this does not seem like an acceptable solution, since buy-in from the public is needed to ensure the success of the process. Perhaps this is a more realistic and practical goal of a process - to provide a basic framework to go forward on. But then, that leaves Council with the political responsibility of showing leadership in 'representing the public interest.' This leadership is something, however, that was not present in the case study of the 1997 Transportation Plan. Instead, Council chose to 'step back' to ensure that the process was not 'polluted' by their personal agendas. So not only were most 'communities of interest' not directly represented, but Council did not seem to promote any of their specific causes, excepting maybe the DVBIA, it seems. Instead, City Engineers are left to promote the singular goal they have always advanced -maximizing the flow of auto traffic. It is important to have a broad policy context within which to fit local decisions. In Vancouver's case, there is already a hierarchy of policy contexts in which it develops its plans, from international agreements, to national laws and provincial legislation, to regional policies and local bylaws. But if we look closely at this context, there seems to be important gaps in our knowledge. For example, is it good or bad that there is no legislation forcing the city to develop and abide by an Official Community Plan? Further research needs to look at these kinds of questions relating to 115 planning and the law. Another criticism of the Transportation Plan, in terms of this 'context view,' is that it needs to be periodically updated, given specific changes in the broad policy framework within which it is couched. For example, TransLink, the regional transit authority, did not even exist when the Transportation Plan was developed. Also, the Transportation Plan needs to be evaluated against the goals of those policies that it is based upon. For example, the Liveable Region Strategic Plan had very 'progressive' targets for a modal split Downtown, as one informant noted; the implementation of the Transportation Plan has brought us nowhere near those targets, though. "We are at double the targeted modal split Downtown!" cries this independent transportation expert. This is a way, perhaps, for Council to justify exercising its political will -by referring back to the law. 5.4 Planners and Engineers: Working Together What is interesting in the case of Vancouver's 1997 Transportation Plan and is not discussed in the literature, is that it was a rather deep-seated, historical power struggle between Council and its Engineering Department, at least in part, that provided the impetus to run the planning process differently. There is a culture of secrecy that exists within the Engineering Department, as well as examples of the Department manipulating information to suit their goals. Or as one participant and critic of the process puts it, "information is presented to Council in ways that ensure Engineering Staff get what they want." If the solution to the problem of doing participatory planning requires shifting decision-making power from politicians to bureaucrats, it is important to identify the opportunities and constraints involved in this shift. The most important obstacle to City Staff guiding the transportation 116 planning process is the Engineering Department's tendency to dominate the process and to determine its outcome. The question must be addressed: in the process, are engineers participants, masters, or a technical resource?' If they are going to participate along with everyone else, and if planners and engineers are going to be able to work together, then the walls between them need to be broken down. There are a few measures that can be taken to aid in this collaboration: calling for joint report writing between the Planning and Engineering Departments in order to give planners more of a say in transportation planning, reports that would have to be signed-off on by heads of both Departments; forming permanent multi-disciplinary planning teams; making engineering information public; improving communication between the two Departments, or even amalgamating the two since closer proximity would build camaraderie and understanding; developing interdisciplinary education curricula within the academy; and finally, hiring 'sustainable' engineers, or conversely, firing 'wrcsustainable' engineers. What is possible obviously depends on the political will of City Council, and the willingness of the public to support their final decisions. But it also depends on the information that Staff presents Council with. This leaves planners, and especially engineers, with an inordinate amount of discretion, in terms of the freedom they are given in the kinds of information that they can focus on and use to support particular options. Ideally, the effectiveness of any plan requires that the Engineering Department be ordered to implement the appropriate improvements outlined in an action plan, instead of being delayed or impeded by the Department. Since the power of the Engineering Department needs to be reduced, change can occur in two ways: first, that the relationship between the planners and the engineers be reconciled, or second, if reconciliation is not mandated, the budgets for road work will be reduced and shifted to more 'sustainable' transportation improvements. Here, the hope is that since Engineers will not want to reduce their operating budgets, they will be determined to adopt more 'proactive' solutions. More recently, 117 there have been promising discussions between Planners and Engineers, in terms of potential collaborations. But no 'quick' remedy to this problem will occur until more systematic collaboration and social learning occurs between these two groups. 5.5 The Various Roles of Representation / Opportunities for Social Learning The opinions held by participants in a planning process should be based on solid information and common knowledge. Perhaps the most appropriate alternative to the traditional, adversarial model for participation in transportation planning would be development planning processes based on a 'social learning' model. Such an approach is already being tested by the City as a way to develop the information and knowledge of the citizenry. In Vancouver's case, social learning needs to occur not only among the citizenry, and between the citizenry and the bureaucracy, but also within the bureaucracy itself, between Planners and Engineers. A few important lessons can be drawn from Vancouver's experiments in social learning. The careful use of high-profile experts and mass media are two very important ways of drawing a larger audience into the process of social learning. As well, the very central, public venue at Robson Square attracted a lot of individual participants into the process, more than the usual venues of local high schools, which would always only attract a small handful of participants. The media can also be utilized as a powerful tool for education. In addition, 365-day a year planning offices, and/or roaming planning centres, although potentially expensive, could help to provide the an interactive fora for people to become and keep more informed. Such centres would help to educate the public on issues of sustainability so that when changes are made, at the very least, they 118 will know why. Finally, although it is very difficult to do, more effort needs to be put into bringing opposing groups together into social learning and interactive planning fora so that they can have the opportunity to learn about each other's views and collaborate on solving problems in creative ways. A matter that has been given insufficient attention in the literature is that of individual responsibility. Since the issue of sustainability is so engrained in our cultural traditions and individual behaviour, it would not be fair or reasonable to put all of the responsibility of fixing our cultural and personal problems on City Staff or Council. Changing the perceptions and roles of individuals - bringing about social change in other words - poses important challenges to anyone concerned with making the shift to a sustainable society and with making participation in transportation planning more effective and meaningful. Since obvious sacrifices will have to occur (i.e. SOV use) we need to learn about ways that the public might both participate in, and learn about the benefits of, such changes. Social learning is a well-suited approach to address such a challenge. Even when public processes are imperfect, a smart council will continue in their attempts to use them to solve difficult problems, because as a former Councillor notes, "people interested in public processes don't go away." And certainly even the staunchest critics would agree that the City of Vancouver ought to be commended for using a public process to guide its decision-making, and that City Staff deserve a lot of credit in designing an engaging process. Much improvement needs to take place, however, for these processes to be more meaningful and effective. 119 5.6 Plan Implementation / The Degree of Detail/Impact Assessment Participation comes at a cost. Or put another way, as one of my informants did, if you want to double participation, you need to double the cost of the process. In terms of the cost-effectiveness of the process that produced the '97 Transportation Plan - getting the most out of each dollar spent - it seems as if saving money might have starved the process, rendering it less effective and meaningful than it might have otherwise been. For example, an important step in the process was removed - option assessment - in the name of cost-savings, a step that would have greatly contributed toward a stronger outcome. But at the same time, simply putting more money into the process was not necessarily going to improve it. Burnout and the endless arguments will prevent strong decisions from ever being made. People may never agree, no matter how much process there is. Yet, Council inevitably has to make the final decision, and in order to do so, must be offered well-crafted and reasonable alternatives. Although, as we have learned from the case of the 1997 Transportation Plan, there needs to be sufficient resources left over after the planning process to fund technical work in support of detailed implementation planning, even if this results in less planning on the front-end of the process. The result of this tension is a difficult challenge, one that might be addressed with further research. An important feature of Vancouver's case, and something not focussed on in the literature, is the question of detail. A great deal of care needs to be taken to ensure that everything is done in the best possible order and at the most appropriate level of detail at any given step in the planning. There is a set of trade-offs involved in the choice between when broad planning and when more detailed planning is more appropriately undertaken. The assumption is that very broad decisions are easier to make, and therefore, these are best made before more specific decisions are made, which should then 'fit' under the broader choices. However, it is found that general decisions are 120 very difficult to implement. There seem to be problems bound up with both general and detailed decision-making. With general decision-making, the question remains: can the local level really be bound by decisions made at the citywide level, and if so, how? And with detailed decision-making, a very restrictive frame of reference is often imposed at the outset in order to 'control' the outcome of the process, overly limiting prospective options. A knowledgeable critic of the process points out that the low level of detail in the Transportation Plan was valid, but that it could have been supported by a better situation appraisal, with "more quantitative checks and balances to see if the things that it was promising were really achievable." This and more detailed implementation and local area planning need to take place. Effective planning for win-win outcomes greatly depend on detailed impact assessments. There are a number of factors that contribute to the difficulty of incorporating good impact assessments into transportation planning processes. The key to these difficulties is that impact, or trade-off, assessments are often bound up with 'party politics' and the personal ambitions of individual public office holders. For example, it has been noted that the City has a problem with pursuing high cost options that will offend nobody; whereas, if better impact assessments were done, these would not be popular options, since their cost, and perhaps their environmental and social impacts, would be known to all. There is a need for more quantitative 'checks and balances,' or option assessments, in order to see if certain promises are really achievable. This would seem to be one of the key changes that need to be made in order to ensure that public transportation planning processes are not simply exercises in 'wish-list' making. And due to the complex nature of such impact assessments, only using polls and surveys to do them is not an appropriate technique. In addition to these techniques, face-to-face, or collective, modelling would be a more appropriate method of involvement. In other words, the only way to undertake proper assessments is to 121 consult a cross-section of experts and representatives of various communities of interest, some of whom should be completely independent of the project, in order to determine a realistic consensus. 122 Conclusion While the importance of public participation in planning has long since been established, studied and most significantly, applied through practice, public participation in transportation planning as a discreet subject matter is relatively new. Since volumes of literature regarding public participation in planning is available, is it safe to assume that this literature can be applied to other, similar fields, such as transportation planning? There are a number of instances where existing literature regarding participation in planning, its general theories and subsequent prescriptions can be successfully applied to cases of public participation in transportation planning (i.e. the democratic management of complexity, the importance of social learning, setting norms of procedural justice, and establishing cooperative partnerships). However, there are also a number of issues, unique to transportation planning, that prove problematic. In specific reference to the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan, many aspects within the available literature prove to be not only relevant, but invaluable tools in better understanding and relating to the role of public participation in transportation planning. Yet, despite the strengths that can be brought to bear with the application of this literature, there are a number of distinct problems and limitations that arise in the transportation realm, such as: the role of political will in the long-term planning horizons entailed by long-term transportation planning within the deeply-engrained car culture of North America; the innate limitations to consensus building in scenarios where win-win situation are not possible; the difficulty of cooperation between planners and engineers; the question of which degree of detail to bring to highly technical matters of transportation planning; and, defining the roles of the public in a highly complex, highly technical planning field. What this reveals is that, while the available literature can be beneficial 123 when used as a basic framework, transportation planning also requires an independent set of goals and practices, stressing the need for there to be a more effective model for incorporating public participation in this field. In order to ensure that future models of public participation in transportation planning are improved upon, there must be a commitment to ongoing research, theoretical and empirical, qualitative and quantitative study of this subject. My hope is that this thesis establishes a frame of reference that can be used to stimulate such a commitment. As a starting point, it is imperative that public participation not be, as Sherry Arnstein states, an empty, "ritualized add-on" to the transportation planning processes, but an in intrinsic, meaningful, and effective part of those processes. The acknowledgment that the public ought to be involved in transportation planning is the first step, long since recognized in the transportation planning arena, but where do we proceed i f our desire is to make such involvement meaningful and effective? Arnstein's framework, her 'Ladder of Participation,' is likely a very useful tool to determine how 'participatory' a given planning process is, but there are important questions that arise if we consider applying it to the transportation planning realm. The most significant of these questions is whether or not, given transportation planning's technical and detail oriented nature, it is at all possible to involve representative groups - outside of engineers, agency planners, and elected officials - who can effectively wield full decision-making power. Would such groups, and not the traditional power-holders, be responsible for decision-making? It is unclear how this shift in decision-making power from planner to citizen would occur in the transportation realm, where it is not planners who have traditionally done the planning work, but engineers. Engineers have had such a large hand in transportation planning because changes to the system require massive physical changes to the environment. But the shift to a sustainable transportation system will also require social changes within the citizenry. Agency planners must understand that the work of engineers is indispensable in making any kinds of improvements to the transportation 124 environment, but that they need to wrestle a certain amount of power away from those same engineers to ensure that changes are not done to serve goals foreign to the task of making such a shift to a sustainable society. The challenge to transportation planning practitioners wishing to develop techniques for participation in planning is how to develop a successful model for transportation planning that renders such processes more meaningful and effective. This task hinges on planning's most basic component, the matter of information: where information is derived from and how it is shared. Information ought to be developed from the bottom up, with a collaboration between the public, planners and engineers. Obviously, in keeping with the democratic spirit of participatory planning, information should be freely available to all participants and made comprehensible if it is of a technical nature. Also, measures must be put in place that mitigate against the tendency, traditionally, for data to be manipulated in ways that present a certain, biased version of reality, and for survey questions to be framed in ways that elicit a particular response. One method for dealing with the way that information is shared is to ensure that the information presented to the public, the planners and the engineers be screened by independent bodies similar to the advisory groups established by Translink for its Area Transit Planning processes. Also, by establishing independent 'watchdog' committees, the 'purity' of such information will be preserved so as to avoid bias, misinformation and other distortions that may find their way into the process. Another measure for making participation in transportation planning more meaningful is to derive information from and disseminate information with participants in a forum of social learning, so as to contribute to the understanding and knowledge of all participants. Here, social learning can be understood as a sharing of concerns, local knowledge, and even as a sort of collective impact assessment of different policy options. Or a more extensive version of this method could involve 125 doing social, environmental, and economic impact assessments as key steps in a collective modelling of different future scenarios. It is important that social learning have the following characteristics: that it be face-to-face, interactive, and constructive. These features distinguish a collaborative or 'communicative' style of public involvement from earlier forms, which were usually characterized by the always adversarial and often futile nature of public protest. It is also important to provide a forum that will attract a cross-section of the public - as opposed to only special interest groups and community activists - as well as to encourage their involvement throughout the entire planning process. This is not to say that special interest groups, or 'communities of interest,' and independent transportation experts could not be better involved in the process. Their input, rather than being perceived as an irritant to traditional decision-makers, could be more highly valued and put to effective use. The result of an informed and proactive public is that the impact of biased media, political agendas, self interest groups and bureaucracy will be lessened to an extent where careful scrutiny and open dialogue will inform decision-making. The ideal is to create a representative body whose delegates share equal footing, where despite differing areas of expertise, each participant group will be able to provide informed, well thought out ideas, and deliberate participation. Making participatory transportation planning more effective also requires a better understanding of the inputs and outputs of planning. Planning inputs include: the motivation to plan, a plan for the planning process, as well as the incorporation of participants feelings and ideas. Planning outputs include: participants' feelings and ideas, an action plan, and action itself. It seems that the key input to a truly effective planning process, however, is a systematic plan for the planning, which is a plan for who is going to do the planning and how. This is also when it is decided how participants are going to be involved in an effective process, as opposed to being involved in a ritualized 'wish-list' making exercise. Participants' feelings and ideas, as an input, are fully 126 utilized, and as an output, participants are left with a good feeling of the process, and have learned something from it. All of this will lead to the formation of an operational implementation plan, which in turn, should more surely lead to action, without resistance or protest, as all participants have felt their input was valued and put to good use, or at the very least, can appreciate how a given decision was arrived at. At this first step, as well as the others discussed, it is also important to have cooperative participation between and within the public, the politicians, planners, and engineers. Considering that the planning of the plan itself may be the most crucial aspect of the entire planning process, that the ultimate success or failure of the entire process hinges upon it, it is important to seek wide input on how the planning process should be designed, or at the very least, to make this design as transparent and well-reasoned as possible. Broad representation must be built into the process, as well as opportunities for the right people to make the best possible decisions together. The challenges involved in making participatory transportation planning more meaningful and effective have serious implications for the role of planners, politicians, engineers, and the public, implications that will likely require the nature of those roles to change. First of all, there is a need to incorporate public involvement into the very work of government, as opposed a mere add-on, with traditional decision-makers - namely engineers, business interests, and politicians - doing their work as they always have. Secondly, there is a need to broaden our understanding of what official planners do and who planners are, since certain members of the public, engineers, and elected officials all often act as planners, too. In order to ensure greater equity and understanding in relationships, there is also a need to fuse advocacy with the facilitation of cooperative planning and social learning. In other words, traditionally underrepresented groups need to be better represented in an improved process. As well, there is a need to shift the balance of the decision-making power from engineers towards planners and citizens, without at the same time, taking 127 away the ultimate decision-making powers of elected officials. In other words, the entire process needs to be based on a model that better distributes representation between these four groups. While the goal of representation is to allow for a broad spectrum of people and interests to have a significant voice in the process and an impact on its outcome, this ideal will prove to be a very complex and challenging task, one that will require substantial and continued future research and study. The Vancouver Transportation Plan is one of the only available 'real world' cases where public participation was integrated into a comprehensive transportation planning process, and this thesis only hints at the many implications for planners and future research into the subject. There is need for on-going, in-depth evaluations of this and other processes, evaluations that chart the goals of the plan and its proposed timing compared to what goals have since been realized, in what timeframe and, perhaps most importantly, what has not been accomplished, and if it ever will be, and why or why not. This way, we can learn, in specific detail, what has worked, what has not, and why, or better yet, how. Furthermore, efforts must be made to establish future studies that compare and contrast the Vancouver Transportation Plan against other, similar planning efforts. Surely, more examples of transportation plans that incorporate the public will arise, and once they are documented, they too will provide us with more cases available to study. Faced with these challenges, planning theorists have taken stock of the obstacles that will commonly be encountered when more meaningful and effective participatory transportation planning exercises are attempted, obstacles such as: the assumption that the lone planner can identify the 'public interest;' the assumption that the lone planner ought to have the power to frame problems and identify the relevancy and usefulness of information in the first place; adversarial negotiation styles; the taken-for-granted-ness of information and realities formed out 128 of non-participatory processes; doing social planning in a corporate, or 'bottom-line,' style; the refusal of governments to redistribute its decision-making powers; the refusal or inability of certain groups to participate; the deterioration of 'social capital;' and finally, 'distortions of communication.' While the Vancouver Transportation Plan was special in that it attempted to integrate the public into the process, as well as to develop a transportation planning process that was not only aware of many of the inherent obstacles, but was committed to finding ways around these obstacles, it seems as if it was not entirely successful. Regardless of good intentions, many of the obstacles proved difficult to remove from the process, perhaps because of the inherent and unavoidable nature of these obstacles within transportation planning processes, or perhaps because opportunities to overcome these obstacles were not adequately seized. As one informant reported, the Vancouver City Engineer chose to attend meetings held by the DVA and, along with a senior Planner, also attended meetings of the DVBIA and the Chamber of Commerce, but not any smaller, local community meetings. If the obstacles within the process prove to be unavoidable, it may prove beneficial to focus on what did work within the process and to expand upon the successes of the Vancouver Transportation Plan, instead of dwelling on its shortcomings. For example, the success exemplified by the large public turnouts at Robson Square, as well as the encouraging reports of instances where both Planners and Engineers worked together, cooperatively and effectively. Many of the same planning theorists who have identified these obstacles recognize that grappling with the threat such obstacles pose may be unavoidable. Despite the difficulty of avoiding these constraints, there are a number of theoretical prescriptions for overcoming them, and for capturing opportunities for realizing the goals of public involvement: dealing with complexity in a democratic manner; developing the capacity of people to do social learning and plan together; setting norms of'procedural justice;' establishing cooperative partnerships; establishing ongoing 129 fora for participatory planning; forming representative bodies and finally, developing 'watchdog' organizations. While some might argue that these prescriptions are overly idealistic, many of the concepts - if fully committed to - can prove to be invaluable assets in helping to develop improved processes. If it is accepted that the prescriptions may not entirely remove obstacles within the process, the application of these prescriptions will undoubtedly lead towards improvements within a system of planning that is in need of reform. The most significant and novel of these prescriptions may be the formation of independent 'watchdog' organizations, who, if properly informed, could be given the authority to administer ongoing evaluations of the process and the obstacles to its success. The goal of this kind of public policing of the process is that all parties involved in the process will be held accountable for their decisions and thus forced to, not only be conscious of obstacles, which may or may not be avoidable, but also, to consider more effective solutions to overcoming them. Many of these prescriptions and much of the literature reviewed for this thesis was not developed specifically for the transportation field, but for public participation in planning more generally. While the literature falls under two schools - democratic and neo-technocratic - upon studying Vancouver's case, it becomes apparent that slotting the approaches to participation in planning into these two categories is somewhat over-simplistic. The theory needs to better address the complex relationship between issues of democracy and technology. Within the process, Engineers made obvious attempts to hold on to the disproportionate amount of power that they have traditionally held. Methods that they employed were: overwhelming Council and the public with detailed technical information, the obfuscation of information that should have been made available, and through the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation. Furthermore, over the years, the Engineers have appeared to miss opportunities to resolve conflict between drivers and other transportation users. It must be assumed that there are prospects for 'win-win' 130 scenarios, where transportation improvements can be made mutually beneficial for all road users and to some sort of collective good. While certain trade-offs are sometimes inevitable, there is the possibility that 'win-win' solutions do exist, and in order for them to be investigated, the balance of power should be distributed so that Engineers cannot simply dismiss alternative ideas and solutions. Perhaps, the key to this redistribution is to shift the view of engineers as masters of the process to its servants, without discounting their important contributions to the resolution of technical problems. It also seems clear that urban governments, while employing the best possible involvement techniques, may need to more fully exercise their own responsibility to represent the 'greater good,' and implement measures that may not please the traditional clients of transportation planning, automobile drivers. It is possible that 'win-win' solutions within this process may not be recognized as such until after the plan has been implemented and long-term effects can be assessed. On the other hand, there is the risk that practitioners of this type of decision-making might be accused of being non-representative - a move that might endanger the democratic ideals of, and run contrary to, the concept of public participation. While the relationship of Engineers to this process requires realignment, one also has to consider that in order for stronger decisions to be made by those governing the process, the political system itself might also need to be adjusted. Since Council members are threatened by variables such as political insecurity and, in particular, how their temporary status is overshadowed by the relative permanence of Engineers, they are not positioned within the system to establish and follow through on long-term strategies, where the Engineers are. Perhaps establishing a permanent, independent liaison/advisory group that could act as a bridge between the two systems, the democratic and the technical, is one possible solution to this problem. Such a body could take a form similar to the Vancouver Planning Commission, but operate with the high degree of strength that the Commission operated with in the earliest years of the city's planning. This shift in the role 131 of engineers might be taken one step further by developing methods to reform academic and even post-secondary education curricula, so as to integrate engineering programs with other fields relating to transportation planning. Not only would this multi-disciplinary approach foster a cooperative environment, it might possibly eliminate the autonomous, and at times, adversarial reputation of Engineers. A significant aspect to such a study would have to include an assessment of the inherent differences between the training of both planners and engineers, and how it relates to their respective methods of executing their duties. When considering solutions for providing a more successful model for participation in transportation planning, there are a vast number of variables to be considered, perhaps too many to ever be properly addressed. Although, by using pre-existing literature based on public participation in planning as a basis, we are provided with a general framework, even if the specificity and technical nature of transportation planning prevents us from being able to seamlessly integrate this literature. The City of Vancouver's CityPlan's efforts to take the planning to local neighbourhoods, and more specifically, the Transportation Plan of the downtown core are a perfect example of how putting theory into practice reveals what theoretical aspects prove applicable, and also, how it reveals the problems and limitations that may arise. In the end, credit must be given to the City of Vancouver, its Planners and Engineers, who sought to develop a process that attempted to bridge the divide between the theocratic and democratic camps of planning, which, despite its shortcomings, provides us with a rare example of a case study in public participation in transportation planning. The 1997 Transportation Plan gives us a glimpse of how public participation planning theory can be helpful, but more importantly, where it breaks down, what its limitations are, and most importantly, where it should be built upon. 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