UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Consensus-based processes for local and regional planning Hill, Jennifer Ann


Consensus processes hold considerable potential for application in local and regional planning. Focusing primarily on the Capital Regional District of British Columbia, this thesis aims to understand the obstacles to using consensus processes in local and regional government; to deterrnine the kinds of planning tasks suited to consensus processes; and to identify actions needed to support their increased use. Nineteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 participants in a qualitative approach to data collection. A first order concept analysis was carried out on the transcribed texts, followed by a search for categories and groupings of concepts. Data analysis was furthered structured through the use of an analytical framework that defined a series of questions to apply to the research data. Key findings include: there is a wide variation in the level of understanding of consensus and consensus processes among respondents; assessing a situation for its suitability to consensus is a critical step in achieving a consensus outcome; it is important to distinguish between locally-situated plarmingrelated conflicts and broader community planning activities; ways to support the increased use of consensus include political leadership, education and training, and policy and program development. A framework that outlines criteria for assessing consensus suitability is developed as a tool for planners, elected and government officials. Recommendations include the development of a nation-wide network of plarming professionals, academics and poUticians who are interested in exploring and promoting the use of consensus in local and regional government.

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