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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Some determinants of public participation in a municipal planning process : Vancouver’s "Ready or Not!" Project MacKinnon, Rosslyn Bell (Roz)


Vancouver City Council has undertaken a project on aging titled ‘READY OR NOT!”. The intention is to provide the city with a community-developed strategic plan on urban aging and to provide a model for subsequent work on social development issues, including how to elicit public participation. In an effort to broaden public participation, on the topic of our aging population, city-wide workshops were held in twenty-two neighbourhoods and ethnic communities in April, 1992. Drawing on the assumption that public participation is a desirable aspect of government, this research establishes a participant profile and identifies some determinants of participation. Questionnaires were sent out to a random sample of 150 participants of the workshops. The response rate resulted in a sample of 66. Research included a survey and a focus group, generating descriptive statistics, process, and content data. As well interviews were undertaken to broaden the information covered. The information that emerged from this research is that participants tended to be of higher educational, occupational and social status. Overall, they had high feelings of personal and community efficacy. An attachment to neighbourhood was evident. As well as a commitment to volunteer causes. These findings are reflective of the current literature on participation. A deviation from the literature is the fact that the respondents were overwhelming of the female gender. The percentage breakdown was 71.21% female and 28.79% male. The utility of this research is that by better understanding who participates and the determinants of public participation, social workers can educate and support individuals, groups, and communities to seek empowerment through participation. As individuals, professionals and members of our own neighbourhoods we can also impress upon government the need for public participation in planning that affects the quality of life of all.

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