Participants and non-participants of place-based groups: An assessment of attitudes and implications for public participation in water resource management

Kelli Larson, Denise Lach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Policy-makers and public participation analysts face the question of who should be involved in environmental decision-making. Participants are often representatives of organized groups who share similar demographic and other characteristics. This raises concerns about the degree to which the interests and opinions of others are represented. The research presented here investigates the nature and degree of differences in environmental attitudes, specifically those toward water resource management efforts, among people who do and do not participate in place-based groups in metropolitan Portland, Oregon. Neighborhood associations and a watershed council were the focus of this research due to their involvement in land-use planning and resource activities. Thirty-four individual attitudinal judgments were evaluated, along with four indices representing attitudes toward resource protection goals, government, regulations, and economic measures. Survey findings revealed watershed council participants were more supportive of resource protection compared to others on all attitudinal dimensions except anthropocentric goals. In contrast, neighborhood association participants are relatively representative of non-participants except for heightened support for economic strategies. Participants in both groups exhibited higher socioeconomic status than non-participants. Written survey comments highlighted the perceived value of on-the-ground projects incorporating local input and feedback while interviews provided insights on how to expand participation in place-based groups and resource protection efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-830
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

Keywords

  • Environmental attitudes
  • Natural resource planning
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Public participation
  • Representative democracy
  • Watershed councils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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