PPGIS: Literature Review and Framework, Sieber (2006)

Sieber’s article establishes the historical context for PPGIS, and explores a framework for evaluation based on themes found throughout the PPGIS literature. It’s an interesting point that the term “participation” itself suggests the need for some intermediary. If PPGIS is to be viewed as a decision making tool, I would imagine that the typical role of the intermediary is to facilitate the relationship between stakeholders and decision makers, perhaps by way of technical GIS expertise. When stakeholders are empowered by a “bottom-up process,” or their own decision-making power or technical expertise, does a PPGIS framework still hold? Is the ambiguity a problematic feature of PPGIS, or is it that it should be differentiated from PPGIS in some way?


I was really struck by the discussion about public participation as a “ladder of increasing involvement and influence in public policymaking.” Admittedly–maybe unsurprisingly as an MSE student–I’ve always accepted the idea that ascending the ladder of stakeholder engagement is the ultimate goal. Evidently, I suppose it’s important to consider the ways in which community control are realized. In the era of the geospatial web, it’s conceivable that community control through PPGIS would likely require some technical ability on behalf of the community members, perhaps access to the internet or a personal computer. Of course, challenges to the framework arise if the ability to meet these requirements varies between individuals. It’s clear one of the most critical aspects of the public participation GIS framework is the consideration for differential ability to participate among the public.

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