We don't like the word "manipulated", and not often we feel like we are. But the closest example is in the house where you live. Room position, sunlight, what kind of appliances. I guess that someone else made the decision to you, which you adapt to. Or outside the house; were is the path for pedestrians, the busstop etc. Is it good? Maybe you would like to have a bridge over the road to walk on, or some benches at your favorite spot. People that live into it, should know it better than some outsider? If you are not "homeblind", then it can be good with consultation.
For example when citizens were asked about what they do other than work and being home, the answer is "walking", if we put all people who have a dog into this, it's even more clear; we want to be outside. Green spots are as worthful as buildings.
People who live there should have a say, right?
How to be a more "powerful citizen"?
When Ulrich Nitsch talkes about environmental problems and what to do to make an improvement, he divide the problems into two groups; if they are simple, visible, specific, immediate, cheap, can be applied by individuals and have individual benefit it is good to use mass media, data bases or providing facts. But if they are complex, hidden, diffuse, distant, slow-emerging, when the effect are delayed, costly, difficult, long-term, and have collective benefit they should be solved by consultaion, by education or in a process with a facilitatior in a collaborate decision making.
He also means that environmental problems faced by society are now becoming ever more complex. Working with environmental communication demands increasing competence in personal communication in form of consultation, education and process facilitation.
That is also, because how we see the world (i.e have our surroundings) so should we live. We can't take the bus if there is no busline, we can't recycle if it's to complex or we don't understand the diversity of species in a rainforest if we can't even see the diversity of species in our own park/forest/garden/or should we say our surroundings..
In picture, Arnsteins ladder, steps from manipulation to citizen control.
Two nice examples when the citizens build their own neighbourhood (meaning taking the decisions) were in Tübingen and in Freiburg. If Älvstranden in Göteborg is a good example is to see.
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