Between Consultation and Collaboration: Self-Reported Objectives for 25 Web-Based Geoparticipation Projects in Urban Planning

Ian Babelon, Jiří Pánek*, Enzo Falco, Reinout Kleinhans, James Charlton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Web-based participatory mapping technologies are being increasingly harnessed by local governments to crowdsource local knowledge and engage the public in urban planning policies as a means of increasing the transparency and legitimacy of planning processes and decisions. We refer to these technologies as “geoparticipation”. Current innovations are outpacing research into the use of geoparticipation in participatory planning practices. To address this knowledge gap, this paper investigates the objectives of web-based geoparticipation and uses empirical evidence from online survey responses related to 25 urban planning projects in nine countries across three continents (Europe, North America, and Australia). The survey adopts the objectives of the Spectrum for Public Participation that range from information empowerment, with each category specifying promises about how public input is expected to influence decision-making (IAP2, 2018). Our findings show that geoparticipation can leverage a ‘middle-ground’ of citizen participation by facilitating involvement alongside consultation and/or collaboration. This paper constitutes a pilot study as a step toward more robust and replicable empirical studies for cross-country comparisons. Empowerment (or citizen control) is not yet a normative goal or outcome for web-based geoparticipation. Our evidence also suggests that information is pursued alongside other objectives for citizen participation, and therefore functions not as a “low-hanging fruit” as portrayed in the literature, but rather as a core component of higher intensities of participation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number783
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021


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