The Intermediating Role of Municipal Urban Planners in Online Discussions with Citizens

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Sjöblom , J & Niitamo , A 2020 , ' The Intermediating Role of Municipal Urban Planners in Online Discussions with Citizens ' , Planning Theory & Practice , vol. 21 , no. 5 , pp. 710-726 . https://doi.org/10.1080/14649357.2020.1844282

Title: The Intermediating Role of Municipal Urban Planners in Online Discussions with Citizens
Author: Sjöblom, Jonas; Niitamo, Annaliina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Academic Disciplines of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Date: 2020-12-14
Language: eng
Number of pages: 17
Belongs to series: Planning Theory & Practice
ISSN: 1464-9357
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/324663
Abstract: We examine how urban planners in Helsinki work as intermediaries to “balance power” between actively participating citizens and more marginalised groups – citizens who do not traditionally participate – in online discussions about urban planning. We study the tensions planners experience while interacting with citizens in online environments, especially on social media. Using a questionnaire and interviews, we report on tensions between planners’ perceptions of active vs. passive roles in social media, equal vs. equitable opportunities to participate, and sides in the debate over allocation of resources. The study shows that engaging marginalised groups requires offline interventionist strategies.
Subject: 518 Media and communications
519 Social and economic geography
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