The Role of Citizen Participation in the Establishment of National Parks in Austria

Alexander Dorić

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The main question of this thesis concerns position and importance of citizen participation in planning of nature conservation areas. The formulated research question consists of two parts. The first part asks after impacts of changes of planning and nature conservation with regard to the importance of citizen participation in planning of nature conservation areas. The second part is directed towards the impacts of citizen participation on planning of na-tional parks in Austria. The work at hand encompasses both a study of the theoretical foun-dations of planning and nature conservation and an examination of their practical relevance at the example of Austria. In this context, five cast studies are introduced of which three concern the establishment of national parks in Austria and two the application of specific participative methods. This thesis draws in each of the outlined areas on a particular underlying concept. The area of planning is characterised by HUDSON’s (1979) concept of five planning traditions. The area of participation employs ARNSTEIN’s (1971) concept of eight different categories, rendered in a scheme called “A ladder to citizen participation”. The area of nature conservation draws on WEIXLBAUMER’s (1998) distinctions of an interactionistic and a transactionistic paradigm and of classic static and modern dynamic nature conservation. The examination of the theoretical foundations of planning deals with the underlying paradigmatic orientation and the factors which caused a change from one paradigm to the other. The mentioned five planning tradi-tions are discussed and related to the respective paradigms. Participation is, first of all, dis-cussed at the example of Arnstein’s scheme. Subsequently, its practical application in form of participative methods is examined at various examples. The theoretical foundations and the practical relevance of nature conservation are studied on basis of the above mentioned con-cepts of Weixlbaumer. The examination of planning and nature conservation in Austria sets forth the typical course and its characteristics, scrutinizes existing instruments of planning, describes the relation between both participation and planning and between participation and planners, and dis-cusses the importance of acceptance of a nature conservation project on the part of the local population. The thesis at hand concludes that participation is an integral part of planning of nature conservation areas in Austria. However, the case studies indicate several shortcom-ings which cause an application of participative means with different weighting and success. An overall analysis of the situation implies that the understanding of the importance of par-ticipative methods is growing, a circumstance which is additionally supported by the increas-ing importance of the concept of sustainability.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2004
VejlederePeder Winkel Agger