How Local Participation in National Planning Creates New Development Opportunities

Februar 2013

This study looks into the role of participation in influencing the adaptation of national policies to generate local economic development opportunities. The main question put forward is: What are the preconditions for creating new local development opportunities in a national state’s government planning process? The subject of the study is a planning process for the designation of a national park in the southwestern part of Norway. The analysis looks into three factors from the perspective of power: the mobilization and power base development of local stakeholders, the planning authority’s intention and structure for participation and change, and how conflicts are handled in the dialogue arenas. The conclusion with respect to regional innovation literature is that local stakeholders could make a difference by articulating both power over and power with and that conflicts may be useful if the planning authority takes the participants’ claims seriously by showing compromise or allowing integration of interests. From such preconditions new local economic opportunities could be created by collaboration.