|M.Sc Student||Tali Vishnia-Shabtai|
|Subject||Adviser to Public Participation in Planning Role|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Professor Plaut Pnina|
|Professor Emeritus Churchman Arza|
Recently, there is a growing awareness in Israel for the need to carry out public participation expressed by a demand to add an adviser for public participation as part of the planning team in plans initiated by the planning authorities. This study investigates the role of such an adviser. We examined the views of different representatives of the authorities, planning professionals, and the public, with regard to the need for an adviser for public participation and his or her suggested occupation characteristics. The research database includes 76 structured interviews with people who were involved in public participation processes.
The literature and the study's results define the adviser's job as being able to lead processes of public participation within urban-social planning in the local municipality. Several practices can be drawn from this definition: planning the process of participation and leading it from start to end; establishing procedures to enable public involvement in each of the planning stages; and establishing the connection between the municipality's resources and the community.
The research results suggest most of the respondents see the adviser as a person working from within the municipality, involved in all plans at all levels. This person should be appointed by the municipality's representatives in the stage of "pre-plan". His or her proposed working place should be an independent office. The adviser should be neutral, loyal to his profession and to the job he performs. The adviser's education should be interdisciplinary and should include the fields of urban planning and social work. His or her most important skills address mainly the advising and less the planning aspects. It is recommended to assemble a unique training program for the job, as part of a specialization in the framework of academic studying in urban planning and in social work.
Differences among the three groups interviewed were found with relation to the following aspects: the need of an adviser; explanation as to why an adviser is needed; the adviser's job in the municipality; by whom will the adviser be appointed; the adviser's commitment; the adviser's work place; the difficulties in integrating the adviser's job; and by whom will the adviser's work be evaluated.