|Ph.D Student||Banna-Jeries Enaya|
|Subject||Implementation of Procedural Justice in Planning|
Decision Making Process
Case Study: Arab Townships
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Arza Churchman|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Public participation in the planning decision making process has recently become central to the public and professional planning discourse. The Israeli Planning and Building Law requires public participation in the stages of dissemination of the plan, and the submission of objections to it. Participation currently implemented in other stages in the process of preparing and approving the plan is subject to general guidelines of the decision makers in the various planning agencies.
Current planning theories promote progressive approaches to public participation based on various kinds of democracy, raising several questions regarding the current participation process in Israel. These refer to their mode of implementation, complexity, ability to address sociocultural aspects and enable fair processes that take local aspects into account and lead to general consensus.
This study examines a sample of local master plans for Arab communities, all initiated by the Ministry of Interior’s Planning Administration.
Three spheres are combined: public participation, procedural justice and local contextual characteristics of the Palestinian Arab population in Israel. Assessing current processes from this interrelated perspective has required us to develop contextualized procedural justice rules. This has been informed by the six rules currently available in the literature and led to the development of two additional ones. In addition, we have developed detailed indicators for each of the eight tools and particular reference to the local context. The final product of this theoretical development consists of eight rules which have grounded our empirical study: Consistency, Accuracy, Bias Suppression, Correctability, Representativeness, Ethicality, Power and Balance, and finally, the External Involvement Rule.
Our findings refer to two main aspects:
First, the degree to which each procedural justice rule has been implemented in various means throughout the entire process of planning stages. This variation indicates that process fairness was not maintained throughout the Master Plan’s preparation. In general, in the first planning stage - data collection - the rules are implemented to a higher degree than in subsequent stages.
Second, this variation was affected by various factors. The planners’ status and involvement, and particularly the public participation consultant played a key role, as did the empowerment of local ranks with professional knowledge and their resulting contribution to a more balanced and just process.
The study’s findings show that despite some investment in public participation processes, the planning processes have failed in significantly implementing the procedural justice rules. The study’s main contribution lies in suggesting the possibility of balancing the balance of powers in the process by empowering the local officials with tools to facilitate involvement in the professional discourse and communicate local needs and demands.
Consequently, we recommend that current public participation policies be materially revised in three aspects: implementing ongoing and consistent procedural justice processes monitored by professional referents; empowering professionals able to lead the implementation processes; and providing new contents designed to promote fair processes that take the local context into account, give it voice, and address it together with all the parties to the decision making process.