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Public participation in heritage redevelopment projects

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The conservation of heritage resources in the built environment is challenging. Heritage redevelopment
projects (HRP) often have many stakeholders with lots of different interests. Involvement of local citizens
and local communities, also known as ‘the public’, is essential for the long-term success of a HRP and as a
consequence also for the long-term conservation of heritage resources.
It is difficult to implement public participation successfully. Badly-organized public participation can lead
to more citizen resistance and a decrease of public support, resulting in project delay or even the
shutdown of a HRP. This research aims to enhance public participation in HRPs.
A literature study and a multiple-case study have been used to create a list of critical success factors for
public participation. The Fuzzy Delphi Method (FDM) has been used to determine which of the listed
factors do also apply to HRPs. Furthermore, the FDM has been used to identify how important the five
most important factors are on each level of public participation (1 – informing, 2 – consultation, 3 –
advice, 4 – collaboration, 5 – citizen initiative).
Based on the research, a heritage participation matrix has been developed. The matrix provides a
checklist for HRPs that can be used to assess the quality of planned public participation. The matrix can
also be used to assess what level of public participation fits the project best. Although the matrix does not
provide a guarantee for successful public participation in HRPs, the use of the matrix can reduce the risk
of citizen resistance, the risk of the loss of public support, or a project shutdown.

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