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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Regional Planning

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Elizabeth Brabec

Second Advisor

Mark Hamin

Third Advisor

John Mullin

Fourth Advisor

Amilcar Shabazz

Subject Categories

Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Public participation has become highly relevant in the practice of urban and regional planning, as well as within a number of planning-related disciplines. A broad body of research has been developed on how to more effectively involve the public in a participatory planning process, and recent decades have seen the rapid development of a wide range of methods for doing so. This proliferation of various participation methods presents a number of organizational challenges that may hinder the practitioner’s ability to select participatory methods effectively. In order to better understand these challenges, this dissertation explores the history of how planning literature has addressed participatory practice, highlighting publication of participation-focused articles as exemplified by two major planning journals from their inception. We then analyze categorization schemes for participatory methods, highlighting five different ways that categorization for methods has been approached: level-, objective-, method-, stage-, and participant-based schemes. Finally, we explore the development of an integrated, comprehensive and hierarchical scheme for organizing participatory practices that can serve as decision-making support for planners and other professionals. By examining the past, present and potential future evolution of participatory planning methods, as well as the articulation between participatory theory and practice, this research aims to lay the initial groundwork for strengthening the relationship between participatory research and practical application, and more broadly, to understand how participatory programs can be planned more effectively to create more effective and representative plans and policies.