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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Participation in Policy and Planning (PGGE11016)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow to engage the public and other stakeholders in decision-making is a key issue for sustainability and environmental management, both in the prevention of conflict by participatory planning or the resolution of conflict via mediation. Participation in Policy and Planning (PPP) presents and analyses theories and concepts relevant to participatory approaches to contemporary environmental planning and policy issues, using a variety of applied case studies and professional experience from visiting speakers.

Students also critically analyse participation challenges based on presentations from invited speakers and their own case study material.
This course enables students to explore and develop key transferable skills, including:
social research methods;
reflective practice;
Course description Each week, the course is split into three parts:
Introductory lectures: Lectures cover the basic theory and provide a framework for applying and evaluating effective participation in decision making and conflict analysis.
Learning from experience: Speakers from external organisations/groups are invited to present their professional experience and views on the extent to which participation can balance different interests.
Group discussion and self-reflection: The class is split into small cohorts and required to engage in discussion (online or face to face, as appropriate) related to key readings and other material (e.g. podcasts/videos). There is also the opportunity for self-reflection on what students learn about their own professional practice as they move through the course.

Weekly lectures and readings cover:
1) Introduction to the course
2) Conflict
3) Values
4) Power
5) Representation
6) Engaging the public in policymaking
7) Engaging the public in planning
8) Designing participatory processes
9) Community action

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThere is a cap of 5 on the number of non School of GeoSciences students, please contact the Student Experience Team ( for available space prior to registering for this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have in-depth theoretical and applied knowledge of participation in environmental decision-making.
  2. Develop applied understanding and practical experience of ways in which information and communication can be used to achieve more effective participation in environmental planning and policy processes.
  3. Analyse critically the role of beliefs, interests, power, lobbying and political initiatives in participatory processes related to the environment.
  4. Develop transferable skills, including: facilitation, communication, interviewing, qualitative data analysis, reflective practice, mediation, leadership, negotiation and professional practice.
Reading List
Indicative reading list:
Acland, A. (2008). Dialogue by Design. A handbook of public and stakeholder engagement. Surrey: Dialogue by Design. Available online: [last accessed August 2014].
Assadourian, E. (2008) Engaging communities for a sustainable world. Chapter 11 in State of the World: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy, The WorldWatch Institute, 25th Anniversary Edition. Available online: [last accessed August 2014].
Braun, K. & Schultz, S. (2010) " ... a certain amount of engineering involved": Constructing the public in participatory governance arrangements. Public Understanding of Science 19(4): 403-419.
Carter, C. (2006). Environmental Governance: The Power and Pitfalls of Participatory Processes. Aberdeen Discussion Paper Series, The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen. [last accessed August 2014].
Cooke, B. and Kothari, U. (eds.) (2001). Participation: the new tyranny? Zed Books, London.
Derkzen, P. and Bock, B. (2009). Partnership and role perception, three case studies on the meaning of being a representative in rural partnerships. Environment and Planning C 27: 75-89.
Escobar, O. (2011). Public dialogue and deliberation: A communication perspective for public engagement practitioners. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Beltane - UK Beacons for Public Engagement. Available online: [last accessed August 2014].
Faulkner, W. (2011) Dialogue in public engagement: A handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Beltane -UK Beacons for Public Engagement. Available online: [last accessed August 2014].
Lemos, M. and Agrawal, A. (2006). Environmental governance. Annual Review of Environmental Resources 31: 297-325.
Raymond C.M., Fazey, I., Reed, M.S., Stringer, L.C., Robinson, G.M. and Evely, A.C. (2010). Integrating local and scientific knowledge for environmental management: From products to processes. Journal of Environmental Management 91: 1766-1777.
Redpath, S., Young, J., Evely, A., Adams, W.M., Sutherland, W.J., Whitehouse, A., Amar, A., Lambert, R., Linnell, J.D.C., Watt, A. and Gutierrez, R.J. (2012). Understanding and managing conservation con¿icts. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28(2): 100-109.
Reed et al. (2010). What is Social Learning? Ecology and Society, 15(4):
Reed, M.S. (2008). Stakeholder participation for environmental management: a literature review. Biological Conservation 141: 2417¿2431.
Reed, M.S., Graves, A., Dandy, N., Posthumus, H., Hubacek, K., Morris, J., Prell, C., Quinn, C.H., Stringer, L.C. (2009). Who¿s in and why? Stakeholder analysis as a prerequisite for sustainable natural resource management. Journal of Environmental Management 90: 1933¿1949.
Sidaway, R. (2005). Resolving Environmental Disputes: from Conflict to Consensus. London, Earthscan.
van den Hove, S. (2006). Between consensus and compromise: acknowledging the negotiation dimension in participatory approaches. Land Use Policy 23: 10-17.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Facilitation; communication; interviewing; qualitative data analysis; reflective practice; mediation; leadership; negotiation and professional practice.
KeywordsParticipation,mediation,negotiation,conflict,planning,engagement,knowledge exchange,consultat
Course organiserDr Hannah Grist
Course secretaryMs Jennifer Gumbrell
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