Akteursperspektiven auf Beteiligung an der Stadtteilentwicklung

  • Actor's perspectives on participation in neighbourhood development

Schröder, Caroline; Selle, Klaus (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2007, 2008)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2007


When discussing participation in neighbourhood development, the multiple meanings und operationalisations of the term may cause misunderstandings. The objective of this study is to analyse and compare perspectives on informal participation in neighbourhood development in both theory and practice. Methods applied are interdisciplinary analyses of literature and internet documents as well as three case studies with guided interviews in Berlin neighbourhoods. The initial assumption was that different perspectives on participation do exist in practice just as they do in the literature, and that those different perspectives refer to differing individual interests, motivations and expectations. In addition, it was assumed that participatory processes - and actors involved - will depend more on interaction and mutual reference points (e.g. common objectives, definitions, action principles, synergy effects), which have been neglected in scientific models of action. After conducting the study, there is evidence that actors in participatory processes have similar perspectives regarding action and interaction. But those perspectives can only partially be attributed to actor groups, they rather depend on subjective assumptions of options for action, actor’s constellation and basic conditions in the neighbourhoods. E.g. the production of visible results played a major role for the actors which even proved to be a major success criterion for participatory processes and individual engagement. It then became obvious that individual action is seen in context of all actors involved as, throughout actor’s groups, the significance of direct communication, feedback, mutual appreciation and similar rights and duties of all actors had been emphasized, In addition, motivations resp. demotivations as consequences of citizens, administrators, politicians and intermediary actors acting principles were specified. In addition, the transparency of basic conditions, structures, roles and available resources had been named as an important precondition for estimating individual ranges of action. Nonetheless, the interviewees defined participation in neighbourhood development differently, describing specific forms, grades, role ascriptions and action principles. Furthermore, they questioned the wide-spread association of participation processes with civil engagement, local democracy and quality of life. Those results from practice may help to narrow down the multiple meanings of "participation in neighbourhood development". Consequently, research on participation in neighbourhood development should verify resp. disprove the transferability of those results by systematising practical experiences on a larger basis and, if necessary, by questioning existing scientific assumptions on actors and participation.


  • Chair of Planning Theory and Urban Development [212110]