Data for Participation and Participation as Data: Supporting Incremental Participatory Decision-Making in Urban Planning

Joshua Ddamba, Yvonne Dittrich

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Current literature on urban planning explores how to use ICT to
support citizen participation. Advances in open data and its possibility to easily
represent data on maps, opens up new opportunities to support participation
and decision making in urban projects. This article investigates how spatial
planners today use data to inform the participatory process. Looking at the participation
process as collaboration between planners and citizens allows us to
see the participation process itself as generating data that informs future decisions
and processes. Based on a case study of a participatory process of an urban
renewal project, the article investigates the use of structured and unstructured
data for participation. The fieldwork is conducted using ethnographically
inspired methods, based on participatory observations, interviews and document
analysis. As a result, the incremental decisions, the resulting process, and
the data used in this process are mapped out. Besides the need to accommodate
heterogeneous data and to allow for integrated analysis of data specific to the
neighborhood under development, the important result is that the participatory
process itself generates data that informs the further process and the decisions
that are part of it. The paper concludes with design implications for decision
support for urban planning. In future research, the intention is to explore these
implications in a Participatory Design process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIRIS: Selected Papers of the Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia
Issue number6
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Urban Renewal
  • Urban Planning
  • Visualisation,
  • Participatory Design


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