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Respect and the city: the mediating role of respect in citizen participation

Sebastian Zenker (Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Adrian Seigis (RespectResearchGroup, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 9 March 2012

Abstract

Purpose

To develop a city, officials frequently invest a great deal of taxpayers' money in large‐scale place development projects, which are often sparsely supported by the citizens because such projects often lead to unwanted effects (such as gentrification). This results in conflicts between planners and citizens, which are expressed in public protest and resistance. The instrument of citizen participation is repeatedly raised as a solution for such conflicts, but it remains unclear how and especially why this concept should be effective. The purpose of this paper is to empirically highlight the mediating role in this process: the feeling of being respected. By this means, the paper will contribute to a better general understanding of citizen participation.

Design/methodology/approach

In an experimental scenario study (n=368), different types of citizen participation (i.e. cases where the result was binding for the city vs non‐binding) were researched using a between‐groups design. To validate results, in a second step, the outcome was discussed with three experts, all of whom have worked in the field.

Findings

Surprisingly, it seems that neither the type of participation nor satisfaction with the project makes a difference with regards to citizen satisfaction, but simply the condition of being asked. One could argue that the feeling of being respected is the main mediator in this process. These results show the effectiveness of the participation tool in general, and give a possible explanation for this effect.

Originality/value

This paper concentrates on the variables underlying citizen participation. It shows empirically that the feeling of being respected is the mediator within this process. By this means, the paper offers a valuable insight into citizen participation in general and discusses its usage in place marketing.

Keywords

Citation

Zenker, S. and Seigis, A. (2012), "Respect and the city: the mediating role of respect in citizen participation", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 20-34. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538331211209022

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited