1.61 - Community Development in Urban Regeneration Projects: The Contribution of Participatory Processes

Project Description

In general, public participation is considered an essential and guiding principle of democratic governance that requires the engagement of all affected stakeholders. Furthermore, studies argue that a successful process contributes to improving the overall quality of decisions and thus the quality of projects. More specifically, public participation is central to achieving the objectives of urban regeneration initiatives by achieving sustainable improvements in the economic, physical, environmental, and social aspects of projects. However, the latter role of participation as a potential enabler of social change and a trigger for community development remains elusive. Although there is a widespread agreement that public participation is related to community development, the dynamics related to this association have not been adequately explored. This research emphasizes the social relevance of participation and questions the extent to which meaningful participatory processes can act as an end goal in regeneration initiatives and as a positive social change agent that could lead to community development, and how the development of more comprehensive evaluation frameworks can contribute to achieving more desirable outcomes and thus better participatory processes. Therefore, the main focus of this thesis is to explore the contribution of public participation to community development in urban regeneration projects through the development of a more comprehensive evaluation framework that can enhance this relationship and lead to the achievement of positive social outcomes for disadvantaged communities. To achieve these objectives, this research followed a theoretical and practical approach. First, a theoretical conceptualization was established to further explore the social dimensions of public participation and its impact on communities in urban regeneration initiatives by applying a conceptual confrontation method to enhance our understanding of how participation can contribute to community development. This work provides a better understanding of the relationship between public participation and community development and its influencing factors and ways to improve it by proposing an innovative, comprehensive approach to evaluating public participation. Globally, in the long term, this research has the potential to provide a guide for creating the necessary framework to enable the transition to social sustainability in regeneration initiatives.

Research Team

  • Aymen Boudebouz
  • Anabela Ribeiro (supervisor)
  • Isabel Breda Vazquez (co-supervisior)

Financial Support

  • FCT: PD/BD/128186/2016
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded in 2022