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Browsing by Author "Kuusimäki, Aino"

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  • Kuusimäki, Aino (2015)
    The study examines two public-private-partnership projects, one located in Helsinki and the other in Berlin. Both projects have the private company of the project working as the executive party and as a moderator, a transmitting link between the citizens and the city offices. Both projects include the citizens at the 'round table', to take part in conversations and negotiatins as at least seemingly equal members with other citizens and leaders of the project. The cases are projected against two theoretical frameworks. The first one concerns the neoliberal ethos and the way of organizing power systems that grew with the ideology. The so called new public management has caused devolution, privatization of public services, borders between sectors becoming blurred, working in projects and a customer-oriented relation to the citizen. The second framework considers the changing role of the planner towards allowing more participation. The meaning of social spaces and experiental knowledge in planning has grown in regional and urban planning, which considerably molds both the planning profession and the planning process. In this thesis I examine how new public management and the growing demand for participation can be seen in two planning related projects. The thesis focuses on how the city offices benefit from the moderators, how face to face contacts and the presence of moderators affect particiation and finally, what kind of motives the city offices have in promoting citizen participation. As my primary sources I use semi-structured expert interviews with the project workers and one citizen representant, as well as questionnaires on participant experiences. I analyze the experiences and perceptions of the people involved in the projects by comparing them both within and between the two projects. The material is complemented by observation. My study shows, that moderators are useful to city offices by adding time and knowledge resources to the projects. Moderators add expertise and work force to short-term tasks and can work thematically or spatially in a more specified manner than officials. Moderators also create relatively neutral spaces for conversations among citizens as well as between citizens and officials. The study suggests that there is tension between offices and citizens. Citizens would like to witness to have an impact in the matters they take part in, whereas the official cannot promise that to happen. A moderator assists in creating communication, softens tension and adds knwoledge and time resources to tasks in which participation plays a central part.