Public Participation in Local Planning – Communicative Planning on Women’s Conditions in six Communes in Norway
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Although there are more women than men in Norway, they are less visible in local politics and local planning processes. An important goal therefore is to get more women involved in public planning. This in turn is believed to lead to greater participation of women in the political process. The planning process in six rural communes (municipalities) in Norway which participated in a National Project "Municipal Planning on Women's Conditions" (1989 -1992), was an attempt to make local planning less frightening and more commonplace. Participate methods were used to engage inhabitants, especially women, in strategic planning for local development and based on theories and methods for communicative planning. The experience was that high political and administrative involvement and engagement, as well as high mobilisation of women, was needed to implement changes and tasks introduced and developed during the planning process. This activity must be integrated with the political and administrative system on local level and that women themselves must decide how they shall participate and they must have strong influence on the design of planning processes and projects. In this paper I try to discover what kind of long time effects this project have had regarding local communicative planning and women’s perspective in planning and politics. Information from local leaders and indicators show that the six local communes have higher participation of women in local politics etc. then in Norway at all and also gives priority to communicative processes and methods in local planning.