Participation and the pandemic: how planners are keeping democracy alive, online

Viewpoint by Dan Milz and Curt D. Gervich: “….The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for a multitude of experiments in e-democracy as local governments strive to continue to hold public meetings; make and implement plans; issue permits, variances and zoning decisions; and gather public input while under quarantine. This paper anecdotally discusses the role of online participatory technologies (OPTs) during this time.

Amidst the obvious impacts, COVID-19 also represents a threat to public participation. Because meeting in person is too risky, local leaders are cautious about hosting meetings in which citizens, government agents and elected officials gather together in one place. Consequently, municipal and county governments, among others, are taking the public’s business online. The purpose of this Viewpoint is to jump-start a conversation about how we prepare planners for a future in which in-person meetings are not guaranteed and how planners might continue to incorporate new technologies when face-to-face meetings resume….(More)”.