The digital revolution, that directly involves the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), can be considered as one of the most recent innovations able to deeply modify our society. Policy makers, both local and global, increasingly recognize the potentiality of change, and they propose strategies aiming at reaching goals linked to such key areas as sanity, education, economic growth, empowerment and democratisation, environment. In particular, the role that the ICT can play in the democratisation of the decision processes is becoming an increasingly addressed issue. We can consider that the term Information Technology concerns the system of data gathering, data storage, analysis ad representation constituting a Decision Support System for bottom-up planning. Therefore, this kind of digital technology is considered as a tool for a more decentralized and democratic planning process and public debate. The awareness of the importance of the shared decision process in complex domains, such as environmental planning, derived from the recognition of the role that stakeholders can play. If they are not involved in the alternative construction and evaluation, the decision process outcomes could be controversial and proposed solutions could generate strong opposition, making unfeasible those solutions. Therefore, the extent to which IT-based tools can help the attainment of a more democratic and useful level of information for citizens could be not obvious. In fact, on one hand, we can agree about the concept of information as power: however, on the other hand, information raises power only if it can be effectively understood by the user, so transforming information into knowledge, and power. Often information provided by analytical tools, such as GIS and Decision Support System, is difficult to be interpreted by non-expert people, especially when basic knowledge is lowly developed in the Information Technology domain, like in Developing Countries, so making the interaction difficult. Furthemore, an increasing criticism warns about the difficulties in the proper application of Information technology planning instruments where planning staff's expertise is uneven, so envisaging the risk of using IT-based supports uncritically to develop incoherent policy. Starting from this mismatch between intentions and real contingencies, especially under a locallybased perspective, the paper will try to outline how the different social and cultural awareness of different local communities can draw positive or even negative outcomes out of the use of IT-based tools, eventually. The presented case study begins with a review of the debate recently growing around the democracy-technology interplay, which is increasing coming into the agendas of international governmental and non-governmental organization. In this light, a particular emphasis will be given to the implication on governance and town and country planning in Developing Countries. Furthermore, a case-study will be presented, carried out in Izmir (Turkey), and dealing with the integrated planning and management of coastal areas. In the illustrated application, a software tool was used to let people interactively build alternative development scenarios in sensible social and environmental contexts. Finally, conclusions will be drawn out, trying to understand the potentials and the limits of an IT-based approach to community involvement in planning issues, with particular reference to lowly developed areas.
|Titolo:||Technology, democracy and planning: Hints from the Mediterranean|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2003|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|