Handbooks and guidebooks give advice to would-be practitioners on how to do public participation well. They offer a cookbook solution to the troubled official who is pressed to implement a state-of-the-art program, but is inexperienced in doing so. Although I have reservations about taking a cookbook approach too far, I also believe it does have a place in the field at the moment. In this review I attempt to build awareness about the availability of these handbooks and manuals. Doing so is an important step in promoting learning and the betterment of public participation. Better public participation can lead to a better state of public affairs. If we trust in the reasonableness of the publics--and I assert that the vast majority of us in this field do--then we also trust that better public participation also moves us closer to realizing the principles of sustainability and balance.
Human Ecology Review
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Webler, Thomas, "Organizing Public Participation: A Critical Review of Three Handbooks" (1997). Environmental Studies. 11.