Seeking good governance in participatory-GIS: a review of processes and governance dimensions in applying GIS to participatory spatial planning
The adoption of participatory spatial planning (PSP) approaches has been partially supported by developments in participatory-GIS (P-GIS), as seen in applications both in local resource management in developing South countries, and in community neighbourhood planning in the urban North. Such applications provide a basis for examining the relationship between the use of geo-information and governance, as many P-GIS initiatives claim to foster accountability, transparency, legitimacy and other dimensions of governance. Examples from recent literature illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of utilising P-GIS, and in particular, the implications for greater participation, empowerment, and ownership of and access to spatial information, and for governance in general. Some new developments in GIS technology, like `mobile-GIS', have the potential to strengthen these impacts. While P-GIS is not an essential component of PSP, if used with an adequate regard and sensitivity for issues of ownership, legitimacy and local knowledge, it can contribute to the empowerment of communities in solving spatial planning problems.