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Local participation in complex technological projects as bridging between different communities in Belgium

Gepubliceerd op
28 januari 2014

NEW ARTICLE:


Sips, K., M. Craps & A. Dewulf (2013). Local participation in complex technological projects as bridging between different communities in Belgium. Knowledge Management for Development Journal 9(3): 95-115.


Abstract:

Local community participation in complex technological projects, where technological
innovations and risks need to be managed, is notoriously challenging. Relations with local
inhabitants easily take the form of exclusion, protest, controversy or litigation. While such
projects represent opportunities for creating knowledge, business or societal benefits from
the perspective of the community of driving actors, they often represent a potential threat
to health, safety or prosperity from the perspective of the community of people who
happen to live near the facilities. What are the challenges in dealing with this difference
and which practices are helpful in bridging this gap? In this paper we analyse the
functioning of an organised group of local inhabitants in the development of an Enhanced
Landfill Mining project in Belgium where previously landfilled waste is going to be used
for recycling and energy production. We find that setting up a multi-actor platform,
organising a group of involved locals, combining formal and informal communication
channels, maintaining a mutually credible dialogue and involving knowledgeable local
people as bridging figures are important ingredients to bridge the gap in this case. We also
discuss the emerging challenges of local community participation for all actors involved
and especially for the organised group of ‘Locals’ who risk to become a victim of its own

success by being incorporated too much in the project consortium and leaving a new gap

to be bridged with the rest of the local community.

Keywords: local community; community participation; stakeholders; waste disposal; Belgium



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