Social participation and the role of ICT in the planning, design, and maintenance of public spaces

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The following thesis dissertation investigates the challenges and opportunities of public space management and the social participation of local residents in the Mexican context. It also explores the transformative potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the planning practice, specifically using Digital Participatory Platforms. The thesis employed a case study approach, utilising a combination of qualitative and spatial research methods for the empirical investigation with regard to the following objectives. First, it aimed to understand public space management in Mexico, focusing on how governance actors perceive this process and related challenges and opportunities. Second, the research dug into understanding how social participation is conducted in the planning, design and maintenance of public spaces (PDMPS) in Mexico. Third, the thesis examined the challenges and opportunities of using ICTs that support social participation in the PDMPS in daily practice. Lastly, the research explores the use of a digital participatory platform for data collection in a participatory process, aiming to understand the potential of the use of technology in the PDMPS as well as the resident perception and acceptance by government actors and stakeholders.The thesis finalises with the main contributions to the scientific body of knowledge on the development of analytical frameworks on Public Space Management, to the debates on how to measure social participation, particularly in the PDMPS; to the exploration of the use of ICTs in the daily practice that support social participation; and finally to the debates on the use of Digital Participatory Platforms to collect resident’s input for decision-making processes in the PDMPS. The research constraints included limitations to considering broader case study areas in other Mexican cities, expanding the sample size of interviews to encompass a more diverse group of stakeholders, and the inability to visit the country for data collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations for future work include the integration of qualitative and quantitative data for statistical support, the consideration of other cities with similar conditions as Mexico in the Latin-American context, involving a diverse group of actors at different scales (local, national and international levels), enhance communication channels that allow innovative participatory processes for a broader audience, and considerations to improve the usability of the Digital Participatory Tool used in this study (AMACHAN) through an improved user interface, more intuitive for the user and able to collect data offline.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Pfeffer, Karin, Supervisor
  • Madureira, Mafalda, Co-Supervisor
  • Ostermann, Frank, Co-Supervisor
Award date20 Mar 2024
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-6013-9
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-6014-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2024


  • Social participation
  • Technology
  • Public space
  • Mexico


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