URBS 502—Politics of Practice


The notes for this section are based on

  • DANDEKAR, H.  2003.  Ch. 5.  Working with Small Groups,” “Ch. 6.  Public Participation,” and “Ch.11.  Planning in Political Context, in The Planner’s Use of Information, 2nd Ed.  Chicago, IL:  Planners Press.


Group Work

  1. Process
    1. Resistance to work
    2. Work group issues
  2. Task
    1. Stating the problem
    2. Clarifying the issues
    3. Deciding between alternatives
  3. Roles
    1. Leader
    2. Member
    3. Outsider
  4. First Meeting
    1. Setting
    2. Building group identity

                                                               i.      Introductions

                                                             ii.      Recorder

                                                            iii.      Ground rules

                                                           iv.      Agenda

                                                             v.      Charge

See also:  John E. Tropman, Making Meetings Work.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications, 1996

                Donald Chisholm, Coordination without Hierarchy.  Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press, 1989.

                Patrick Lencioni,  Death by Meeting.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 2004.

  1. Facilitation
    1. Process Problem:  What should group do next?

                                                               i.      State the problem

                                                             ii.      Clarify options

                                                            iii.      Promote informality

                                                           iv.      Encourage participation

                                                             v.      Clarify consequences of options

                                                           vi.      Choose among alternatives

    1. Technical Problems

                                                               i.      Groupthink

                                                             ii.      Brainstorming

                                                            iii.      Devil’s advocate

                                                           iv.      Conflict

                                                             v.      Group responsibility for group process (& relationship to decision mechanism)

    1. Group Resistance

                                                               i.      Forming/Norming/Storming/Performing/Adjourning (Tuckman, 1965)

                                                             ii.      Fight/flight

                                                            iii.      Dependency

                                                           iv.      Pairing

See also:  Joseph Luft, Group Processes, 3rd ed.  Mountain View, CA:  Mayfield Publishing, 1984,

                  Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass, 2002.

    1. Problem Children

See also:  Kerry Patterson, and others.  Crucial Conversations:  Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High.  NY:  McGraw-Hill, 2002.

                  Rick Brinkman & Rick Kirschner.  Dealing with People You Can’t Stand.  NY:  McGraw-Hill, 2002.f

                  Alan Cavaiola & Neil Lavender.  Toxic Coworkers.  Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Publications, 2000.


Public Participation

  1. Ends or means?
  2. Starting up
    1. Who is “the public”?
    2. Who are the members?
    3. What resources are needed?
  3. Public involvement
    1. Techniques

                                                               i.      Advisory committee

                                                             ii.      Briefing

                                                            iii.      Brochure/fact sheet

                                                           iv.      Correspondence

                                                             v.      Direct mail

                                                           vi.      Electronic voting

                                                          vii.      Expert review panel

                                                        viii.      Focus group

                                                           ix.      Internet

                                                             x.      Media

                                                           xi.      Newsletter

                                                          xii.      Open house/community fair

                                                        xiii.      Personal interviews

                                                        xiv.      Public display

                                                         xv.      Public hearing

                                                        xvi.      Public meeting

                                                      xvii.      Public workshop

                                                     xviii.      Questionnaire

                                                        xix.      Report

                                                         xx.      Scientific survey

                                                        xxi.      Speakers bureau

                                                      xxii.      Task force

                                                     xxiii.      Tour

                                                    xxiv.      Visual aids

                                                      xxv.      webpage

    1. Notification

                                                               i.      Purpose of meeting

                                                             ii.      Action to be taken

                                                            iii.      Date, time, place

                                                           iv.      Financial implications

                                                             v.      Type/limits of participation

                                                           vi.      Additional information

                                                          vii.      Legal reference (appendix)

    1. Presenting information effectively

                                                               i.      Writing effectively

                                                             ii.      Speaking clearly

                                                            iii.      Answering questions

                                                           iv.      Nonverbal communication

                                                             v.      Audio-visual material

    1. Media relations & press releases
    2. Evaluating success

See also:  Elaine Cogan.  Successful Public Meetings.  Chicago, IL:  APA Press, 2000.

            John Forester.  The Deliberative Practitioner.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 2001.


Political Context

  1. A day in the life
  2. Community as a stage
    1. Stage set
    2. Actors
    3. Script
    4. Backstage
  3. Public Disclosure

See also:  Lawrence Susskind & Patrick Field.  Dealing with an Angry Public.  NY:  Free Press, 1996.

                  Alan Altshuler.  The City Planning Process:  A Political Analysis.  Ithaca, NY:  Cornell University Press, 1965.

                  John Forester.  Planning in the Face of Power.  Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1989.

                  John Friedmann.  Planning in the Public Domain.  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 1987.










© 2006 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 26 September 2006