Participation of residents

Published on 19 November 2018 - Updated 13 December 2019
Cet article date d'il y a plus de 4 ans

Undertaking a participatory approach means recognising that residents and users can perceive the same area, the same landscapes and architectures in different ways depending on their expectations, culture and personal experience – and that these all need to be heeded. It means bearing in mind the local knowledge held by residents, which experts are not necessarily in possession of.

World Heritage and participation

The Loire Valley's World Heritage inscription as a landscape, established by experts, has lent authority to a heritage value which, on the one hand, had already long been recognised (architectural and urban heritage) and, on the other, was a legacy worth rediscovering (the natural and cultural river heritage). But this sweeping territory of "outstanding universal value" is also its residents' ordinary living environment. Through the consultation and participation of residents, the outstanding and the ordinary can be juxtaposed, and the historical and aesthetic dimensions can be woven into aspects pertaining to uses and practices. 

Aims and tools

Depending on the aims settled on, there are various options including information/communication, consultation, dialogue and interaction and even joint development of a project. The following approaches might be taken: 

  • Raising the public's awareness about an area's or a development's issues;
  • Finding out more about places and how they are used ahead of any project design, especially by taking local knowledge on board;
  • Developing a shared vision of an area and how it is evolving to identify the issues involved;
  • Enhancing the project during the design stage

Different tools may be used depending on the aims: dialogue, spoken interaction (talks, on-site tour, focus group, café discussions, interactive digital tools and so on) or visual communication (photo surveys, drawings, maps, aerial photos, mind maps, etc.).  

There is also an artistic trend which, through on-site trials, creates a forum for initiative and creativity between residents, contractors and managers.  

Participatory approaches take time, and can sometimes raise issues in terms of mobilisation, but they enable a shared vision and a consensus to be reached around a project.  



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