Critical Next Steps in Research on Public Meetings and Environmental Decision Making

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006


Department of Social Sciences


Research on public meetings and environmental decision making has increased greatly over the past 30 years. Much published research evaluates specific public meeting techniques or officials' and participants' expectations regarding public meetings. However, three questions remain largely unexplored. First, why do or don't people attend public meetings? Research suggests that beliefs and values regarding a meeting's topic are important, but work on this question remains limited. Second, how does working with the public affect decision makers and their willingness to conduct future public meetings? Few researchers have worked on this question. Third, how does public meeting input affect decision making? A great deal of research describes cases where input fails to influence decision making. However, few studies have presented and explained successful incorporation of public input into decision making. Answering these questions is critical to moving forward with the next generation of effective citizen involvement through public meetings.

Publication Title

Human Ecology Review