Participatory Rural Planning presents the argument that citizen participation in planning affairs transcends a rights-based legitimacy and an all too frequent perception of being mere consultation. Rather, it is part of a social learning process that can enhance the prospects for successful implementation, provide opportunity for reflection and create a mutuality of respect between different stakeholders in the planning arena. Accordingly, Michael Murray signposts what can work well and what should work differently in regard to participatory planning by taking rural Ireland as the empirical laboratory and exploring the Irish experience at different spatial scales from the village, through to the locality, the sub regional and the regional levels.
'Based firmly on the Irish experience but with pertinence far beyond the shores of that island, this book expertly weaves together the themes of spatial planning, local governance, rural development and - most important - stakeholder participation. The case study material is particularly helpful but as befits a leading academic in this field Murray manages to distil the bigger picture as well as present the local detail. Genuinely participatory rural planning remains an elusive goal, but we are presented here with some useful pointers on how it might best develop.' Malcolm Moseley, University of Gloucestershire, UK 'This book draws upon the author's extensive experience as an academic and practitioner of participatory rural planning to provide new insights that will significantly add to the literature on comparative studies of rural planning. Using case studies on which he has worked throughout Ireland Dr. Murray demonstrates the capacity of participatory planning methodologies to guide societal change and enable rural communities to embark on dynamic, empowering and sustainable development strategies. This book is a very significant resource for students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners of rural planning.' Jim Walsh, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland