Public Participation, Youth Engagement, Governance Approach, Local Development, Policy


Architecture | Business | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Governance entities that have tackled public participation for decades are now approaching more participatory democracies, throughout which citizens are directly involved in influencing decisions that matter to them. In Lebanon, young people’s disengagement from the sociopolitical realm demands a framework for youth dialogue on policy matters. In 2017, the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development designed, initiated and managed a youth-centered public participation approach in Saida, Lebanon, engaging young citizens in local research and development and empowering them to multiply their influences at the regional and national scales. This approach has been recognized on all levels as an effective methodology for urban youth participation and has been given attention for replication among other urban contexts. This paper takes an in-depth look into the literature of public participation. Onward, it outlines the theoretical and practical keystones of Saida’s case study, breaking it down into its chronological milestones and classifying tangible results into strategies. Intersections are derived to associate the local process with the five components of the Public Participation Spectrum, an existing contextrelevant scientific model. Finally, lessons learnt are developed from empirically-based practice as reference measures for mainstreaming youth-centered public participation elsewhere. The author argues that effective and sustainable youth engagement methods must be adaptive to the responsiveness of the youth engaged and the governance systems and communities for which they are designed.



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