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Public Consultation

The Spectrum of Public Participation



The International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) seeks to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that affect the public interest in nations throughout the world. The association has developed a ‘spectrum of public participation ‘ to help groups define the public’s role in any  public engagement  process. This spectrum is quickly becoming an international standard and is currently included in many public participation plans.

Their spectrum illustrates that there are a different levels of legitimate participation, depending on the public participation goals, promises made to the public, time frames and resources.  The five levels in the spectrum are: Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower.  As you move up the spectrum, the impact to the pubic increases.


IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation

IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation

If you can’t view the image, click here  for a pdf version.


PlaceSpeak and the Spectrum of Public Participation

The development of the PlaceSpeak platform has been guided by this spectrum.  Our platform currently offers robust tools to assist in the first two categories—namely Informing and Consulting. As we mover forward, however, we will be adding more features that will offer enhanced involvement and collaboration tools.  Our ultimate goal is to empower both residents and issues proponents to make the best decisions possible for all groups involved.



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