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Why is it beneficial for landscape architects in Poland to learn about public participation while designing a public park? Reflections on the theory, education and practice of participative planning


Securing green infrastructure is crucial to maintaining the quality of life in cities therefore it is necessary to create new public green spaces responding to the needs of city dwellers. This paper provides a qualitative evaluation of the results of teaching the process of public participation to landscape architecture students from Politechnika Krakowska including such activities both preceding and during their work on the design of public parks. In this paper the author describes the rationale behind introducing participative planning into academic education and its theoretical background, as well as comparing the local perspective with examples of successful participative projects in the broader European context and the context of international trends in landscape architecture and urban planning in general. Both the teaching methodology and participation tools used are presented, referring to the methods already in use in practice and highlighting the fact that the teaching goes far beyond the legal minimum foreseen in Polish legislation. Finally, based on a summary of their experiences and case studies, particular fields of impact observed in the practical implementation of their projects are identified. Taking all this into consideration, it may be stated that from the moment when landscape architecture graduates started working for the public authorities in Kraków and making use of their knowledge and skills in public participation, the quality of public involvement has risen and the number of parks realised via this process is growing.

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