Web-based gis and public participation:an aid to widening female participation in revitalizing outdoor recreational facilities in saudi arabia. a case study in jeddah, saudi arabia
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During the last decade, the Internet and Geographic Information System (GIS) have made changes in the relationship between governments and citizens in many developed countries. Citizens, in such countries, have been given more chances to participate in the decision making process of the spatial issues relevant to them. Such participation has helping to make urban planning more democratic and to make planners plan with the public rather than plan for the public. In Saudi Arabia (a developing country), participation of citizens in spatial decision making is very limited. Such limitation is more severe when considering women due to the circumstance of gender segregation in the Saudi society. While males may somehow muddle through ways to express their views about spatial issues to the planning authority, females have no ways unless they behave against the local norms. There is a persistent need for implementing distance participation for women in Saudi Arabia. This research examines whether developing and employing an Internet / GIS participatory approach can facilitate (without conflicting with the local conservative cultural norms) women’s participation in the municipal decision making process of the neighborhood’s outdoor recreational facilities. The goal was primarily to adapt the technology to serve the society instead of necessitating the society to change its inherited norms to be able to advance. The research involved an exploratory ethnographic case study carried out in a selected residential community in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The research was carried out in two phases where the current status of public participation in the Saudi community planning was investigated first, and then a prototype for an Internet/GIS system for female public participation was developed and evaluated. The research found that there is a legitimate enthusiasm amongst the public and officials of the research sample for adopting e-public participation. Such enthusiasm is supported by a number of political, economical, technological and religious reasons. However, the findings showed that adopting e-public participation is more promising in the near future than currently due to different reasons including the current relatively small number of Internet users in Saudi Arabia. Since such research is the first of its type to be conducted in the Saudi context, the findings can serve as a road map indicating that adopting e-public participation in Saudi Arabia is promising and worth researching.
Daghistani, Farouk (2007). Web-based gis and public participation:an aid to widening female participation in revitalizing outdoor recreational facilities in saudi arabia. a case study in jeddah, saudi arabia. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from