Public participation in planning and urban development in Quebec: Mayors facing the deliberative imperative

Do elected officials like democracy?
By Mario Gauthier, Lynda Gagnon, Guy Chiasson, Anne Mévellec

This article explores the contribution of the mayors of Quebec’s ten major cities to the advancement of participatory practices in planning and urban development issues. More specifically, it seeks to determine the influence exerted by the mayors’ political leadership in the general movement to open up the municipal environment to the deliberative imperative and in the variations observed among the major cities. Two levels of action by mayors are examined. First, at the Quebec level, the article shows how mayors have succeeded in removing the most restrictive elements of participation from the legislative framework for territorial planning, in favor of greater flexibility for municipalities. At the municipal level, a typology of large cities according to their degree of commitment to the deliberative imperative illustrates the key role of the mayor in the implementation and institutionalization of participatory democracy at the local level.

  • town and country planning
  • participatory democracy
  • locally elected officials
  • deliberative imperative
  • mayors
  • Quebec (Canada)
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