Citizen Participation in Urban Forests: Analysis of a Consultation Process in the Metropolitan Area of Rouen Normandy

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Citizen Participation in Urban Forests: Analysis of a Consultation Process in the Metropolitan Area of Rouen Normandy


  • Charlotte Birks Institute of Transformation of Physical and Sports Activities (CETAPS), University of Rouen Normandy, France
  • Damien Féménias Institute of Transformation of Physical and Sports Activities (CETAPS), University of Rouen Normandy, France
  • Charly Machemehl Institute of Transformation of Physical and Sports Activities (CETAPS), University of Rouen Normandy, France


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Abstract:  The article examines the results of a “citizen consultation” organised by local public officials through a questionnaire-based consultation approach to the management of urban and peri-urban forests. The study shows how forests are at the same time strong, complex, and ambivalent policy levers in a public consultation process. The article, first of all, specifies the economic context of the case study, namely that of a metropolis in the north of France with a population of 500,000 people. It then presents the methods and the occasionally divergent results of the metropolitan “dialogue” survey (dated 2020, n = 375) on the one hand, and a university survey (dated 2020, n = 774) on the other. The results obtained reveal the challenges, difficulties, and limits of a participatory approach, given the high degree of ambivalence and contrast in the way population groups relate to woodland and the representative/participatory systems. The article highlights the complexity involved in the management of woodlands and their use as part of a political process that is both participatory and sustainable.

Keywords:  citizen consultation; city; environment; Normandy; public participation; Rouen; urban forest; woodland

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i2.4997


© Charlotte Birks, Damien Féménias, Charly Machemehl. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.