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From: Milica Bajic Brkovic, Yugoslavia
Category: Category 2
Date: 21 Mar 2000
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
FRHS E-Conference. Milica Bajic Brkovic Faculty of Architecture University of Belgrade
Regarding the role of people and availability of different "instruments" that facilitate their involvement, I would like to support Mr. Thorns point ad 1.(D.Thorns Contribution, March 20th), but would also like to comment on disadvantages/obstacles that should be taken into account as well. Using on line resources may benefit all parties involved. The system converts municipal planning documents and maps to the point and click interactive language of the Internet, making municipal planning documents accessible to the public through home or business computers or at the municipal office front counter. It could also support systems for land-use planning and community development decision making. Some recent research (University of Belgrade,Yugoslavia /University of Ancona/Italy) have shown that by introducing the telematics into the planning process, it becomes transparent and more efficient. Further on, could ease the procedure of decision making process, making it faster, cheaper, and more democratic. Praised for that merits, the new IT and communication technologies have already found their place in urban planning and management in some countries (Singapore, Japan, UK, Italy...).
However, there are some important questions that should not be overlooked: (1) how many countries/ cities have technical and technological resources and have developed adequate infrastructure to support that, and (2) what proportion of the population (on a local/national level) have an access to these facilities. Virtual communication (VC) option underlines the importance of well developed and evenly distributed supporting technical infrastructure. It could be effective only under condition that the majority of the population are already the PC users, or will have a secured access to it in the future. Only where a critical mass of the PC users exists, the VC may be considered as an option. In many countries this is not the case. On the contrary, very often the majority does not have an access provided nor will have it soon. This is particularly the case in developing countries. Thus, the VC option could easily become an instrument for providing the exclusive right, rather than for fulfilling its basic function of securing an equal access to information, and empowering people to participate in local affairs.
__________________ Professor Milica Bajic Brkovic Faculty of Architecture University of Belgrade Bulevar kralja Aleksandra 73/II 11000 Belgrade Yugoslavia