Sherry Arnstein, writing in 1969 about citizen involvement in planning processes in the United States, described a "ladder of citizen participation" that showed participation ranging from low to high. Arnstein depicted the failings of typical participation processes at the time and characterized aspirations toward engagement that have now been elevated to core values in planning practice. But since that time, the political, economic, and social context has evolved greatly, and planners, organizers, and residents have been involved in planning and community development practice in ways previously unforeseen.
Learning from Arnstein's Ladder draws on contemporary theory, expertise, empirical analysis, and practical applications in what is now more commonly termed public engagement in planning to examine the enduring impacts of Arnstein's work and the pervasive challenges that planners face in advancing meaningful public engagement. This book presents research from throughout the world, including Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Portugal, Serbia, and the United States, among others, that utilizes, critiques, revises, and expands upon Arnstein's aspirational vision. It is essential reading for educators and students of planning.