The global infrastructure sector is thriving. But community opposition to major projects is also rising. Australian examples demonstrate the policy backflips, reputational pitfalls, and financial costs of project delays and cancellations. Failures to engage communities are surprising, given the widespread adoption of community engagement (CE) principles and the increasing professionalization of CE roles. If acceptance of the need for CE in infrastructure is more widespread than ever, why are we not seeing smoother project delivery, reduced protest, and cost savings? This paradox is the driving force behind the Next Generation Engagement project. This article offers a practitioners’ perspective to introduce the project and present key findings from its 12?month pilot study aiming to establish a transdisciplinary, industry?led research agenda for CE in Australia’s infrastructure sector. The article contributes to our understanding of CE literature and research codesign. It maps out the top five priority themes for future research to support infrastructure selection, planning and delivery. The research agenda provides guidance for policy, and practice, offering consolidated, research?based insights for policymakers and practitioners.
SOURCE: Bice S, Neely K, and Einfeld C. “Next Generation Engagement: Setting a research agenda for community engagement in Australia’s infrastructure sector.” AJPA, 29 April 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia