Stakeholder Participation in Property Development

Abstract: The traditional representation of urban property as a technical exercise of market analysis, valuation and investment appraisal fails to link urban property development to the general notions of sustainable development and thus the connection to environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable urban development. Knowledge of the social processes in the production and use of the built environment, specifically in land and property development processes, is vital to understand the complexity of urban development and thus to assist the management of urban development processes. A key aspect to the social production of urban property development is the understanding of the relationship between the strategies, interests and actions of the various actors involved in the development process and the economic and socio-political context, which frames their decision-making. Moreover, the implementation of urban property development projects involves and affects a wide range of stakeholders with different attributes, interests, needs and concerns who hold the capacity to influence the project negatively or positively. Inadequate management of the concerns of stakeholders can lead to controversy and conflict about the implementation of the project. Community attitudes are one example that has been shown to be an important factor when planning for, and locating, a development project. The demands of different stakeholder groups vary and a project can benefit one stakeholder group whilst simultaneously having a negative impact on others. Thus, accommodating the various stakeholders’ needs and concerns as well as balancing their differences, conflicts and power relations is vital for the successful implementation of sustainable urban property development projects. The aim of this research was to acquire a deeperunderstanding of stakeholder participation in the early stages of property development as well as to contribute to the conceptualization of stakeholder participation in property development. A qualitative research strategy was chosen with case study and participatory action research as the main research methods. Four cases were conducted through participant observations, workshops, interviews, questionnaire, field notes and document analysis. The findings reveal that stakeholder participation in property development is an emerging practice,however, proactive actions to stakeholder participation remain at the individual level rather than an organizational or institutional level. However, if supported, these practices have the potential to influence the work of organizations and further contribute to sustainable urban property development. This researchcontributes to the conceptualization of stakeholder participation in property development by proposing a systematic framework for stakeholder participation in propery development projects.The framework contains a set of guiding principles and steps that can guide project managers to plan and implement stakeholder participation processes.