Mapping the road to development: A methodology for scaling up participation in policy processes

Donald R. Nelson, Marcelo T. Folhes, Timothy J. Finan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Understanding local variability in context and mobilising local participation to define development agendas are widely accepted development strategies. There remain, however, significant challenges to the systematic and effective inclusion of local communities and households. Projeto MAPLAN, a pilot project in Ceará, Brazil, is a joint effort of the public sector and civil society designed to create a process of participatory development planning which integrates local-level contextual variations. In this effort, the use of a Participatory Geographic Information System (PGIS) stimulates the participation of community members in analysing their needs, goals, and priorities. The visualisation of these factors through easily understood maps facilitates communication and contributes to a democratic and transparent planning process, thus permitting the articulation of local priorities with the state-level planning apparatus. MAPLAN represents part of a shifting paradigm for rural development planning in the state and provides the tools for the effective inclusion of citizen voice in development policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-395
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Governance and public policy
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Methods
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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