West Street Recovery

Arnstien’s Ladder of Participation

Tuesday October 17th | Ben Hirsh

In 1969 Sherry Arnstien created an easy system to understand compare the level of participation of citizens in Urban planning and architecture projects. Overtime organizers, activists and scholars have realized that her “Ladder of participation”, which goes from “manipulation” at the bottom to “citizen control” at the top, is relevant, not just to planning, but to all organizations that claim to work for and with communities. Being aware of the inequities caused by citizenship status, we think that the term at the top of her schematic should be updated to “People control” We believe that the ladder is a great way to understand the work of organizations we partner with and see working in Houston, and encourage you to encourage the groups you are part of to move as close as you can to what we would call “people control.” We aim to do the same ourselves.