Citizens’ Education Level and Public Participation in Environmental and Spatial Planning Public Policies: Case Study in Lisbon and Surrounds Counties

Lia Vasconcelos, Vanda Carreira, João Reis Machado

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Education assumes a central key role for the adequate functioning of democratic systems, and therefore as a way to better choices and sustainable development. The study was conducted on a sample of 250 subjects (N=250), of both genders, and aimed to 1) evaluate whether citizens’ education level influences or not on their participation in environmental and spatial planning public policies. Data was collected, recorded, validated and subjected to statistical analysis. P-values < 0.05 results were considered statistically significant. The sample was composed of 52% women and 48% men, with a mean age of 42.3±13.2 years. It was possible to verify that citizens´ education level did not influence the type of public participation they were involved (P = 0.960), except in the case of PhD subjects (P = 0.045); neither the subjects’ opinions regarding the time point to get involved in the participation (P = 0.299), neither with the relationship with the local authorities (P = 0.865). In contrast, education level influences the way in which citizens exercise their public participation (P = 0.003). Concluding, education level influences citizen participation only in terms of how they perceive and carry out their involvement in public policies; but does not influence the fact that they are more or less participatory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
JournalInternational Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Education
  • Citizens
  • Public participation
  • Environment
  • Spatial planning

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