Nature Park Medvednica

Stakeholder’s participation in the spatial plan creation for the Nature Park Medvednica


This research aims to assess the influence of participatory processes on spatial planning of Nature Park Medvednica, a mountainous protected area adjacent to Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, which tries to hold on to the pressure of the urbanization. Because of the inexistence of spatial plan which is required with the Croatian laws; its area was significantly decreased in 2008. The study will be conducted in a framework of stakeholder analysis, for which a series of in-depth interviews with the stakeholders will be performed, and the data of which will be analyzed in a software appropriate for discourse analysis. The data gained will be regarded upon within the concepts of the exchange theory, in particularly trough the social exchange theory. The results of the research are expected to provide a detailed insight into stakeholder’s exchanges, which are their benefits and costs of participation and their influence on the respective spatial planning process.


Research Question: Why do stakeholders participate in the spatial plan creation for the Nature Park Medvednica?

In order to answer the research question, the following objectives are placed in front of this study:

  • To describe past and current spatial planning situation of the Nature park Medvednica
  • To Identify the issues and stakeholders concerning the creation of spatial plan for the Nature Park Medvednica
  • To identify and analyze the key conflict areas that affect the formulation of spatial plan
  • To analyze the level of participation of stakeholders in the context of fulfillment of their own interests
  • To assess the influence of participation of different stakeholder groups on the process of spatial plan formulation

In the simplest form, the social exchange theory can be summed in the following formula (Concepts):
Behavior (Profits of interaction) = Rewards of interaction - Costs of Interaction

With respect to the chosen theoretical background and methodology, the following variables have been identified:

Dependent variable:

  • Level of participation

Independent variables:

  • Benefits of Participation
  • Benefits of Social participation
  • Benefits of Economical participation

These variables are connected in a form of hypotheses listed below:

  1. If there is an increase in the perceived reciprocity of a social exchange, then the level of stakeholders participation will increase
  2. If there is an increase in the perception of justice principle, then the level of stakeholders participation will increase
  3. If there is an increase in the coercion of a stakeholder, then the level of stakeholders participation will decrease
  4. If there is an increase the level of social participation, then the level of stakeholders participation will decrease
  5. If there is an increase in the level of economical participation, then the level of stakeholders participation will decrease
  6. Type of benefit (economic, social, environmental) which stakeholder may receive for participating in the formulation of a spatial plan is the predominant factor for his inclusion in the process


This part of the research is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with stakeholders and their representatives. The interviews will be intensive and semi-structured and will be, at a minimum, one hour in length. The identification of stakeholders will be done by impact zoning (IFC, 1998), following the guidelines of Brown (2007). The further development of stakeholder list will be done via snowball technique. Many types of data have to be drawn out of an interview, which actually calls for application of discourse analysis. This analysis will be performed through appropriate software packages like MAXQDA.

For the secondary data the following groups of information have to be gathered:

  • Data on spatial characteristics of Nature Park Medvednica; Spatial planning drafts and all background studies and maps,
  • Data on policy development of spatial planning in Nature Park Medvednica ; A review of policies and site specific documents
  • General data ; A review of the relevant literature, reports and of historical data.


2010 - 2015


Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the International climate protection fellowship


Prof. Dr. Werner Konold, Prof. Dr. Margaret A. Shannon


Nataša Lovrić



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