Richárd Szántó, Siting decisions – siting conflicts

Richárd Szántó, assistant professor à l’université Corvinus de Budapest, interviendra sur l’invitation du GSPR à l’EHESS le vendredi 29 mars – 11h – 13h,  en salle 4 du 105 Bd Raspail.

Siting decisions – siting conflicts

In this paper I investigate what factors influence social conflicts around siting (location) decisions in Hungary. After media analysis it turned out that 166 cases of Hungarian siting
conflicts occurred between 1998 and 2007. Descriptive statistical analyses were made on the sample of siting conflicts seeking for patterns in the set of cases and investigating how and to what extent socioeconomic factors influence the outcomes of siting decisions. Selecting three particular cases from the sample a comparative case study was elaborated analyzing individual cases of the Hungarian cement industry. The latter empirical research revealed that certain key categories around the conflicts can be identified. It turned out that different stakeholder groups see risk factors of the new facilities differently. Company representatives and their NGO or political supporters consider risk much lower than their opponents. The analysis of the interviews also showed that communication is one of the most important aspects of siting conflicts. Nevertheless this is mostly one-way communication. Although there were some steps made to enable public participation in the decision making process this participation remained in the level of tokenism, citizens are only informed, consulted and placated by the companies, real citizen control is missing. However, it is apparent that there are some issues that are beyond the firms’ capacities. They cannot really handle issues like the overall distrust and skepticism of the Hungarian society, and it is apparent that siting conflicts become political games – among many others – in Hungary that also makes consensus building more complicated.

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