Risk Communication and Public Participation: A Case Study of Building Hsih-Chu's Science-based Industrial Park in I-lan

Author Info
Wen-Ling Tu, Li-Wen Shih, Ting-I Huang
Assistant professor, Department of Public Policy and Management, Shih Hsin University; Research assistant, Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University; Graduate student, Department of Public Policy and Management, Shih Hsin University

Public participation and risk communication have become important components in environmental decision-making processes. However, public opposition and mistrust during risk communication often cripple policy-making processes. This case study examines risk communications on high-tech environmental controversies in three public forums (an Environmental Impact Assessment public hearing, a social protest, and a citizens' conference). This paper argues that policy-makers' technocratic tendency prevents them from communicating effectively with the public about environmental risk. Although avenues of public participation have increased, risk communication has not really improved, and the current policy-making mechanism addresses the issue of risk management insufficiently and lacks a design for better communication. This paper concludes that deliberative democracy may provide a better way to facilitate public communication of risk and thus improve the quality of public discussions and policy decision-making processes.


Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine, Number 5 (October 2007), 71-110.