The interpretation and operation of planning guidelines relating to private housing estates in Ireland, and the structures for involving residents in their management thereafter, are examined. Institutional and legislative weaknesses underlying the current approaches to estate management have created a range of governance deficits, with potentially longer-term adverse impacts for the development of a sense of local community and for the promotion of participatory democracy and civil society. Drawing on evidence from several recently constructed private housing estates, this paper explores these issues in terms of the institutional context in which planning policies are being administered and the relative position of the relevant stakeholders within this process. An open, participatory approach, that recognises residents as legitimate stakeholders in the process of managing their own estates, is strongly advocated.
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