Introduction: in Technology and Public Participation
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A few hundred years ago, to talk of technology and public participation would have been meaningless to most people. Dramatic changes have occurred in both these areas.
The word "technology" today often brings to mind sophisticated things like computers, missiles and genetic engineering. But it also includes everyday items such as chairs, clothes, paper and toothbrushes. For someone who lives in a city in an industrialised country, one's entire life seems to take place within a technological framework: driving a car or taking a train to work in an office building, communicating by telephone and electronic mail, purchasing goods manufactured in factories, eating food processed in other factories, using energy produced in distant plants, perhaps consulting a doctor who uses diagnostic equipment, going home to a house or apartment built from materials mined and processed, and sleeping on a manufactured bed.