"They are the only experts"

"We should only consult with residents when they are the ones that can best answer the question at hand. But in those moments, they should be treated as the experts they are. […]

“Expertise is unfashionable right now, partly because our society is not very good at understanding who is expert at what, so we give too much power to some people and not enough power to others. […]

"Sadly, we don’t see residents as experts. This is a critical and corrosive mistake. Of course, they certainly are not experts in how to reduce greenhouse gases, or pave roads, or pick bike routes. They should not be picking beams for a bridge.

"But citizens of a city do know how the built environment makes them feel, and how they would like to feel.

"They are experts in how increasing taxes will stress them out. They are experts in hidden secrets of their streets and alleys. They are experts in the amenities they want for themselves and their family. They are the only experts. Their expertise should be respected.”

From “Most Public Engagement Is Worse Than Worthless
by sustainability consultant Ruben Anderson, August 6, 2018