A citizens' jury has been working to refresh the Future Melbourne strategy. It's part of a broader shift from government decision-making for communities to decision-making with communities.
Mining proposals are often hugely controversial in South Africa and can even lead to violence. Better strategic assessments based on participation and precaution would help.
Cities are home to many different people who will not always agree. We need to learn to embrace public debate as an ongoing, constructive process for working through diverse views and values.
The NERC is not the first organisation to come unstuck by asking for public input.
Developing countries often welcome Australian mining companies into their communities, but when things go wrong, communication is key.