The purpose of this chapter is to create a theoretical foundation and framework within which more legal and practical discussions will be made in subsequent chapters. To achieve this, from a general environmental perspective, there will first be a clarification of the nature of the central concept of ‘the public’ that should participate. Next, various public participatory and political theories and their implications in an environmental context will be explored in order to understand how they determine the extent of public space available for participation and to enable a call for, and justification of, the best political tradition suited for effective public participation. The value of public participation, mainly in an environmental context, is also discussed from the angles of justifications and criticisms of the concept. Thereafter, in a ‘wrap-up’ fashion, an effort is made to improve understanding of the best environment for public participation to thrive.