Public participation can play different roles, and can be activated in accordance with several rules of the game. This article focuses on the relationship between the objective of increasing social and environmental justice and the main aspects of participation. The thesis expounded is that the overall meaning of all cases of participation stems from the interaction with the general context: social, political, economic and territorial. It is possible to interpret the transformative effect of participation on the basis of its meanings in relation to social justice, of the analysis of the interaction between conflict and consensus and of some examples of classification and measurement of the outcomes. Then, a cube of social effects can be created. The goal is to highlight the social results obtained, and to promote a sympathetic social deliberation able to increase social justice and equality despite the differences.