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Knowledge, Participation and Reason in Spatial Planning and Design

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This lecture makes a defence of participation in urban planning and design by arguing that decisions must be made taking different kinds of knowledge into account. Diversity in knowledge os also a tool for democracy building.

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Knowledge, Participation and Reason in Spatial Planning and Design

  1. 1. Prepared by Roberto Rocco Chair Spatial Planning and Strategy, TU Delft Governance for Urbanism Participation andReason inSpatialPlanningand Design Photos by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  2. 2. The Governance Lecture Series Prepared by Roberto Rocco Chair Spatial Planning and Strategy, TU Delft
  3. 3. This is the second lecture on Governance for Urbanism, in which I present a contrast of two relevant terms for spatial planning and design of the built environment.
  4. 4. In the first lecture, I contrasted ‘justice’ and ‘property’ * *See the lecture on JUSTICE X PROPERTY by clicking HERE
  5. 5. Here, I contrast ‘participation’ and ‘reason’
  6. 6. This lecture is based mainly on Lehtonen (2011), Fainstein (2000) and Harvey (2008) *See complete list of references at the end.
  7. 7. If we assume that... Knowledge is INTER- SUBJECTIVE and it happens between two or more reasoning beings I You
  8. 8. It is easy to assume that Knowledge is COMMUNICATIVE, that is, only through communication can we achieve knowledge that is relevant or ‘usable’ or even TRUE
  9. 9. But why is that so? Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  10. 10. Knowledge needs to be explained and explainable in order to become tangible , transmissible and verifiable Even EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE (acquired by experience or LEARNING BY DOING) needs to materialise into actions, things or words that then need to be discussed and measured against other knowledge in order to become operational in the physical world.
  11. 11. Otherwise One cannever know whether what one has is true knowledge or just pure fantasy Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  12. 12. Remember that... Knowledge that exists only in your mind is IRRELEVANT! Because it is not operating in the world!
  13. 13. It is more than validation It is not only about validating your knowledge. Communicating your knowledge will make it EXIST in the world and BE USEFUL. Communicating knowledge will also CHANGE YOUR knowledge, YOU and the person you are communicating WITH.
  14. 14. The ultimate test Are the others! Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  15. 15. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  16. 16. But what (the hell) does this have to do with spatial planning and urban design?
  17. 17. If we acknowledge that urban planners and designers are part of complex systems of governance
  18. 18. Like so Private Sector Civil Society Public Sector Civil Public Sector Coalitions between sectors and within sectors Urban planners & Designers
  19. 19. And if we then assume that... Urban planning and designing are inter subjective activities, where it is all about understanding the wishes and aspirations of multiple stakeholders to help them achieve THEIR objectives...
  20. 20. ...while promoting prosperity, public goods, equal distribution of spatial opportunities and avoiding negative externalities…
  21. 21. Then we must conclude that any project or spatial intervention needs to have some degree of participation of those stake holders
  22. 22. This means that individual or sectorial needs and wishes must be articulated into plans and designs that maximise the common good
  23. 23. Why is this problematic? Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  24. 24. There are no neutral or purely ‘technical’ parameters or agents in urban development. All decisions in urban development are political decisions, including yours*, because they depend on negotiation, agreement, friction and power relationships *Although you will certainly guide them by technical, ethical, aesthetic, economic and other parameters.
  25. 25. Urban development lies within the realm of politics, interests and negotiations. Knowledge and power are side by side, like in everything else.
  26. 26. But then, there is REASON Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  27. 27. And most specially COMMUNICATIVE REASON
  28. 28. Guiding decisions by technical, ethical, aesthetic, economic and other parameters is part of reasoning
  29. 29. By saying that spatial planning and design are ‘political’ activities we mean that there are choices to be made in a societal arena: these choices are made by active agents based on their values and interests Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  30. 30. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr Values like Social Justice and Democracy
  31. 31. Or greed and individualism Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  32. 32. Photo by epsos.de at Flickr The problem is that not everyone has a voice in urban development. Some agents are more vocal (powerful) than others..
  33. 33. Not everybody has access to relevant knowledge Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  34. 34. Worse still: the knowledge of some groups is considered irrelevant or is not recognized as knowledge Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  35. 35. Children Young girl by CubaGallery at Flickr
  36. 36. Mothers Pregnant woman by IzdelavaVabil at Flickr
  37. 37. Homeless Homeless man in Tokyo by theeruditefrog at Flickr
  38. 38. Immigrants Diversity in the workplace, available at http://www.siop2011.com/category/diversity/
  39. 39. in addition! Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  40. 40. “People don’t only write history, they build spaces” WAGNER, C. 2011. Spatial Justice and the City of São Paulo. masters, Leuphana University.
  41. 41. According to David Harvey: The Right to the City is not only the right to inhabit the city. It is the right to shape living environments to one’s needs and wishes. HARVEY, D. 2008. The Right to the City. New Left Review. New Left Review.
  42. 42. Articulating the knowledge of different groups does not mean absolute relativism
  43. 43. Absolute relativism: This is an extreme form of relativism which asserts that all truths are equal and completely dependent upon some external or contextual factors. Source: Post-modernist dictionary at http:// www.postmodernpsychology.com/Postmodernism_Dictionary.html And this is postmodernism!
  44. 44. It also does not mean that all knowledge is valid or relevant By the way, ‘knowledge’ is different from needs, wishes or even objectives (e.g. I KNOW that having a big car is bad for the environment, but I WANT to have a big car because it is a symbol of status)
  45. 45. In order to create knowledge about the direction to take and where to invest in the common interest, there must be communication and we can facilitate communication by promoting PARTICIPATION
  46. 46. Participation therefore means giving a voice to those who are generally silent, ultimately redistributing power Some rights reserved by Ibai Lemon at Flickr
  47. 47. This is also known as DEMOCRACY Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  48. 48. Participation is more... ...than asking people what they want. It is also about explaining, collecting ideas, debating and putting different stakeholders (NGOs, firms, associations) together in order to engage them and facilitate their working together
  49. 49. Communicative turn in planning It is the recognition of differences in the identity and knowledge base of people and the resulting need to promote participation and give a voice to the former silent groups Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  50. 50. It is about recognising that... 1.All forms of knowledge are socially constructed 2. Individuals and institutions have different interests and power relations 3. Society is complex and planning should incorporate that complexity in the way it operates
  51. 51. Communicative planning is a reaction to earlier comprehensive, rationalistic, technocratic planning theories which adopted a ‘single world view’ (white male Western technocrat ) President Kennedy visits NY World Fair, Photo source: http://ilongisland.com/Robert_Moses_Long_Island.htm A reaction to positivist planning
  52. 52. THEN All knowing NOW Mediator
  53. 53. Participatory planning and designing Emphasises involving the community in the strategic and management processes of spatial planning through tools like direct participation, vision making, on-line debates and participatory budgeting
  54. 54. Participatory Reflection and Action Handing over the stick : Facilitating investigation, analysis, presentation and learning by local people themselves, so they generate and own the outcomes and also learn Self-critical awareness: Facilitators continuously and critically examine their own behaviour Personal responsibility: Taking responsibility for what is done, rather than, for instance, relying on the authority of manuals or on rigid rules Sharing: Involves the wide range of techniques now available, from chatting across the fence to online scenario building Source: Fisher, Fred (2001). Building Bridges through Participatory Planning. UN-HABITAT. ISBN 92-1-131623-5. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  55. 55. What are the challenges to implement participation in planning and designing processes? Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  56. 56. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr This part of the lecture is based on Lehtonen’s text: LEHTONEN, S., 2011. Public Participation in Urban Planning and Strategies: Lessons from medium sized cities in the Baltic Region, Frederiksberg: MECIBS
  57. 57. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr We must consider the human and social capital of inhabitants as POTENTIALS FOR REVITALISATION in situations of rapid change Potential for revitalization
  58. 58. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr Avoiding social exclusion Participation is a tool to build up citizenship and to avoid social exclusion (which is often related to restructuring local economies and unemployment)
  59. 59. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr New innovative arenas and processes ...are needed to realise place- potential and people- potentials
  60. 60. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr These new arenas, devices, tools and means of participation are necessary for all, but specially for the silent groups (children, youth, elderly people, people of different ethnic origin, and in some cases, WOMEN!) Silent groups
  61. 61. Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr Time, money and increasing argumentation Participatory processes need resources: time, organizational efforts, communication and commitment (from inhabitants AND administrations!). For the city it entails increasing criticism and increasing need for argumentation
  62. 62. Humancapital Socialinclusion Newtools Silentgroups Resources Participation Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  63. 63. What politician needs that? Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  64. 64. It is incredibly time consuming! Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  65. 65. Non-participatory plans can also deliver good results Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  66. 66. There is a huge gap between participatory discourses and practices Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  67. 67. ‘City building requires empowering those who are excluded not just from the DISCUSSION but from structural positions that allow them genuine influence’. (Fainstein, Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  68. 68. But can participation deliver better results? Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  69. 69. Yes, it can! Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  70. 70. Tools & Practices Photo by Sarah Cass at Flickr
  71. 71. Self-teaching: locals act as teachers Public hearings Participatory budget Participatory zoning Main practices for
  72. 72. Questionnaires and Interviews Public hearings Direct planner- stakeholder contact Internet games and scenario building Social media hearings Strategy-making games Role playing Local plan making Blogging Map and model building Stakeholder mapping Institutional diagramming Time-lines and trend analysis Main tools for PP
  73. 73. Agora: the wisdom of crowds
  74. 74. Budget simulator
  75. 75. All our ideas
  76. 76. See examples of tools at: http://participatedb.com/tools/
  77. 77. Thanks for listening and watching!
  78. 78. References: FAINSTEIN, S. 2000. New Directions in Planning Theory. Urban Affairs Review, 35, 451-478. FISHER, Fred (2001). Building Bridges through Participatory Planning. UN-HABITAT. . Retrieved 2008-10-21. HARVEY, D. 2008. The Right to the City. New Left Review. New Left Review. LEHTONEN, S., 2011. Public Participation in Urban Planning and Strategies: Lessons from medium sized cities in the Baltic Region, Frederiksberg: MECIBS Post-modernist dictionary at http:// www.postmodernpsychology.com/Postmodernism_Dictionary.html WAGNER, C. 2011. Spatial Justice and the City of São Paulo. masters, Leuphana University.
  79. 79. This presentation was prepared by Roberto Rocco, Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) You can contact me at r.c.rocco@tudelft.nl With special thanks to Sarah Cass from the US, who gracefully allowed the use of her photographs. You can see the original photographs at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahcassphotography/ And this is Joel (Sarah’s husband)This is Sarah SpatialPlanning &Strategy&Strategy
  80. 80. Some rights reserved by Jonathan Mcintosh at Flickr

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