Rethinking Participation, Rethinking Planning
Planning Theory and Practice, 2017, vol 18, pp. 566-582. doi: 10.1080/14649357.2017.1371788
26 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017 Last revised: 13 Jul 2018
Date Written: 2017
If planning is more than ‘what planners do’, what does this mean for efforts to make planning more inclusive and representative? This article examines the connection between efforts to democratise the practice of planning and efforts to democratise its definition. Drawing on insurgent historiography, I argue that public participation was not introduced in the twentieth century, it was reimagined. Just as mainstream planning histories have been challenged as efforts to claim and legitimate certain roles for the professional planner, celebratory narratives of participation as a post-1960s phenomenon can similarly be understood as an effort to contain and control the work of planning. Instead of a bounded, professional and state-led process to which participatory practices can (and should) be added, this article puts forth an account of planning as a contingent and continuing process extending well beyond the profession.
Keywords: Urban Planning, Public Participation, Critical Theory, Planning History, Actor Network Theory
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