“Engagements with Participatory Planning: Women’s Safety Audits, Rescue Geographies, and Creating ‘Creative Cities’”
• Pollock & Sharp (2012) Real participation or the tyranny of participatory practice? Public art and community involvement in the regeneration of the Raploch, Scotland, Urban Studies, pp. 1-17
• Jones & Evans (2012) Rescue Geography: Place making, affect and regeneration, Urban Studies, 49, pp. 2315–2330
• Review WICI (2010) Together for Women’s Safety
• Lozner (2004) Diffusion of local regulatory innovations: The San Francisco CEDAW ordinance, Columbia Law Review, 104, pp. 768-800
For those who would like to write a Reading Response for Oct 24, here are four questions that you may consider to prompt your writing:
- How do these texts illustrate the concept of ‘urban regeneration’?
- Imagine these authors having a conversation with one another on the theme of participatory engagement. What overall picture of participatory engagement might emerge from that conversation?
- Jones & Evans develop the idea of ‘rescue geography’ as a way to engage local communities in urban redevelopment. (You can see more examples of this project here: http://www.rescuegeography.org.uk/) Rescue geography revisits (and builds upon) concepts that we’ve already discussed: in particular, what it means to have an embodied sense of place and how perceptual memory is relevant to our understanding of place. Consider your own experience with urban change (e.g., changes to your neighbourhood; development projects that have been undertaken or are ongoing; etc.) Is there a place where you might employ (or might have employed) rescue geography to inform urban development? For example, is there a place you feel attached to that is undergoing – or has recently undergone – rapid change? How might you deploy rescue geography to influence the changes that are taking place (or have taken place)?
- How might women’s safety audits and a rescue geography model be used together in the service of transforming places in the city?
This week, we revisit some now-common themes for us: participatory urbanism, “active” citizenship, and critical engagements with institutionalizing human rights initiatives (in the CEDAW case) and community participation in both governance and urban development. These texts speak to how and where “the rubber meets the road” – or fails to meet the road – in terms of community engagement. They prompt us to ask how community engagement and participatory urbanism can be conducted in meaningful ways that effect long-term policy changes and community empowerment.
We will address this question and the many thought-provoking questions that students posed (see below) in four “acts”, if you will.
In the first act, we will talk history: where did the impetus for participatory governance come from, anyway? One answer to this question can be gleaned from the momentum generated in the mid/late 20th century by laws meant to decrease the sense of alienation from government, coupled with civil actions that were conducted in response to state-directed development projects. The siting of highways in urban areas, for example, caused tremendous upheaval and encouraged social activism within and beyond the affected neighbourhoods. (Keep in mind that this kind of social activism is not necessarily progressive. It also becomes evident during NIMBY-ist attempts to resist efforts toward social integration, such as the development of social housing in high income neighbourhoods.)
In the second act, we will talk current context: we will look specifically at the rise of urban entrepreneurial policy and the drive for cities to be “creative”. We will have a visiting speaker via skype, thanks to the (hopefully functional) wonders of technology. Our guest will be Heather McLean, who recently finished a PhD at York University and specialises in creativity in policy and planning. She will talk about critiques of the creative city thesis and initiatives that have emerged from artist collectives and artist-run centres, such as Mammalian Diving Reflex and Don Blanche. If you have a chance to look at these links in advance of class, please do.
Acts three and four will be student-directed, through facilitation and the pre-meeting questions. We will apply conversations about rescue geographies and “real” participatory planning to the SFU campus, Vancouver, Lower Mainland contexts.