2015) Partnerships of learning for planning education Who is learning what from whom? The beautiful messiness of learning partnerships/Experiential learning partnerships in Australian and New Zealand higher education planning programmes/Resnonverba? rediscovering the social purpose of planning (and the university): The Westfield Action Research Project/At the coalface, Take2: Lessons from students' critical reflections/Education for "cubed change"/Unsettling planning education through community-engaged teaching and learning:
Following Baum’s proposition that planning be understood as “the organization of hope,” there has been limited scholarly engagement with what might be involved in fostering hope through planning practices. Reflecting on three years of participatory action learning and research on a deprived housing estate in Sheffield in Northern England, we explore core challenges raised by appealing to hope as an objective of community-led planning. Overall, we argue for further work to explore how the organizational technologies of planning relate to core dimensions of hope, including the ways in which unevenly developed capacities to aspire and shape diverse modes of hoping.
This article furthers understanding of how commercial imperatives are reshaping dominant conceptions of planning practice in England, and by extension the production of the built environment more widely. We make an original contribution by tracing the emergence of the logic of commercialisation in England, demonstrating how the impacts of austerity and ‘market-led viability planning’ have entrenched the ‘delivery state’, a powerful disciplinary matrix representing late-neoliberal governance. Through in-depth, ethnographic study of a local planning authority, we argue that commercialisation within the delivery state creates a distinct ‘economy of attention’, reshaping planners’ agency and professional identities, and the substance and scope of their work. The conclusion draws out wider implications of commercialisation for planning in and beyond the delivery state.
PurposeAs part of a wider ethnographic project that examines the significance of the public interest across three public and private sector UK planning organisations, this paper uses tea-drinking as a lens to understand structural forces around outsourcing and commercialisation. Reflecting across the five case studies, the analysis supports Burawoy's (2017) recent critique of Desmond's Relational Ethnography (2014). Using Perec's (1997) notion of the “infra-ordinary” as an anchor, it highlights the insight that arises from an intimate focus on mundane rituals and artefacts.Design/methodology/approachThe data were gathered through participant observation, chronicling the researchers' encounters with tea in each of the sites. A respondent-led photography exercise was successful at two sites. Up to 40 days of ethnographic fieldwork were carried out in each site.FindingsThe tea-drinking narratives, while providing an intact description of discrete case study sites, exist in conversation with each other, providing an opportunity for comparison that informs the analysis and helping us to understand the meaning-making process of the planners both in and across these contexts.Originality/valueThe paper contributes to critical planning literature (Murphy and Fox-Rogers, 2015; Raco et al., 2016), illuminating structural forces around outsourcing and commercialisation. It also generates methodological reflection on using an everyday activity to probe organisational culture and promote critical reflection on “weighty” issues across study sites.
The label, Participatory Action Research (PAR), seems to be a good one, describing research oriented towards making change in which the interested parties actively participate. In identifying key principles or characteristics, proponents begin to tell us more about what drives it: a collective commitment to participation and democracy at all stages of the research process, from identifying issues to finding useful solutions (McIntyre, 2008; Reason & Bradbury, 2008). This situates PAR as a self-conscious reaction against 'traditional' and particularly positivistic approaches to social scientific researchwhereby 'neutral' researchers are in control of identifying research questions, extracting data from participants and deciding what it meansand points towards its ethical and political coordinates , as both critique and response to inequitable balances of power and resource. As Saija (2014) has made clear in this journal, this is not only political but also ideological, a commitment to engaging in democracy as process and working towards social change. It is hard to find a route to PAR within planning, then, without understanding it to some degree as a turn away from planning's problematic modernist legacy. We are implicated by association with a tradition that planned for people, that gave perceived material improvement with one hand whilst disenfranchising with the other, undoing community cohesion and attachments to place that had developed in some cases over many generations. From this starting point PAR can seem to represent a new moral benchmark, affirming our commitment to social justice and engaging participants from the start of projects in identifying, investigating and finding solutions to problems (McIntyre, 2008). As a way of enacting the laudable values that are still central to the planning project in collaboration with impacted people, we might even characterise this as an attempted return to planning's roots as a social movement. This ethical drive can lead to a temptation, however, to rely heavily on the distinction between good or genuine PAR and PAR that fails to hit the mark. Whilst thinking about what makes good PAR has to be central to reflective practice, it is also the case that any attempt to enact it will end up being, in some sense, an exercise in failure; or perhaps more constructively, in learning from failure. In highlighting this aspect of PAR I hope to contribute constructively to ongoing debates within the discipline and this journal, particularly in bringing together Raynor's (2019) recent contribution and the Interface on learning from mistakes (Campbell, Forester, & Sanyal, 2018). Raynor persuasively argues that Early Career Researchers (ECRs) face particular structural barriers and disproportionate challenges in conducting PAR. My aim is to shed a different light on these issues through offering a complementary perspective, based on my experience as a PhD student and an ECR.
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