Monday, February 1, 2010

blast from the past - Neighborhood Planning as Collaborative Democratic Design

This article, published in The Journal of the American Planning Association, analyzed the factors that made the last round of Seattle's neighborhood planning successful - worth being aware of as we look forward to updating West Seattle's neighborhoood plans (at SOME point).

The author's abstract:

Results and conclusions: The city of Seattle developed a set of tools and resources to empower local citizens in the planning process while also holding them accountable for actions consistent with specified broad values and planning targets. This, together with the city’s substantial investment in neighborhood planning staff, who served as relational organizers and intermediaries of trust, was critical to the success of neighborhood planning and to the emergence of collaborative governance culture among highly diverse and often contentious community associations, business interests, city departments, and the city council.

Takeaway for practice: Diverse neighborhoods can find common ground and make positive progress on planning to address shared citywide concerns. However, they need staff assistance to do this. Neighborhood planners can play this role, but only if cities fund them to do this timeconsuming work and provide institutional support and guidance.

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