|Planning and Engaging with Intercultural Communities|
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Phil Wood et al £2.50
48 pages 2006 Comedia
This report sets out to advise, inform, inspire and add value to the work of practitioners in the fields of planning, built environment and community development. It is not a ‘toolkit’ of techniques for public consultation. Rather, it aims to encourage a rethink of public consultation. More specifically its aims are:
• To identify principles of good practice in community engagement, participatory urban planning and development.
• To then establish how participatory planning and development can contribute to community cohesion.
• Finally, to set out the case for a new and dynamic ‘intercultural’ praxis which seeks out difference, is able to manage conflict, and is focused upon adding value and values to our communities. There are six key messages central to a better understanding of communities and to strengthening internal connections within them:
• Cultural diversity means more ideas, more options and more opportunities – the challenge for Britain’s communities is to realise this diversity advantage.
• Realising diversity advantage means bringing people of different cultures together so that they can learn from each other and co-operate in an intercultural way.
• Extending and enriching public engagement in the planning and development of neighbourhoods is now the norm, not the exception. Good practice builds longterm relationships within and between communities.
• Good community engagement requires techniques but is really about having the right attitudes and skills.
• Good community engagement does more than canvass opinion. Everyone has a story to tell, emotions to express and wisdom to impart and a good practitioner can find and interpret them and turn them into a unifying narrative. This requires a skill which professionals ignore at their peril – cultural competence.
• A corollary of change is conflict. Planning and development which avoids conflict may cause more harm than conflict itself. Good practice takes not the line of least resistance but the harder yet more creative road of conflict-management, mediation and relationship-building. Employing a series of cases studies, discussion of techniques, extensive resources section and findings from a survey, this is a usable and practical document.
“This report offers advice and insight into how the new planning for intercultural communities can proceed. It rightly emphasises the importance of effective engagement and it demonstrates how this can engender local `ownership’ and community cohesion. I am delighted that the Academy for Sustainable Communities has been able to support the research.”
Professor Peter Roberts
Chair of the Academy for Sustainable Communities