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'Participation as Planning': Strategies from the South to Challenge the Limits of Planning

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Participation and collaborative approaches to planning have become central in urban debates and practices. Critiques about the limitations of 'participation in planning', however, have led to the development of a series of approaches that build beyond 'collaborative' understandings of planning. Approaches such as insurgent or postcollaborative planning, movement-initiated co-production, socio-spatial learning, agonistic practices or participation as political have moved the understanding of planning towards a wider spectrum of city-making practices, beyond disciplinary and professional boundaries, and in which some forms of participation become the very practice of planning. This article builds on those debates, proposing an understanding of 'participation as planning'. Building on Southern urban theory and recognizing the difference between a discussion about participation and one that looks at planning through participation, the article proposes to recognize that there is a range of experiences of participatory city-making taking place in urban contexts, some of which fall into one of the referred categories, while others have remained as a 'blind-spot' in planning debates. The article identifies and discusses a series of strategies that have emerged from Southern contexts, and that represent ways of dealing with planning limits: collective forms of spatial production that respond to the inadequacy of planning instruments to engage with diverse processes of city-making situated beyond dominant practices; partnership-oriented practices that react to the neoliberalization and financialization of planning; and advocacyoriented practices to contest abusive planning practices which violate human rights.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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