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A Review of the Role of Facilitators in Community-Based, Design-Led Planning and Placemaking Events

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Critics have suggested that the style of those who facilitate community-based, designled planning and placemaking events can be biased, over-powering, manipulative, and more concerned with the form of the built environment than with meeting wider community needs. Where this happens, outputs from design-led events may not deliver long-term outcomes that meet community and other stakeholders' aspirations. This article reviews the role of how facilitators are expected to operate. It sets out the opportunities and challenges of effective facilitation throughout key stages of community design processes. The literature reviewed demonstrates that high expectations are placed on facilitation, yet there are no standards for how facilitators should act nor any agreement on when their contributions might have best effect. This is significant in terms of building trust in collaborative planning processes and outcomes. The article draws together the set of skills and personal traits of facilitators, as identified in a large body of existing literature on community design processes. It brings these together to form a research agenda based on the questions raised or left unanswered, and reflects on how the facilitation of community-based, design-led interventions in the built environment might be improved.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • 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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