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About this book

A major new introduction to planning by one of the leading figures in the field. This text goes beyond description of planning's central ideas and practices to stress the importance of its potential to improve the quality of life in the 21st century.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Planning Project

We care about the places where we live our lives. We get used to their pathways and pleasures, and learn to navigate their tensions and dark corners. We want freedom to find our own ways, but often agitate for collective action to define some rules, some general constraints to protect what we value and to reduce the tensions that arise as we co-exist with others in shared spaces. There are stories from across the world of people mobilising to improve and protect the qualities of the places they live in, work in and care about. Such struggles are especially intense where many different groups, often with different cultures, values and modes of living, share common resources or, as in urban areas, inhabit the same physical space. In these struggles, we form and re-form our ideas of ourselves and our social worlds, of identity and solidarity, of individual freedoms and social responsibilities.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 2. Understanding Places

Planning activity is often associated in the popular mind with disruptions and eyesores: the motorway that leaps across the urban landscape, dividing neighbourhoods and disrupting perspectives; the housing estate given prizes for design that is a nightmare to live in. Yet the planning project of the twentieth century grew in response to the challenge of rapid urban development occurring in a piecemeal fashion in the industrialising nineteenth century. This created burgeoning urban complexes, where dynamism co-existed with extreme pollution, congestion, poverty and health hazards, the ‘city of dreadful night’ (see Hall 1988). Today, urban megalopolises with multiple centres where many millions of people live, work and do business have emerged in many parts of the world. The challenge is to make urban places liveable, sustainable and accessible, both in their centres and in other places where people congregate and live.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 3. Understanding Governance

People manage and develop places in all kinds of ways as they try to improve the environments in which they live. However, one person’s initiative can easily get in the way of another’s. All kinds of ways of managing and developing place qualities to deal with the challenges of sharing a place with others are therefore to be found in large urban areas. Sometimes these involve providing a framework of ground rules. Or a proactive orientation may be taken, mobilising energy to undertake major projects, or enhance specific place qualities, or provide for neglected needs. Action to deal with shared problems may emerge to protect valued locales, facilities or particular qualities. Such activity is motivated by a recognition that one person’s concerns are shared with others, and helps to create a ‘public’ that has a collective stake in what happens in a place. It reflects and constitutes a ‘public interest’ that those who make up such a public have in the qualities of a place.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 4. Shaping Neighbourhood Change

Neighbourhoods are where we live and establish daily patterns as we move around and beyond them. For some, a neighbourhood is a vaguely sensed backcloth as we scurry along to somewhere else. For others, it is where we relax, chat to passers-by, call at the corner shop, worry about what other people around us do in case they disrupt our living environment with visual or noise intrusions. It is where our intimate private lives bump up against the strangers who are our neighbours (Sandercock 2000). Sometimes the resultant tensions are too great. New people move in with different habits or tolerances. People living elsewhere start using our neighbourhood as a through route. Local green spaces get littered because no one is managing them. Governments propose large projects that threaten massive disruption, which may be temporary or permanent.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 5. Managing Neighbourhood Change

This chapter moves from experiences in which significant transformative changes in neighbourhood management practices were achieved, to situations where contextual conditions make it much harder to achieve such changes. No political momentum among residents in the locality created the energy for change. A planning orientation was maintained in the first case by local government planners, doing what they saw as what their profession demanded. In the second case, a charitable non-government agency (NGO) initiated a neighbourhood improvement project, which was realised by staff with backgrounds primarily in community development work, a field of activity that shares many values in common with the planning field. In the first case, citizens were not discontented with their City Council, largely accepting the services delivered to them as part of the flow of ‘normal life’, though they were very concerned about their neighbourhood environments. In the second case, any formal government activity was experienced as remote and inaccessible, associated with a history of a repressive and racially discriminatory regime. Although the case spans the collapse of this regime and its replacement by a democratic one, people still associated ‘government’ with their past difficulties.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 6. Transforming Places through Major Projects

Our lives are not only lived in the flow of daily routines. We also go to special places, for celebrations, for enjoyment, or because key resources are concentrated there. For firms, there are locales with particular kinds of business climate. For people who like shopping and window gazing, some locales have a special seductive power. For societies and social groups, some places express special qualities about themselves and their cultures in their buildings, landscapes and ambiences. In Paris, the grand, tree-lined avenue of the Champs Elysée connects the old city core with the Arc de Triomphe to the west. In London, people enjoy the walk from Piccadilly Circus through the shopping environments of Regent Street and then beyond Oxford Street up to Regent’s Park. Or they may take a short light-rail trip from the old heart of the City of London to a new financial and leisure locale with a completely different ambience at Canary Wharf. And after visiting smaller cities such as Boston and Barcelona, tourists go home with memories of historic waterfronts, where they have been able to idle along among shops and restaurants and attractive public spaces.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 7. Producing Place-Development Strategies

In this chapter I shift the focus of attention from the neighbourhood and the major urban project to the wider places, or localities, in which both are situated. This presents challenges to the imagination, as the ‘place’ of the city or urban region or sprawling megalopolis is not easy to grasp as an ‘entity’ or whole (see Chapter 2). For some, it is symbolised by the pathways through it. For others, the place is embodied in key buildings, or facilities, or the ambience of particular locales, such as the city centre. It may often seem an overly abstract exercise to focus policy attention on the evolving dynamics and qualities of such amorphous and ungraspable large areas. Yet as the previous chapters have shown, the more concrete activities of development management and the reconfiguration of large parts of the urban fabric have often raised issues about the relation between neighbourhoods, key urban locales and the wider urban complex. Sometimes arguments for place-development strategies are justified merely in terms of the need for better coordination between project initiatives, or between development management activities and major projects (see Hopkins 2001). But there are also strong arguments for such strategic attention deriving from the ambition of promoting the liveability and sustainability of the locales of daily life in large urban complexes. Place-governance initiatives also have to justify how and why particular neighbourhoods and locales are selected for concentrated action.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 8. Doing Planning Work

At the start of this book, I presented planning activity as seen from the outside, from the perspective of residents, critical of the wider systems that they felt ignored them, and of academics, critical of the way well-meaning government intentions opened up complex social tensions. Then, in the chapters on the different fields of place-governance work, I showed how active, committed people interacted with and enlarged moments of opportunity within which the promise of the planning project could be realised. In this chapter, I look more closely at the demands made of those who do place-governance work with a planning orientation, and especially the contribution of those trained as ‘planners’.
Patsy Healey

Chapter 9. Making Better Places

The previous chapters have taken readers on a journey through different types of deliberate place-management and development work, which I have identified as the core action arena of the ‘planning project’. This project, as I have presented it, approaches such work with the ambition of improving liveability and sustainability, and in creating places that have enriched the public realm of urban life. Through the chapters, I have tried to show how such activities are accomplished. The cases, selected because they were later judged as valuable places that made significant contributions to people’s quality of life, highlight the challenges that those involved in such work faced, and the skills and moral commitments they brought to the work. They also show that place-governance with a planning orientation involves a complex mixture of political activity, of technical expertise and moral sensibility. It is political in the sense that such work arises from the challenges of living with diverse neighbours in urban environments and deals with collective concerns about place qualities and relationships arising within a political community. It is political in another sense, in that political communities have to decide how to go about such management.
Patsy Healey
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