Collaboratice Community Plannng
Heywood, Philip R. (2004) Collaboratice Community Plannng. Australian Planner, 41(2), pp. 30-33.
As a practical profession, planning has always needed to link action to ideas and values. Most Planning courses have devoted a substantial part of their time to practical project work designed to produce physical and social change. This has often led them into advocacy roles, involving active cooperation between students and local community and promotional groups. There has, however, been less collaboration with governments or businesses and very little attempt to convene active partnerships with all three groups to develop and test new ideas. Indeed, until recently, planning discourse has been marked by a division between quite abstract academic theory and practice that was strongly influenced by the regulatory roles assigned to the profession by governments.
There is, nonetheless, an inherent need to link theory and practice. Conceptual theory, referring only to other theories, runs the risk of circling back to an isolated ivory tower, which neither the profession nor the general community want to visit. Equally, practice which does not review its activities against aims, or reflect upon how to improve performance, risks becoming conservative and ultimately irrelevant. As well as practitioners and theorists, other parties also need to be involved. The people experiencing the situations and problems which planners aim to resolve need to be heard in their own cases, since none of us can stand in others’ shoes. This fusion of ideas and practice requires the inclusion of private and community players, a continuing stream of good information about individual and community needs, and development of ideas to provide new solutions. These in turn demand adequate supplies of well-informed and motivated young practitioners to operate the new system of community based action planning.
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