Whose vision, whose places, whose future?: Charrettes in the Scottish planning system

Kordas, Michael, Stewart (2020) Whose vision, whose places, whose future?: Charrettes in the Scottish planning system. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The Scottish Government has provided funding to both local governments and community organisations to hold ‘charrette’ collaborative planning and design workshops, from 2010 to present. These resources make Scotland an ideal location to examine the role of citizen participation in contemporary planning practice. This research asks the question “To what extent do charrettes offer a new way for communities to participate and be empowered within the planning process?” It analyses the story of the charrette’s journey from the U.S.A to Scotland and its subsequent evolution within three different contexts. The research takes the form of a multiple case study. The primary data was gathered through work in the archive, semi structured interviews and observation at real world charrette events. The research argues that charrettes in Scotland both defy the conventions of the planning system but are also bound by them. It has traditionally been planning professionals that guide local development, on the assumption that their training justifies them to act in the public interest. As such, planners are popularly perceived as either not trying, or being unable to understand the lived experiences of a place in the way that their citizens can. At their best, I argue that Scottish charrettes disrupt this order, by creating an atmosphere of partnership between planners and citizens. This can build a great deal of momentum, energy and hope within the host community, that their vision for their place will be realised. At worst however, my research highlights that this momentum dissipates soon after the charrette event has ended, taking local people back to where they started. Nevertheless, my research reveals that these disappointments do not necessarily preclude communities from pursuing their own strategies to implement change, nor their own vision for local development. My thesis makes a significant original contribution to the theoretical debate over the participative ethos in planning. It tells the story of how an internationally sourced policy initiative evolves in a different country. I develop a unique theoretical framework to examine the power dynamics that characterised both the Scottish Government’s funding programme and the individual charrettes that have taken place within. Finally, I shed light on the lived experience of taking part in a charrette and the interpersonal encounters that happen between citizens and practitioners.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full version of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the edited version (images removed) is available.
Keywords: Urban planning, urban design, human geography,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Supervisor's Name: Adams, Professor David and White, Dr. James
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Michael Kordas
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81322
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 May 2020 08:51
Last Modified: 12 May 2020 15:29
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81322

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