There has been a long history of citizen-led planning in the UK, particularly since the 1960s, when new forms of political activism and advocacy planning emerged.
Whilst there is acknowledgement of the importance of this kind of planning, and some examples where its lessons have been captured, it is the engagement in formal participation that has tended to catch the attention of planning historians and others. By contrast, community-led initiatives haven often been documented in a piecemeal way. Some particularly prominent examples have been recorded, as have those where local groups have chosen to make capturing their experience a priority, but there is a risk we are missing out much of our collective history.
A gap exists whereby we might systematically look to bring together the histories of community-led planning in the UK, to fill in the gaps and learn from experience. The “Spaces of Hope” project comes in here.
As Sue Brownill notes in the Town and Country Planning Journal (see below for full article), we have received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to gather together the “hidden histories” of community-led planning from all UK nations, to both celebrate and learn from them.
In order to ensure the success of the project we are keen to engage a broad spectrum of community planners:
- Do you know of any initiatives that you think we should be looking at? We are defining community-led planning broadly and are keen to hear about both more and less successful examples, so don’t be shy!
- Do you have documents, memorabilia, press cuttings or other material that you think we should capture digitally and preserve?
- Are you willing to talk to us about your experience of community led planning?
- Or would you like to be on a mailing list to be kept up to date on the project’s progress?