Reimagining collaboration in urban planning through a social practice lens: Towards a conceptual framework
Keywords:collaboration, collaborative planning theory, relational reading of text, social practice theory
Collaboration manifests in urban planning as central to all public engage-ment activities and is thus a powerful tool in the planner’s quest for social justice and empowered societies. This being said, as a foundational urban planning concept, collaboration has been influenced by neoliberal and technocratic tendencies and as such has become identifiable as a skill (a way of doing) rather than its intended normative character (a way of being). This article represents an effort to reframe and reimagine a contextually sensitive understanding of collaboration, by proposing a conceptual framework based on theoretical perspectives from two distinct subject areas, namely social practice and collaborative urban planning. This article further introduces a ‘relational reading of text’ as an alternative form of research method or inquiry to explore collaboration. Through this method, five social practice dimensions emerged. It is contended that these five dimensions, namely relational actions, entities, sense-making, inter-relatedness, and structuring tensions can refocus the worth of collaboration as a professional value attribute for both students of urban planning and practitioners.
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