Place Making Through Participatory Planning

Place Making Through Participatory Planning

Wayne Beyea (Michigan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-152-0.ch004
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Community planning is facing many challenges around the world, such as the rapid growth of megacities as well as urban sprawl. The State of Michigan in the United States is attempting to re-invent itself through place making by using participatory planning supported by new information tools, models and online training. The Michigan State University Land Policy Institute framework for place making includes Picture Michigan Tomorrow, an informatics initiative to democratize data and incorporate it into scenario planning methodologies and tools, and Citizen Planner, an on-ground and online training program for local planning officials. Still in the early phases of implementation, these initiatives provide promising models for use in other regions of the world that seek consensus among citizens, developers and government on the vision and plan for their communities.
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Urban Planning

The growing population of the world continues to gravitate towards population centers to meet basic human needs such as housing, employment, food and water. Demographers with the United Nations have noted “the world is in the midst of a massive urban transition” (Hill, Wolfson & Targ, 2004). According to statistics prepared by the United Nations Population Division and Environment programs:

In 1975, just over one-third of the world’s population lived in urban areas. Currently, [n]early half of the world’s population (47 percent) lives in urban areas, a figure which is expected to grow by 2 percent per year during 2000 - 15. By the year 2025, the United Nations estimates that almost two-thirds of the world’s population will live in densely populated metropolitan areas. Much of this growth will continue to occur in megacities like Tokyo, Japan; Cairo, Egypt; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Bombay, India; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Hill, Wolfson & Targ, 2004)

The growth of megacities will have profound impacts on the quality of life on vast numbers of the world’s people. Methods for responding to growth through city planning vary considerably among nations around the world. Much of the variation is deeply rooted in each country’s value system. The system imposed by each nation provides unique opportunities and constraints for addressing human settlement planning concerns within each nation. In Europe, for example, there is a strong tradition of top-down land-use planning in many countries. However, recent trends have been to transfer some of this authority to local municipalities. In Brazil, statutes emphasize a citizens’ right to sustainable cities and the participation of municipalities and citizens in development decisions. In China, the law sets targets and tasks for improving the environment through urban planning. However, in reality there is not yet a functional national law to address land-use concerns (Nolan, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Place Making: The process of designing the physical attributes of a community that make it pleasurable and unique.

Scenario Planning: A process of forecasting multiple future outcomes to simulate the impact of changes in scenarios. Scenario planning avoids the dangers of single point forecasts by allowing users to explore the implications of several alternative futures. By surfacing, challenging and altering beliefs, planners are able to test their assumptions in a non-threatening environment.

Smart Growth: Generally refers to compact, transit accessible, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development patterns. In contrast to prevalent development practices, Smart growth refocuses a larger share of regional growth within central cities, urbanized areas, inner suburbs, and areas that are already served by infrastructure. (see American Planning Association Smart growth Policy 2002 at

Informatics: Informatics is the discipline of science which investigates the structure and properties (not specific content) of scientific information, as well as the regularities of scientific information activity, its theory, history, methodology and organization. Mikhailov, A.I., Chernyl, A.I., and Gilyarevskii, R.S. (1966) “Informatika – novoe nazvanie teorii naucnoj informacii.” Naucno tehniceskaja informacija, 12, pp. 35–39.

Participatory Planning: Participatory planning as defined here involves the systematic effort to envision a community’s desired future and planning for that future, while involving and harnessing the specific competencies and input of community residents, leaders, and stakeholders in the process. (Author Definition).

Planning Officials: The local elected or appointed citizen responsible for making planning and zoning decisions. This term is interchangeable with planning commissioner, zoning board member, zoning board of appeals member, council member, or township or county board member as used in this chapter. (Author Definition).

Sprawl: A low-density land use pattern that is automobile dependent, energy and land consumptive, and requires a very high ratio of road surface to development served (Michigan Society of Planning, Patterns on the Land, Trends Future Project, final report, 1995).

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Anthony Townsend
Marcus Foth
Marcus Foth
Chapter 1
Amanda Williams, Erica Robles, Paul Dourish
This chapter critically examines the notion of “the city” within urban informatics. Arguing that there is an overarching tendency to construe the... Sample PDF
Urbane-ing the City: Examining and Refining the Assumptions Behind Urban Informatics
Chapter 2
Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, Adam Greenfield
Once a city shaped by the boundary conditions of heavy industrialisation and cheap labour, within a few years Seoul has transformed itself to one of... Sample PDF
To Connect and Flow in Seoul: Ubiquitous Technologies, Urban Infrastructure and Everyday Life in the Contemporary Korean City
Chapter 3
Nancy Odendaal
Recent literature on African cities examines the way in which social networks function as critical livelihood arteries in the ongoing survival... Sample PDF
Creating an Analytical Lens for Understanding Digital Networks in Urban South Africa
Chapter 4
Wayne Beyea
Community planning is facing many challenges around the world, such as the rapid growth of megacities as well as urban sprawl. The State of Michigan... Sample PDF
Place Making Through Participatory Planning
Chapter 5
Mike Ananny, Carol Strohecker
In this paper, we describe the design and installation of a new kind of public opinion forum—TexTales, a public, large-scale interactive projection... Sample PDF
TexTales: Creating Interactive Forums with Urban Publics
Chapter 6
Jenny Preece
This chapter describes a small networked community in which residents of an apartment building in Washington, D.C., USA supplement their... Sample PDF
An Event-Driven Community in Washington, DC: Forces That Influence Participation
Chapter 7
Fiorella De Cindio
After more than a decade of e-participation initiatives at the urban level, what remains obscure is the alchemy—i.e., the “arcane” combination of... Sample PDF
Moments and Modes for Triggering Civic Participation at the Urban Level
Chapter 8
Michael Veith
Societies face serious challenges when trying to integrate migrant communities. One-sided solutions do not pay tribute to the complexity of this... Sample PDF
Fostering Communities in Urban Multi-Cultural Neighbourhoods: Some Methodological Reflections
Chapter 9
Victor M. Gonzalez, Kenneth L. Kraemer, Luis A. Castro
The practical use of information technology devices in domestic and residential contexts often results in radical changes from their envisioned... Sample PDF
Beyond Safety Concerns: On the Practical Applications of Urban Neighbourhood Video Cameras
Chapter 10
Colleen Morgan
This chapter explores how we may design located information and communication technologies (ICTs) to foster community sentiment. It focuses... Sample PDF
The Figmentum Project: Appropriating Information and Communication Technologies to Animate Our Urban Fabric
Chapter 11
Barbara Crow, Michael Longford, Kim Sawchuk, Andrea Zeffiro
The Mobile Media Lab (MML) is a Canadian interdisciplinary research team exploring wireless communications, mobile technologies and locative media... Sample PDF
Voices from Beyond: Ephemeral Histories, Locative Media and the Volatile Interface
Chapter 12
Helen Klaebe
This chapter defines, explores and Illustrates research at the intersection of people, place and technology in cities. First, we theorise the notion... Sample PDF
Embedding an Ecology Notion in the Social Production of Urban Space
Chapter 13
Vassilis Kostakos, Eamonn O’Neill
In this paper, we describe a platform that enables us to systematically study online social networks alongside their real-world counterparts. Our... Sample PDF
Cityware: Urban Computing to Bridge Online and Real-World Social Networks
Chapter 14
Katharine S. Willis
In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by information which weaves itself silently into the very fabric of our existence. Much of the time we act... Sample PDF
Information Places: Navigating Interfaces between Physical and Digital Space
Chapter 15
Viktor Bedö
This chapter contributes to the ongoing effort to understand the nature of locative urban information by proposing that locative urban information... Sample PDF
A Visual Approach to Locative Urban Information
Chapter 16
Tristan Thielmann
Car navigation systems, based on “augmented reality,” no longer direct the driver through traffic by simply using arrows, but represent the... Sample PDF
Navigation Becomes Travel Scouting: The Augmented Spaces of Car Navigation Systems
Chapter 17
Daisuke Tamada
A lot of street view services, which present views of urban landscapes, have recently appeared. The conventional method for making street views... Sample PDF
QyoroView: Creating a Large-Scale Street View as User-Generated Content
Chapter 18
Hideyuki Nakanishi, Toru Ishida, Satoshi Koizumi
Many research projects have studied various aspects of smart environments including smart rooms, home, and offices. Few projects, however, have... Sample PDF
Virtual Cities for Simulating Smart Urban Public Spaces
Chapter 19
Andrew Hudson-Smith
Digital cities are moving well beyond their original conceptions as entities representing the way computers and communications are hard wired into... Sample PDF
The Neogeography of Virtual Cities: Digital Mirrors into a Recursive World
Chapter 20
Laura Forlano
This chapter introduces the role of community wireless networks (CWNs) in reconfiguring people, places and information in cities. CWNs are important... Sample PDF
Codespaces: Community Wireless Networks and the Reconfiguration of Cities
Chapter 21
Katrina Jungnickel, Genevieve Bell
From WiFi (802.11b) with its fixed and mobile high-speed wireless broadband Internet connectivity to WiMAX (802.16e), the newest wireless protocol... Sample PDF
Home is Where the Hub Is? Wireless Infrastructures and the Nature of Domestic Culture in Australia
Chapter 22
Andres Sevtsuk
This chapter presents the iSPOTS project, which collects and maps data of WiFi usage on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in... Sample PDF
Mapping the MIT Campus in Real Time Using WiFi
Chapter 23
John M. Carroll
We discuss the vision, plan, and status of a research project investigating community-oriented services and applications, comprising a wireless... Sample PDF
Supporting Community with Location-Sensitive Mobile Applications
Chapter 24
Christine Satchell
Early 21st century societies are evolving into a hybrid of real and synthetic worlds where everyday activities are mediated by technology. The... Sample PDF
From Social Butterfly to Urban Citizen: The Evolution of Mobile Phone Practice
Chapter 25
Jong-Sung Hwang
u-City is South Korea’s answer to urban community challenges leveraging ubiquitous computing technology to deliver state-of-the-art urban services.... Sample PDF
u-City: The Next Paradigm of Urban Development
Chapter 26
Dan Shang, Jean-François Doulet, Michael Keane
This chapter examines the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in urban China, focusing mainly on their impact on social... Sample PDF
Urban Informatics in China: Exploring the Emergence of the Chinese City 2.0
Chapter 27
Francesco Calabrese
The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and handheld electronic devices in recent years allows for a new approach to... Sample PDF
WikiCity: Real-Time Location-Sensitive Tools for the City
Chapter 28
Eric Paulos, RJ Honicky, Ben Hooker
In this chapter, we present an important new shift in mobile phone usage—from communication tool to “networked mobile personal measurement... Sample PDF
Citizen Science: Enabling Participatory Urbanism
Chapter 29
Mark Shepard
What happens to urban space given a hypothetical future where all information loses its body, that is, when it is offloaded from the material... Sample PDF
Extreme Informatics: Toward the De-Saturated City
Chapter 30
Roger J. Burrows
Is it still the case that one can symptomatically read the early work of the cyberpunk author William Gibson as a form of prefigurative urban theory... Sample PDF
Urban Informatics and Social Ontology
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