Workshops for Sustainable Urban Development [Theme: Tools for Interaction in Urban Planning]

Paul Van Eijk, Sybrand Tjallingii, Marleen Van Den Top


Traditionally, planners distinguish between substantive and procedural aspects of urban and regional planning. In the 1990s, the two planning approaches came closer to each other. New issues, like sustainable development, ask for an integration of substantive and procedural aspects. Newly emerging approaches among researchers and practitioners, like the communicative turn in planning, underscore the need to link the two aspects. In the context of sustainable urban development, shared understanding of basic common conditions is essential. Drawing on our experiences in research and consultancy, this paper focuses on workshops for sustainable urban development as a tool for planners to enhance shared understanding among the actors in urban planning projects. In these workshops, the first task is designing sustainable prospects for water and traffic networks. There are several reasons to take this point of departure for the workshops. Water and traffic systems are flows with major environmental impacts. Moreover, the two create strong spatial networks that are potentially organising the spatial fabric of land-use functions. The central question is how to improve our work-shop method in order to make actors issues play a more central role. The paper first discusses the background of this workshop approach and the relevance of the question. Then, we discuss workshops of this kind as parts of regular urban restructuring projects.

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