Using utopiatyping as a strategy for building capacity in urban development processes
Urban Planning is traditionally seen as an expert discipline with little room for ‘soft’ values and concerns based on feelings rather than fact. At the same time the final product of the planning process, the built environment, is a habitat for a wide variety of people with equally diverse wants and needs. The question is, how does planning incorporate the needs, wants and visions of existing and future inhabitants while at the same time raising awareness of the often complex issues and wicked problems involved in urban development? In this paper we discuss a case-based strategy for utopiatyping, i.e. using imagined futures in a structured, iterative process as a way of incorporating narrative elements into the urban development process. Utopiatyping can be used both as a communicative as well as a participative strategy either helping raise awareness of future planning initiatives or actively involving citizens in the vision formulation stage.
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SUPS, Sharjah Urban Planning Symposium: Capital Cities, Wicked Problems: Best Practices in Planning and Policy Response Mechanisms, 2008