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Timescapes, Power and Democracy
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A deep exploration on how questions of time and its organisation affect planning practice, this book is aimed at public and private planning practitioners, national and local politicians and policymakers involved in planning, academics and students studying planning and related disciplines.

It presents time as a pervasive form of power that is used to shape democratic practices, and questions ‘project speed’: where time to think, deliberate and plan has been squeezed. The authors demonstrate the many benefits of slow planning for the key participants, multiple interests and planning system overall.

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The chapter considers the role of time, public interest and deliberative democracy in relation to how planning inputs are organised and managed. In doing so, it considers the wider ‘public interest’ justification for planning to meet a range of present and future needs, and the role of democratic processes and deliberation as a means to enable ‘good’ planning. These are discussed in view of the implications of, and linkages with, time as a resource and the aims of planning, with consideration of the processes and tools available to foster proper time for planning. Care to sustain appropriate deliberative practices is linked to the act of planning itself as a participatory undertaking rather than an adjunct to public engagement, which is often offered under narrow terms and reflects attempts to orchestrate inputs. The challenges to enabling more deliberative approaches are considered in relation to critiques of (post-)democratic citizenship, competing values within increasingly pluralist societies and the unequal operation of power relations. Despite these issues, the case is made that enabling deliberation is an important component of good planning and should form a key part of the normative principles underpinning planning systems.

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The chapter highlights that neoliberal discourses have a particular prominence and influence on political and economic thought and policy in the UK. The thinking behind neoliberal policy places time firmly in view as something to be ‘managed’ in order for ‘efficiency’ to be assured and ‘delay’ minimised. This view stresses that business and service imperatives are promoted in governmental policy generally and through planning policy more specifically. The chapter presents a discussion of planning and the role of time in a neoliberalised policy environment, and outlines the idea of ‘project speed’, cited to focus attention on the political project of reforming planning in the English case. It shows that there have been concerted efforts to orient planning timescapes not necessarily in service of good planning or of supporting democratic accountability but instead to primarily achieve growth. We view the reforms promoted by waves of neoliberalisation and ‘project speed’ over a longer period as attempts to control the present and future. Both the use of political time to service these agendas and the wider temporal politics of growth are questioned as effective long-term strategies in aiding good processes and/or outcomes.

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This chapter provides a deep exposition of time and practice as conceptualised in the wider social sciences. It presents a review of how time has been theorised in social theory, drawing on key thinkers who emphasise the role of time in shaping social and institutional practices across capitalist economic systems, interpersonal power relations and political strategies. In considering this range, the chapter draws on a number of theorists’ work, notably, Pierre Bourdieu, Barbara Adam, Helga Nowotny and Nomi Lazar, whose ideas are presented as key in highlighting the operation of power, political strategy and the relationship of time to practice (and vice versa). This sets out a framework for analysis and provides both an insight and a guide to understanding the multiple temporalities of planning and how timescapes structure practice. By considering the use and organisation of time in organising how planning is practised and who is involved, the recognition that planning itself produces particular futures is brought into view. Key theoretical ideas are used specifically to examine, in later chapters, the way time is organised and deployed as a tool to exert control in the planning system in England.

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This final chapter summarises the main arguments of the book and argues for a more reflective planning and practice that takes time and its implications more seriously. It reflects on planning timescapes as oriented towards neoliberal speed-growth agendas, such as project speed, in order to assist in problematising existing approach(es) to planning. In doings so, the case is made that there is much more at stake than simply whether planning is ‘fast’ or ‘slow’; instead, far greater emphasis is required about what we are planning for and why. A reset of planning systems away from short-term political and business agendas and towards considering longer-term challenges requires a rethinking of normative principles and overall goals, as well as, it follows, a reshaping of the timescape(s) of planning in order to fashion proper time(s). This assemblage should feature the central tenets of inclusion, deliberation and public interest as design principles for planning systems, processes and practices. How time is conceptualised, challenged, managed and practised by different actors with a stake in planning and its outcomes appears critical to just, sustainable futures. It concludes by outlining a research agenda in which understandings of time in and for planning can be further developed to advance practice.

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This introductory chapter provides an initial grounding for the rationale, aims and scope of the book. It also indicates why this topic area should be embraced and absorbed in planning, and how this is useful for providing a deeper understanding of time in practice and the impact of time on practice. The consideration of time in relation to planning is an obvious one: planning is critically concerned with time as an activity in creating plans and policies for the present and future. Yet, beyond such seemingly self-evident claims and understandings of the importance of time, we need to consider the concept much more deeply to appreciate the profound role that time and ‘timescaping’ plays in structuring society, economies and politics, as well as for understanding how temporalisation shapes planning, which in turn shapes the experience of planning. In this respect, time has often been an obscure or uncritically accepted part of discourses shaping planning. This lays the foundations for exploring the contention that time, in its deployment both rhetorically and practically, can have profound impacts on both planning processes and outcomes.

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This chapter explores artist-researcher collaborations in Co-Creation projects through a case study based in Tabajaras & Cabritos, a favela located in Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone that underwent police pacification in 2010 but has been experiencing ongoing security issues since 2017. The study focuses on a Co-Creation initiative designed in July-August 2019 by graffiti artist Leandro Rodrigues de Souza, aka Tick, in collaboration with local residents, stakeholders and researchers from the University of Bath. After an initial assessment of the models of favela and street art tourism, the participants of this workshop used Co-Creation strategies, discussions with local residents and stakeholders and participant observation on a series of favela and street art tours and graffiti painting events in favelas to support the artist’s initiative to create an ethical, community-based and sustainable street art tour. The analysis, carried out collaboratively by the artist and one of the researchers, addresses the roles and responsibilities of artists and researchers, their power relations and mutual benefits, as well as their respective contributions to both the research and the creative outputs.

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This chapter takes a comparative approach to two initiatives developed by artists and cultural promoters from the Global North and South, to challenge clichés attached to French banlieues and Brazilian favelas as places devoid of the production and consumption of literary texts. The ‘Dictée des Cités’, a spelling competition promoted since 2013 in French banlieues by writer Rachid Santaki, and the ‘Literary Festival of the Urban Periphery’ (FLUP) curated in Rio de Janeiro since 2012 by writers Julio Ludemir and Écio Salles, are analysed through the lens of Co-Creation as examples of artist-driven initiatives to encourage large local audiences’ engagement with literary texts, transform literary institutions and canons and challenge stereotypes associated with urban peripheries. While the chapter seeks to evaluate the potential of large-scale literary events to change the perception of disadvantaged urban areas, it also explores differences between the Global North and South. The chapter ends with the conclusion that socially engaged arts festivals and Co-Creation events may promote similar aims, they however differ in their scale, approaches to knowledge production as well as in their strategies promoting engagement with creative methods.

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This chapter seeks to test through a case study how transformative change resulting from Co-Creation can be evidenced and measured using a quasi experimental mixed-method approach. The first section focuses on the design of the case study, a poetry workshop aimed at students aged 14–17, initiated at a secondary school in Iztapalapa, Mexico City, by a group of researchers in collaboration with four poets, a street artist, a governmental organization belonging to the Mexican Ministry of Culture, the teachers and non-academic staff from a lower secondary school. The second section explains the design of the research methods and analyses changes in how workshop participants perceive their neighbourhood and themselves as agents of change in their school and wider community. The final section assesses the effectiveness of the both the Co-Creation workshop and the methodology used to measure its impact. Our final comments suggest that to be more efficient, the evaluation of Co-Creation workshops need to focus on both the intangible (knowledge, understanding, emotions) and the creative (poetry, painting) outcomes in ways that combine research methods from the North with strategies inspired by the epistemologies of the South.

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This chapter thinks through the possibilities and challenges posed by Co-Creation as a knowledge practice that is more than a ‘novel method’ for addressing urban inequality. We consider the onto-ethico-epistemological assumptions that underpin the ‘doing’ of co-creation as inventive practice. Drawing upon Barad (2007), Deleuze and Guattari (1987) and post-qualitative scholars (St Pierre, 2011), we ask what claims are made about participatory approaches in voicing issues of marginalisation? How are human and non-human relations recognised in creative collaborations? What role does affect play in the micropolitics of working with different desires, bodies, and techniques to effect change? New materialism offers a useful orientation to thinking through Co-Creation as a material-discursive process that has a rhizomatic, rather than linear form. Moving beyond humanist assumptions about individual creativity and essentialised identity categories, Co-Creation can be understood as a research assemblage that brings into relation objects, desires, bodies and contexts to disrupt, queer, reimagine and contest the normative (e.g. stigmatising of groups and places, and the invisibility of privileged perspectives). Using examples from our own and others’ work we explore the complex processes of Co-Creation projects, as they bring together artists, academics and communities in the face of urban inequality and marginalisation.

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