(February 2012) The Knowledge Dynamics of Spatial Strategy-making
This paper presents the results of recent research into the processes behind participatory spatial strategy. An embedded study of spatial planning from 2011 allowed close study of a case of visioning processes and knowledge generation in spatial planning. The analysis of the research data uses a conceptual framework of learning to bring to light the dynamics of different types of knowledge from different actors on spatial visions. The findings are related back to spatial planning processes and knowledge production.
It begins by characterizing the current position on planning knowledge suggested by post-modern theories. It draws on the work of well known collaborative and spatial planning theorists such Healey and Davoudi in order to position knowledge as part of the work of spatial planning. It frames community engagement in spatial planning as part of the turn from older zoning approaches to newer more participatory approaches.
Having established the current dominant approach to knowledge, the paper then outlines a conceptual framework of the modes in which spatial strategies are generated. It presents several different modes of strategy making emanating from different sets of processes and suggests that different types of knowledge might be entailed. The main point from this framework is that ‘futures thinking' is a distinctive approach to spatial strategy associated with particular knowledge dynamics.
Having outlined the knowledge dynamics within spatial planning the paper then presents an analysis of empirical data from embedded research into knowledge production and the co-creation of meaning for spatial strategy. This includes case study data from an English Core Strategy Review December 2011.
In conclusion the paper considers how these knowledge dynamics can contribute to new discourses of participation.