The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - Special Issue

The Capability Approach in Development Planning and Urban Design

Capability approach

22 May 2015

This special issue of the DPU Working Papers, edited by Alexandre Apsan Frediani and Julia Hansen, explores the linkages between the literature on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and development planning and urban design.

The collection of work by Masters students and staff hopes to question, complement or propose new ways of thinking about capabilities and explores how the capability approach can be applied for the purpose of development planning and urban design. The contributions in this special issue emphasise the need for the capability approach to be applied in a contextualised manner, relating to is­sues of structuring processes and institutional analy­sis; building on concepts of collective capabilities and power relations; and fostering dynamic and projective thinking.

This issue also aims to demonstrate the potential of dialogues between Masters students and academic staff in the process of knowledge production. The journey of reflecting on, teaching, using and learning about the capability approach between academic staff and students at the DPU has been an immensely enrich­ing experience. This open-ended process, where students not only were part of using concepts but also of suggest­ing ways of understanding them, has flourished as a collab­orative form of knowledge production. This special issue of DPU Working Papers aims to recognise such spaces of creativity and share some of the learning produced. 

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