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Community Participation in City-Wide Planning: Comparing London and Johannesburg

GCSC Theme: London

Lead: Dr Barbara Lipietz (UCL Development Planning Unit)

Main collaborator: Prof Mike Raco (UCL Bartlett School of Planning)

Additional collaborators: Prof Jennifer Robinson (UCL Geography); Prof Michael Edwards (UCL Bartlett School of Planning); Prof Susan Parnell (UCL Geography)

GCSC (Lipietz) Community Participation in City Wide Planning

Project: This project aims to understand the processes shaping the possibilities for community voices to contribute to long-term strategic planning for sustainable urban development. It will consider how democratic modes of governance shape long-term strategic planning and city visioning in two different contexts, London and Johannesburg, through a systematic comparison of the recently published Revised London Plan (2011) and Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (2011) to explore:

  • the democratic and participatory processes through which the strategies were produced. Do these reflect wider international definitions of a ‘good governance’ agenda and meet expectations of democratic urban governance?
  • the extent to which the strategies reflect the interests of local stakeholders (including neighbourhood, community-based organisations and advocacy groups) and, specifically, whether the contents of the plans reflect local residents’ concerns for sustainable development, especially in post-financial crisis contexts.

The project will be among the first systematic academic interrogations of the revised London Plan, meeting UCL’s wider mission to ‘contribute to the vibrancy and development of London as a world-leading city’ and its commitment to supporting community inputs to making sustainable cities. It will pilot an initiative to develop comparative methods and interpretive frameworks in urban governance appropriate for an international approach to urban studies.