Archive of European Projects

Community Participation in Planning: Learning and Skills Framework
Start date: 31 Dec 2014, End date: 27 Feb 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The British Isles are passing through a significant period of local government modernisation and public service reform. In each of the relevant jurisdictions there are evolving interpretations of how this transformation occurs, and the constitution of ‘community planning’. Nevertheless, all these definitions of "community planning" share a set of common principles revolving around the concepts of Participation, Planning and Partnerships. Additionally, the emerging legislation (Local Government Bill, 2013) in Northern Ireland will place a statutory duty on all new local authorities (‘Distinct Council’) to facilitate a process of community planning to prepare ‘community plans’ for promoting the social, economic and environmental well-being of their area through identifying long-term objectives for achieving sustainable development. These developments are not exclusive to the United Kingdom, with other countries like Portugal and Italy going through a shift of the local and regional policy landscape, towards a stronger participation of the local communities and residents in the planning and delivery of public services, as well as in the development of spatial plans. This change has consequences for the Planning practice, on one side, and for the local communities themselves, in the other. Planners will need new skills and competencies in order to effectively engage with local communities, while the latter must also be provided with new capacities and skills to improve the quality and objectivity of their participation. The Universities of Ulster (NI) and Aveiro (PT), the Politecnico di Milano (IT) and Community Places (NI) are the proponents of this project, aiming to tackle these needs through an integrated approach that prepares current and upcoming Planning practitioners and simultaneously local communities. The partners in each country will be responsible for the local organisation and development of two main types of activities. On the first type, project partners will involve local communities and staff from the local authorities in a series of workshops to discuss and share experiences and ideas about Community Participation in Planning This will constitute the base work for a second series of workshops and taskforce meetings with the objective of developing a local model for Community Participation in Planning. On the second type, the Higher Education partners will design and test new teaching modules of Community Participation in Planning. These activities will also be informed by the ongoing developments taking place the first type of activity, in order to infuse the teaching with the knowledge and experience collected there. The curricula and teaching materials developed here will be available after the project is finished to allow other organisations to adopt or adapt them to their own teaching or training activities. Activities of Blended Mobility will bring together members of the local communities (including both adult and young people), staff from local authorities involved and Higher Education students from all of the participating countries to receive further training for capacity building, network and share the progress done at each country. The learning and experiences developed over the project will be reflected on a publication titled "Community Participation in Planning: Learning and Skills Framework". This will be a policy document with guidelines on the processes, resources, skills and methodologies applied to realise the link between Community Participation and the diverse dimensions of Planning. By the end of the project, it is expected that: - participants from each of the local communities (Belfast, Aveiro and Milan) will have new skills and capacities to engage in processes of community participation in the planning and delivery of public services, as well as in spatial planning; - Staff from local authorities will have an upgraded set of skills and methodologies to be able to better communicate and engage local communities in processes of community participation; - Higher Education students involved in the project will have new skills, capacities and access to methodologies which will allow them to answer the challenges posed to the Planning practice. The project aims to have an impact on both the curriculum of Planning degrees and the practice of Community Participation in Planning at all geographic levels. More specifically, it is ambitioned that further Higher Education organisations in the U.K., Italy, Portugal and other E.U. countries will adopt or adapt some of the new teaching modules developed over the project. It is equally ambitioned that local and regional statutory organisations, in the same range of countries, will take interest in the practices and framework of Community Participation in Planning developed over the project, and consider their adoption and development in their regions/municipalities.
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