2: ‘Sharing Ideas and Knowledge for Neighbourhood Planning’ – Coopers Lane Community Centre, Somers Town, 26th June 2015

Sharing Ideas and Knowledge for Neighbourhood Planning: Is Co Production Possible?

Coopers Lane Tenants Hall, Hampden Close, Somers Town, London, NW1 1HW

Date: 26th June 2015
Time: 10am-4pm
Venue: Coopers Lane Tenants Hall, Hampden Close, Somers Town, London, NW1 1HW

This workshop organised jointly with Voluntary Action Camden focuses on the knowledge and skills needed for neighbourhood planning and the issues and questions which arise from this. Neighbourhood plans combine local knowledge with requirements for a range of technical and planning skills and as such shed new light on questions which have long been central to neighbourhood working about the nature of knowledge and skills, how they produced and how they can be accessible to every community. The increasing Government emphasis on community and neighbourhood rights, of which neighbourhood planning is part had given communities scope for having more say in their own futures but the taking up of these rights in part depends on new and increased requirements for knowledge and skills. Meeting these demands equitably in an age of austerity is an increasing challenge. At the same time examples of communities working together with a range of partners including universities, consultants, voluntary groups, planning officers and professionals are providing opportunities to re-define what we mean by ‘planning knowledge’ and how it is produced.

Participants are invited to contribute to discussions and sessions which consider the challenges that this raises and whether there are ways of working together that can meet them.  The workshop brings together neighbourhood planning groups, universities, officers from central and local government, consultants, lawyers and others to offer a range of perspectives on a series of questions including;

  • What is the experience on the ground of neighbourhood planning groups? What knowledge and skills are needed? What is the balance between ‘local’ and ‘technical’ knowledge needed? Where has the knowledge and skills come from and how have communities organised to acquire them? Who are the ‘experts’?  Are the knowledge and skills required accessible to every community? What is the impact of austerity on communities and on the production, creation and sharing of knowledge? What are the practices of knowledge production and use that are emerging in neighbourhood plans?
  • What can we learn from existing examples of working together on neighbourhood planning? Can communities, professionals and others work together to assemble the required knowledge and skills? Who are the ‘knowers’ and who are the learners in these situations? Can the barriers be overcome? What is the role of universities, consultants, government in this? What are effective ways of spreading and exchanging knowledge?
  • Is the co-production of knowledge possible? What do we mean by co-production and is it a useful concept? What practices of knowing are emerging? Are there neighbourhood ways of knowing? What issues does this raise about planning the nature and practices of knowledge?

The concluding session will reflect on what this might mean for those working at the neighbourhood level and what exchange of knowledge might be required to promote neighbourhood planning and tackle issues related to the uneven spread of knowledge and skills.


10.00 – 10.20   Welcome and Setting the Scene; Donna Turnbull and Sue Brownill

10.20 – 11.30   Mobile Workshop;  a guided walk around Somers Town focusing on key sites which tell the story of neighbourhood planning in the area.

11.30 – 12.30   Sharing Experiences of  Working Together;  Roundtable on key themes in neighbourhood planning  including housing , viability and planning gain, writing policies, open spaces, land trusts and assets of community value, balancing competing objectives, linking up with other initiatives and widening participation in planning.

12.30 – 13.00  DCLG – Neighbourhood Planning and Neighbourhood Working –  experience of, and prospects for, coproduction


13.30 – 15.15 Reflections and Discussions

Andy Inch; Challenging Austerity through Neighbourhood Planning

Nick Bailey; Opportunities and Obstacles; From Vision to Reality in Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan in London

Elena Besussi;  Who learns? Who teaches? A  review of Universities and neighbourhood groups working together

Yasminah Beebeejaun “Reinvigorating the public interest? Coproducing planning”

15.15 -15.50   Roundtable Discussion ; Further opportunities to raise issues about the implications for planning practices including suggestions for ways of  producing, capturing and sharing the  knowledge needed for neighbourhood planning and how planning itself might be changed as a result

15.50 – 16.00   Concluding remarks.



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