Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Exciting news on the longue duree and a cry for help

This post is complete writers' block prevarication, but hey-ho. These things happen.

I got exciting news yesterday that a proposal for an edited collection I've been invited to contribute to got accepted by a publisher. Basically what I've proposed is a Mark II version of this theory paper of mine (which I have written about previously).

In the manner of modern BBFC guidance statements, this actually fills me with moderate fear and dread. I've got my hook to get started - the choir of the church I attend* were moaning on Sunday that Eucharist on a Sunday morning was dragging on. It was pointed out that the most important bit of the service - communion - seemed to be particularly slowing things down. A number of suggestions for speeding it up have been suggested, some holier than others (throwing communion wafers off the balcony like confetti was mentioned...). In response to one sensible suggestion somebody said "oh, but the congregation would moan about that", to which someone else responded "yes, they would. But two weeks later it will have settled down and everyone will have forgotten that it changed".

Which is essentially the point I want to interrogate - immediate change, particularly in the built environment, is difficult, messy and will inherently be controversial. But give it a few years and everyone's happy. And given the longevity of the built environment, there are difficult intra-generational issues to be overcome. Planning theory, particularly around communicative planning, deals with this issue of historic time very badly (if at all). 

And, here's an appeal to any out there who can help, with this in mind do you know of literatures that deal with:
- the inherent future orientation of planning and policy acts;
- the challenge of deliberation around imagined futures, as opposed to present problems;
- and possibly the philosophy of time and debates around intra-generational justice.

/update 20 minutes later.

Well, I just checked my Google Scholar citations and it seems my Longue Duree piece has already been picked up - et voila. Thinking about it a bit more, I suppose I'm interested in the sorts of things being talked about in this very interesting article about the New Deal for Communities (that community empowerment led to non-optimal policy outcomes) and also this piece about homeless hostels in Rotterdam. I suppose it's trying to get to a point of saying "community engagement and empowerment is not always a good thing" without being technocratic. Hmmm. So am I arguing that technocrats have a specific sooth-saying ability to see into the future?

As ever, if you can't get access to any of the papers linked to, drop me an email

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