Local planning instruments - if only we knew how to play

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We know little about how the implementation of planning instruments are communicated to the members of the community by the planning profession in terms of complexity of language and process, power relationships and how this impacts upon an individual’s ability to engage as an active citizen in the development assessment process. In order to create more value for community engagement in the development assessment process, we need to better understand how local planning instruments are perceived by members of a community in terms of ease of navigation, interpretation and application to development proposals. It is particularly in the role of community as submitters to a development application that these perceptions may be best explored as it is an opportunity for non-planners to interact with planning instruments perhaps for the first time. This paper will discuss the type and nature of submissions made by non-planners to development applications within two case studies and identify barriers to non-planners effectively participating in planning discussions and decision-making about development applications. The research will undertake data collection and content analysis of six (6) submissions from each case against development proposals within a regional city context. The content analysis will aim to match the de-identified public submissions with what the planning profession considers valid urban and regional planning grounds expressed in local statutory planning instruments. This will help to ascertain the submitters’ effectiveness in understanding and applying the local planning instrument to the site specific issue that has ignited the active citizenship response. The paper will seek to answer questions about what is the engagement framework within which submitters can participate in planning, how are planning schemes navigated, applied and interpreted by non-planners lodging submissions to proposed development and what knowledge and skills do community members need to participate in the development assessment process as submitters ? challenges in cooperation process between different stakeholders involved in urban regeneration.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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