U S T A I N A B L E
Transforming Cities Through Participation
GLOBAL TO LOCAL: Transforming Cities through Participation
Comparative Case Study of the Urban Planning Participatory
Laboratory, Empoli, Italy and the East Clayton Neighbourhood
Concept Plan, Surrey, Canada.
Case studies often serve to make concrete
what are often generalizations or anecdotal information about
projects and processes. International case studies are a highly
appropriate and valuable approach to describe and evaluate different
projects across cultures. They are used to explain, or even
predict, theory related to practice or alternative processes.
The international case study also serve as the collective records
for the enhancement and development of new knowledge and methodologies
in different contexts. The following two case studies profile
participatory planning and design processes from Italy, from
the community of Empoli, FI, and from Canada, from the community
of Surrey, BC.
The rationale for choosing these two examples revolve around
how each have
responded to the challenges of urban sustainability in innovative,
participatory ways. Both projects
are firmly grounded in local, regional, national and international
policy directives for more sustainable development, a key focus
of which is public participation in decision making. In the
case of Empoli, the focus of involvement was school-aged children,
who, over a one-year process, developed an alternative plan
for a historic neighbourhood in the community of Avane. In East
Clayton, the integrated process of a design charrette was used
to bring together the range of regulatory, private and public
interests involved in community planning and design, to develop
an integrated, sustainable plan for 13,000. In both cases, the
process was intended to provide an alternative model for wider
application in other parts of the city and beyond.
our examination of each process we found several common themes
uniting the two case studies. These include:
Local solutions are needed to address global scale problems.
2. On-the-ground models are essential to wide-spread change.
3. Alternative models require alternative processes (participatory,
integrated, multidisciplinary, and long-term).
processes are essential for integrating long-term protection
of environmenal assets with the development of complete, compact