What matters for community engagement in development plans for left behind places?

Authors: Lucy Natarajan*, UCL, Sara Hassan, University of Birmingham, UK
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Development, Economic Geography
Keywords: left-behind places, inclusion, co-production, redevelopment
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 27
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this article, we seek to understand the perspective of local communities in engaging with the redevelopment of ‘left-behind’ or legacy places. We revisit the world of literature on community engagement in urban planning, and then draw on the dominant themes of empowerment, influence and inclusion to examine new co-produced data. The investigation is driven by the normative argument that, not withstanding significant procedural and epistemic challenges, community engagement has the potential to reshape values and practices in governance networks. In the UK, the idea of ‘left-behind-ness’ is associated not only with social division but also centralised policy-making. Thus we focus on both practices of policy-making for urban development and expectations of the institutional and societal norms of community engagement. We unpack the dimensions of community engagement in development plans for left behind places, guided by the existing research. We extend this with the new data, which was amongst the contributions to the inquiry of the UK2070 Commission from the USE-it! project and was collected in a co-productive manner by community researchers in places of relative socio-economic disadvantage in Birmingham, UK. Our analysis provides insights into the aspirations and fears of stakeholders that are associated with community engagement in the production of development policy for left-behind places.

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