ChapterPDF Available

Why Christchurch should not plan for the future



New Zealand has to rebuild the majority of its second-largest city after a devastating series of earthquakes – a unique challenge for a developed country in the twenty-first century. The 2010-2011 earthquakes fundamentally disrupted the conventions by which the people of Christchurch lived. The exhausting and exhilarating mix of distress, uncertainty, creativity, opportunities, divergent opinions and competing priorities generates an inevitable question: how do we know if the right decisions are being made? Once in Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch offers the first substantial critique of the Government's recovery plan, presents alternative approaches to city-building and archives a vital and extraordinary time. It features photo and written essays from journalists, economists, designers, academics, politicians, artists, publicans and more. Once in a Lifetime presents a range of national and international perspectives on city-building and post-disaster urban recovery.
Freerange Press RRP $45.00
Helen Clark
Kevin McCloud
Sally Blundell
Roger Sutton
Rebecca Mace
David Sheppard
Gary Franklin
Dr Suzanne Vallance
Dr Stuart Candy
Barnaby Bennett
Stephen Judd
John McCrone
Claes Caldenby
Matthew Galloway
Gerard Smyth
Liam Dann
Nick Sargent
Gerard Cleary
Jane Smith
Natalie Jones
Johnny Moore
Dr Ryan Reynolds
Dr Bronwyn Hayward
Michael Gorman
Prof. Philippa Howden-
Chapman et al.
Prof. Simon Kingham
Dr Jessica Halliday
Dr Rebecca Kiddle
Amiria Kiddle
Prof. Claudia Mattogno
Luke Engleback
Peter Cockrem
New Zealand has to rebuild the majority of its
second-largest city after a devastating series of
earthquakes – a unique challenge for a developed
country in the twenty-rst century.
The 2010-2011 earthquakes fundamentally
disrupted the conventions by which the people
of Christchurch lived. The exhausting and
exhilarating mix of distress, uncertainty, creativity,
opportunities, divergent opinions and competing
priorities generates an inevitable question: how do
we know if the right decisions are being made?
Once in Lifetime: City-building after Disaster
in Christchurch offers the rst substantial
critique of the Government’s recovery plan,
presents alternative approaches to city-building
and archives a vital and extraordinary time.
It features photo and written essays from
journalists, economists, designers, academics,
politicians, artists, publicans and more. Once
in a Lifetime presents a range of national and
international perspectives on city-building and
post-disaster urban recovery.
Clayton Prest
Juliet Arnott
Giovanni Tiso
Shamubeel Eaqub
Raf Manji
Marcus Westbury
Dr Eric Crampton
Dr Lucy D’Aeth
Dan Thompson
Brie Sherow
James Dann
Alejandro Haiek Coll
Dr George Parker
Melanie Oliver
Amanda Guma
David Bowman
Robin Keegan
Colin Andersen
Wil McLellan
Camia Young
Uwe Rieger
Skye Duncan
Dr Glen Koorey
Prof. Peter Newman
Jon King
Jessica Staples
Chris Moller
Di Lucas
Craig Pauling
Shaun Awatere
Shadrach Rolleston
Bailey Peryman
Oliver Peryman
Michelle Marquet
in a
after Disaster
in Christchurch
in a
after Disaster
in Christchurch
Foreword by
Helen Clark
55 written essays from a range
of contributors
39 visual essays
Edited by
Barnaby Bennett
James Dann
Emma Johnson
Ryan Reynolds
Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch
ISBN 978-0-473-28940-9
Copyright © 2014 Freerange Press
All rights reserved
First edition published August 2014
All rights for images remain with the original owners, as do individual
A catalogue record for this book is available from the National Library
of New Zealand.
Freerange Press
New Zealand
Designed and typeset by Cameron Ralston
Cover by Matthew Galloway
Printed and bound by Printlink Ltd
Wellington, New Zealand
Typefaces: Frutiger & Plantin
Paperstock: Sumo Offset 100gsm, Kaskad Canary Yellow 80gsm,
Crescendo 1 sided board 300gsm (cover)
This edition was made possible with the support of:
We would like to also acknowledge funding support of the Royal
Society’s Marsden Fund.
84 Making Plans
Why Christchurch should not plan for
the future
Stuart Candy
Stuart Candy, PhD, works around the world as a strategist, educator, facilitator and
producer of transmedia interventions. Currently based in Toronto, he is director of the
Situation Lab and Assistant Professor of Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD
University. Stuart helped launch the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA) in post-
earthquake Christchurch, worked on the award-winning ‘massively multiplayer forecasting
game’ Superstruct, and served as advisor to the Future We Want project for the United
Nations Rio+20 Summit. This article is based in part on the closing presentation delivered by
the author at TEDxChristchurch in October 2013, ‘Whose Future Is This?’.
It is nothing new to remark on the complexity of the contemporary
change environment, or its relentlessly accelerating pace.1 And it does not
take a military strategist to recognise the wisdom in the observation that
‘noplansurvives rstcontactwith the enemy’,2 because these days the enemy
of most large-scale human enterprises – what often brings them to grief – is
not an opposing army, but rather the sheer difculty of keeping up with what
is going on both within and around them.
As Christchurch gets on with the epochal task of ‘planning for the future’, or
reimagining and rebuilding itself, this essay offers a simple reminder in three
parts: rst, that what we call ‘the future’ is not really a singular thing, but an
imaginary space of plural possibilities; second, that a city is not a product, but
a process; and third, that a community shaping itself is inherently not a task
for the few, but a participatory and co-creative act to be shared in by as many
as possible.3
The upshot of these three observations – on plurality, process and
participation – is that the idiom of ‘planningmay not be the best t for this
situation. What is called for may be better framed as ‘design for emergence’.
I suggest that the need for rethinking governance through design and
emergence is more urgent and far-reaching, and simultaneously more
possible, than most of us seem to realise.
My work as a futurist involves helping people map and navigate the possibility
space of an unknowable future more creatively and systematically. I have done
strategic foresight consulting and facilitation with many groups and agendas
around the world. I think the wellbeing of communities of every sort and scale
depends on how well we are able to engage with what might lie ahead.
The foresight eld4 takes as its point of departure a recognition that the future
is by denition unwritten, and should therefore always be treated as plural.5
On this view, thinking ahead well means construing the future as a space
of alternative possibilities. This allows us to exercise anticipation while also
avoiding the trap of constantly trying to predict, and constantly being wrong.6
A key activity in this regard is crystallising, out of the fog of possibility
space, a set of specic stories – ‘scenarios’ – to represent a range of alternative
futures that could unfold, and to consider carefully what we might do in
each case. Futurist and political scientist Jim Dator worked out in the 1970s
that the countless possible stories we tell about the future may be boiled
down to a handful of trajectories or narrative logics, which he called the
‘generic images of the future’.7 These are now widely used as a way to craft
illuminating scenario sets, and there are various other ways to do the same
Scenarios are at this point seen as essential to doing policy, strategy and
planning well in a wide variety of settings.9 So here is an important question
for the present discussion: what kinds of assumptions about the future have
been embedded in planning conversation to date, and what if events were to
challenge or overturn any of those assumptions? (For instance, what kinds
of thinking are we doing about the potential collapse of cheap oil, which has
fuelled the last century of global economic growth, including ubiquitous
personal vehicles and enormous ows of people and goods?)
It is impossible to account exhaustively for all possible eventualities. But at
this point, to undertake a city-scale design project without comprehensively
addressing the palpable uncertainties of our planetary future would be
rampant folly. As one of Kurt Vonnegut’s characters says ‘History is merely
a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.’10
Futurists have for decades been speaking of possible, probable and preferable
futures.11 All three of these categories are subjective, contested and in
constant motion: the future is a process, not a product. The same is true
of organisations, communities, cities, countries and civilisations.12
Among the twentieth century’s key futures scholars was a Dutch sociologist
named Fred Polak, who was Jewish and spent the Second World War hiding
out in Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Amazingly, he emerged from that
experience with a strong sense of humanity as a ‘future-creating being’,13 and
went on to write a seminal two-volume work called The Image of the Future.14
Polak looked at how the future had been imagined in societies throughout
time, and he found the following pattern: ‘The rise and fall of images of the
future precedes or accompanies the rise and fall of cultures. Once the image
begins to decay and lose its vitality, the culture does not long survive.’15
In other words, our collective ability to realise a positive future depends upon
our ability to imagine it.
The importance of such vision can also be seen, perhaps even more readily,
on smaller scales. An organisation begins to lose staff and stock value when
Why Christchurch should not plan for the future
86 Making Plans
people lose condence in it. A relationship is in trouble when the people in it
can’t imagine being happy together any longer.
What about cities, regions or even countries? It may be tempting to conclude
that a well-engineered plan – an ofcial image of the future – must be the key
to success, regardless of its origins. This would be to draw the wrong lesson
from Polak or, more to the point, from history. If the future imaginary is
diagnostically useful or historically catalytic, it is because of what it reects
about the state of health of a culture, the ever-unfolding process that is a
human community. We may wonder whether a meaningful future image
can be made to order like an industrial product (as in Chairman Mao’s
catastrophic Great Leap Forward), and well may we doubt any approach to
urbanism that assumes a country or city’s future should be blueprinted in the
same way that a building can be.
Long-range plans are brittle without a foresight context to make them elastic;
but what’s really needed is the lifeblood of a learning process circulating
continually throughout. It is all too common for organisations of various sorts
to assume that it should be enough to pay attention to some suitably remote
round-number date, say 2030 or 2050, on a one-time basis, then to sit back
and wait for some inevitable surprise to come along and blow away their best
laid plans.16 By contrast, I recently led a foresight process for the Singaporean
government to identify and test assumptions underpinning their National
Sustainability Blueprint for the year 2030, which was originally prepared
in 2008.17 Recognising the inherent uncertainties of change by revisiting a
visionary document – as they did in this case – means admitting, in effect,
‘we might be wrong’. No wonder it is uncommon.
It is critical to recognise and take account of the open-ended, constantly self-
reinventing quality of community. This means seeing how the planning process
is an ongoing part of a wider process – also ongoing – that is the city itself.
Winston Churchill observed that ‘We shape our buildings, and afterwards
they shape us.18 Casting his gaze further upstream, Marshall McLuhan is
said to have made the same remark in relation to our tools.19 And moving yet
further in this direction, the point holds in regard to the visions and plans in
service of which we wield those tools. We shape our imaginaries, while they
shape us, and on the cycle goes.
We may speak about the role of participation in all this by borrowing an
insight from the software world. Some years ago, computer programmer Eric
Raymond evoked the difference between the top-down orderliness of the
traditional way of making software – programmed, planned and engineered
– versus the bottom-up emergence inherent in the software whose code is
Open Source and thus written, edited and co-created in peer-to-peer fashion
by a community. He used an architectural metaphor to contrast the two
approaches, dubbing them respectively the ‘cathedraland the ‘bazaar’.20
Many organisations and governments, being themselves in a sense blueprinted
edices, have a persistent bias in favour of the cathedral. But being far-sighted
doesn’t mean simply planning and building things to last forever. On the
contrary, the temporariness and transitionality of the bazaar are part of life,
and the seeds of the better future are often planted not by ‘visionaryplans,
but by experiment, improvisation and accident. The will to permanence is a
trap. As John Lennon is supposed to have said, ‘Life is what happens while
youre busy making other plans’. Wise words for city-makers to heed.
In Christchurch, Gap Filler and the Festival of Transitional Architecture
(FESTA) are wonderful examples of bazaar-like structures.21 As a member
of the advisory board for the inaugural FESTA, I recall how thrilled we were
when the opening for its rst year (October 2012) brought crowds to the
downtown core that were larger than any seen since the earthquakes.22 This
was not an ofcial city programme and by no means was it lavishly funded.
It was an ingenious, resourceful and authentically citizen-led activity: a case
of a structure enabling life to go on while we were making other plans. The
question arises, then, to what extent does and can the city rebuild take its cue
from the cathedral, and to what extent from the bazaar? This is for others to
answer, but I suggest it is worth pausing to consider.
A broader context for this conversation seems to be the question of how one
can ‘planfor a bazaar. The challenge in hand involves what the hybrid artist-
engineer and New York University professor Natalie Jeremijenko has called
‘structures of participations’.23
The crowd-created Wikipedia, the world’s fth most visited website, is a
striking example, consisting of 30 million articles in 287 languages (4.5
million in English) – and counting. The contents are generated by users, and
enabled by the affordances and constraints of a platform maintained by the
Wikimedia Foundation.24
For a real life illustration, consider the Burning Man festival in the Nevada
desert, where for one week each year some 70,000 participants – the
community has grown exponentially since the rst gathering of twenty
people in 1986 – co-create a temporary city on the blank canvas of an alkali
dustbowl, before leaving without a trace.25
A third example: during my former role as a full-time foresight consultant,
in 2012 I led the process design for a project called CoMConnect, which
was about enlisting the public in helping to devise a Digital Strategy for the
City of Melbourne.26 The weekend-long kick-off event involved a maximum-
capacity group of 150 attendees from across all sectors. Every session was
proposed and run by participants, with no detailed advance agenda or
training necessary.27 The result was described by the one of the city’s staff a
month later as an ‘epiphany’. It is not yet common practice for governments
to include citizens so comprehensively and so early in a policy conversation,
but this is going to have to change.28
Whether collecting a vast body of knowledge, enabling a temporary urban
community of tens of thousands, or crafting a city’s digital strategy: each of
these designed structures of participation is fundamentally about governance.
(We may even venture that the design of suitable structures of participation
Why Christchurch should not plan for the future
88 Making Plans
is the primary task of governance.) In any case, with organisations aspiring
to cathedralesque orderliness increasingly obviously outpaced by massive
complexity, exploring participatory and bazaar-like governance structures to
harmonise with and harness such complexity becomes increasingly necessary.
Designing for emergence
There is evidently a tension between, on the one hand, accommodating
actors’ autonomy and agency while, on the other, making certain executive
decisions that constitute the rules and parameters for the website, physical
space, event or whatever. This trade-off is not susceptible to a one-size-ts-all
solution. It requires a case-by-case consideration of what one shall attempt to
x in place by design, and what operations and opportunities shall be left to
surprise and learning.
Designer Greg Van Alstyne and physicist Robert Logan have written on
the relationship of design and emergence, pointing out that the former is
characterised by ‘the intentionality of the designer’, ‘top-down’ structure
and ‘controlling’ agendas, while the latter in contrast is about ‘the autonomy
of massively multiple agents’, ‘bottom-up’ and ‘inuencing’ agendas.29 In a
sense we might say that the notion of design for emergence is precisely the
challenge of balancing the cathedral and the bazaar.
Van Alstyne and Logan’s ‘design for emergenceseems a much more suitable
frame for understanding what is at stake, and is more likely to help with the
challenge at hand than the common default frame of ‘planning for the future’.
What then should be done? Many points of intervention are available,
but among the most potent and underappreciated is public imagination.
(Remember: way upstream of buildings, we shape our imaginaries, and
thereafter they shape us.) From my point of view as a design futurist, this
has to do with enabling what Richard Slaughter called ‘social foresight’30
by co-creating, and helping others also to co-create,experiential futures
immersive, tangible and playable fragments of the possible worlds before
us.31 Experiential futures practice cultivates a cultural capacity for collective
imagining, and thereby a basis for wiser choices.32
With this in mind, one of the most powerful catalysts for emergent co-
creation would be to establish a participatory, plural process for public
imagination.33 It has been encouraging to see elements of the conversation in
Christchurch gesture in this direction, for instance through a series of reports
in the Press published three years to the day after the worst earthquake struck.
These stories embodied alternative ‘versionsof Christchurch on 22 February
2031, the disaster’s twentieth anniversary.34
The rebuild of a city after a seismic upheaval is bound to be a fraught
process, but it comes with an opportunity to respond to profound challenges
increasingly evident in all quarters, not only within but also well beyond
Canterbury and New Zealand. There is a chance here to approach afresh how
the political process occurs. Consider the Arab Spring, Wikileaks, and the
Occupy movement: three recent systemic warnings that our existing political
designs are ill-equipped to accommodate the technology-enabled emergence
of powerful networked movements. We should expect more profound
disruptions to come. What if we saw this moment in Christchurch as a gift
of history: an invitation to reimagine not just how the city looks, but the very
processes through which it is made?
Among the rst structures to seek to build, it seems to me, are processes
properly enabling people to generate and pursue their own diverse preferred
futures. Co-authoring our collective story is the challenge of our time, and
from the multitude of possible worlds, the future we get is – or at least ought
to be – a story we tell together.
Everywhere we look, the task at hand is about deepening people’s awareness,
understanding and capacity to realise genuine alternative futures.
It is not about selling them one.
Why Christchurch should not plan for the future
Theory 1 (2002): 124 -145.
15 B Flyvbjerg, Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
16 Ramroth, Planning for Disaster, 207.
17 Olshansky and L Johnson, Clear as Mud: Planning for the
Rebuilding of New Orleans (New Orleans, APA Planners
Press, 2010), 10-11.
18 Olshansky and Johnson, Clear as Mud, 12.
19 See, for example, the CERD Shadow Report Hurricane
Katrina: Racial Discrimination and Ethnic Cleansing in
the United States in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
20 Olshansky and Johnson, Clear as Mud, 50.
21 Ibid., 218.
22 S Vallance, “Early Disaster Recovery: A Citizens’ Guide,”
Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies
(2011-2): 19-25.
23 Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (2012), The
Greater Christchurch Recovery Strategy, available onles/common/
recovery-strategy-for-greater-christchurch.pdf, accessed
Dec 2013, 20.
24 S Owens, “Engaging the Public: Information and
Deliberation in Environmental Policy,” Environment and
Planning A 32 (2000): 1141–1148.
25 P Allmendinger, “Towards a Post-positivist Typology of
Planning Theory,” Planning Theory 1 (2002): 77-99.
26 J Agyeman and A Briony, “The Role of Civic
Environmentalism in the Pursuit of Sustainable
Communities,” Journal of Environmental Planning and
Management 46 (2003): 345-363.
27 P Wilson, “Deliberative Planning for Disaster Recovery: Re-
membering New Orleans,” Journal of Public Deliberation
5 (2009): 1-25.
28 Olshansky and Johnson, Clear as Mud, 239.
29 J Bergman, “52 places to go in 2014,” New York Times,
Jan 10, 2014, accessed February 10, 2014, http://www.
30 S McClennen, “Neoliberalism as Terrorism; or State of
Disaster Exceptionalism,” in Terror, Theory and the
Humanities, eds J. Di Leo and U. Mehan (Ann Arbor: Open
Humanities Press, University of Michigan Library), 2012.
Why Christchurch should not plan for the future
Dr Stuart Candy
1 Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, “Dilemmas in a
General Theory of Planning,” Policy Sciences 4 (1973):
155-169; James Gleick, Faster: The Acceleration of Just
About Everything (London: Little, Brown, 1999).
2 The original observation that this modern business-school
quote distils was Helmuth Von Moltke in the mid-
nineteenth century: ”No plan of operations survives the
rst collision with the main body of the enemy.” See
Foreword in Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings,
ed. Daniel J. Hughes (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1993).
3 This article has not been written as a specic commentary
on the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan; more
grounded and locally informed responses are elsewhere
throughout this collection. It is instead a set of general
observations from an observer abroad (an Australian
futurist living in Canada) on the conceptual context in
which the Christchurch conversation is taking place.
4 Perhaps the most comprehensive overview of foresight as a
eld, though it is not easy to obtain: Richard A. Slaughter,
ed., The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies (5 vols,
Professional edition, CDROM) (Indooroopilly, Queensland:
Foresight International, 2005).
5 A powerful statement of this perspective appears in Ashis
Nandy, “Bearing Witness to the Future,”Futures 28
(1996): 636-639.
6 Consider Dator’s rst law of the future: ‘“The future” cannot
be “predicted” zbecause “the future” does not exist.’ Jim
Dator, “What Futures Studies Is, and Is Not” (Honolulu:
Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, 1995),
7 James A. Dator, “The Futures of Culture or Cultures of the
Future,” in Perspectives on Cross-Cultural Psychology,
eds Anthony J. Marsella, Roland G. Tharp and Thomas J.
Ciboroski (New York: Academic Press, 1979), 369-388;
see also: Jim Dator, “Alternative Futures at the Manoa
School”, Journal of Futures Studies 14, no. 2 (2009):
8 For a comparative examination of scenario generation
approaches see for instance: Andrew Curry and Wendy
Schultz, “Roads Less Travelled: Different Methods,
Different Futures,” Journal of Futures Studies 13, no. 4
(2009): 35-60.
9 See for example: Paul J. H. Schoemaker, “Scenario Planning:
A Tool for Strategic Thinking,” MIT Sloan Management
Review, Winter (1995),
scenario-planning-a-tool-for-strategic-thinking/ and
Charles Roxburgh, “The Use and Abuse of Scenarios,”
McKinsey Quarterly, November (2009), http://www.
10 Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick: or, Lonesome no more! (New
York: Delacorte Press / Seymour Lawrence, 1976), 226.
11 This trio is usually (mis)attributed to the article which
popularised it: Roy Amara, “The Futures Field: Searching
for Denitions and Boundaries,” The Futurist 15(1) (1981):
25-29. However these terms appeared over a decade
earlier in Tofer’s bestselling Future Shock: ‘Every society
faces not merely a Succession of Probable Futures, but an
Array of Possible Futures, and a Conict over Preferable
Futures,’ Alvin Tofer, ed., Future Shock (New York:
Random House, 1970), 460. Earlier still, the introduction
to de Jouvenel’s seminal The Art of Conjecture offers
a similar – if less memorably alliterative – typology. See
Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Art of Conjecture (trans. Nikita
Lary) (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967), 3-21.
12 For a marvellously process-minded way of looking at
a place, see this talk by former festival organiser and
broadcaster Marcus Westbury, who initiated a project
called ‘Renew Newcastle’ that has been credited with
turning around the fortunes of the downtown core in that
Australian city: Marcus Westbury, “The City as a Process”
(presentation delivered at Arup Melbourne, Foresight and
Innovation Talks series, February 3, 2012), http://vimeo.
Notes – Chapter 1
13 In the phrase of Elise Boulding, from her Translator’s Preface
to the abridged single-volume edition of Polak’s work:
Fred Polak, The Image of the Future, trans. and abridged
by Elise Boulding (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1973), viii.
14 Fred L. Polak, The Image of the Future: Enlightening the
Past, Orientating the Present, Forecasting the Future, 2
vols, trans. Elise Boulding, (Leyden: A. W. Sythoff, 1961).
15 Polak 1973, The Image of the Future, 19.
16 See for instance the story of ‘Hawaii 2000’, a public
foresight process of unparalleled scale and ambition
which ran in the islands in 1970-71, and yet which
failed to be carried forward by political institutions and
processes, and so did not catalyse its hoped-for outcomes
by the turn of the century. Jim Dator et al., Hawaii 2000:
Past, Present and Future (report prepared for the Ofce of
Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development
and Tourism, Honolulu, Hawaii 1999), http://hawaii2050.
17 Government of Singapore, A Lively and Liveable Singapore:
Strategies for Sustainable Growth (Ministry of the
Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of National
Development, Singapore 2009),
18 Winston Churchill, 28 October 1943, (speech to Britain’s
House of Commons), quoted in Berry, Leonard L. et al.,
‘The Business Case for Better Buildings,’ Frontiers of
Health Services Management 21(1), 5, http://faculty.arch.
19 A. Kuskis, 2013, “We Shape our Tools and Thereafter
our Tools Shape Us,” McLuhan Galaxy, 1 April, http://
our-tools-and-thereafter-our-tools-shape-us/. This formula
was adopted by futurist Jim Dator as his ‘Third law of the
20 Eric Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on
Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary,
revised edition (Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly, 2001).
21 Gap Filler website,; FESTA
website,; see also: Barnaby Bennett,
Eugenio Boidi and Irene Boles, eds, Christchurch: The
Transitional City, Pt. IV (rev. ed.) (Christchurch: Freerange
Press, 2012).
22 Charley Mann, “Festival Brings Light Back to Inner City,”
The Press, October 21, 2012,
23 “Faculty: Natalie Jeremijenko,” New York University,
accessed June 14, 2014,
bios/view/Natalie_Jeremijenko; see also: Tim O’Reilly,
“The Architecture of Participation,” O’Reilly website,
June 2004,
24 “Wikipedia,” Wikipedia, accessed June 14, 2014, http://
25 Burning Man website,
26 Melbourne’s Digital City Unconference Overview:
CoMConnect, 2012,
27 We were working with a (non-proprietary) meeting format
called Open Space, which has been used thousands of
times around the world over the past three decades. See
for example: Harrison Owen, Open Space Technology: A
User’s Guide, 3rd edition (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler,
2008). Others have used the same process to redesign an
Olympic pavilion in three days; to redesign aircraft doors;
to downsize and restructure part of a large organisation,
and so on. For a range of (early) case studies see: Harrison
Owen, Tales from Open Space (Cabin John, MD: Abbott
Publishing, 1995),
28 IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation),
2007, “IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation,” IAP2
IAP2%20Spectrum_vertical.pdf. In an increasingly
networked polity, systemic pressures seem to be pushing
public expectations swiftly and steadily to the right of
this continuum; that is, towards more frequent, direct
and deep involvement in matters where public sector
representatives used to have more discretion; on the
application of OST for foresight purposes, see: Stuart
Candy, “Open Space for Futures: A Brief Introduction,”
Journal of Futures Studies 10, no. 1 (2005): 109-114,, and Stuart
Candy, “Open Space for Analog Crowdsourcing”
(presentation given at Crowdsourcing Week, Singapore,
June 5, 2013),
29 Greg Van Alstyne and Robert K. Logan, “Designing for
Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design,” Artifact
1, no. 2 (2007),
30 Richard A. Slaughter, “Futures Studies: From Individual to
Social Capacity,”Futures, 28, no. 8 (1996): 751-762.
31 Stuart Candy, The Futures of Everyday Life (doctoral
dissertation, Department of Political Science, University
of Hawaii at Manoa, 2010),
Life; also: The Sceptical Futuryst website, http://futuryst.
32 Candy, 2010, Chapter 7, 287-317.
33 See Stuart Candy, “Dreaming Together: Experiential Futures
as a Platform for Public Imagination,” in ed. Tim Durfee
and Mimi Zeiger, Made Up: Design’s Fictions (Zurich: Art
Center Graduate Press / JRP Ringier, forthcoming).
34 “City Vision,” The Press, Mainlander section, February 22,
2014, C1-C4,
Chapter 2: Selling the Plan
Design and democracy
Barnaby Bennett
1 Noortje Marres, “Issues Spark a Public into Being: A Key but
Often Forgotten Point of the Lippmann-Dewey Debate,”
in Making Things Public, ed. Bruno Latour (Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 2005).
2 Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography
of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist (New York:
HarperCollins, 2009).
3 Prof. Sir Peter Gluckman, “The Psychosocial Consequences
of the Canterbury Earthquakes” (letter from the Ofce
Notes – Chapters 1-2
Full-text available
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an experimental online course was offered by the Schools of Drama and Design at Carnegie Mellon University, aiming to "leverage interdisciplinary expertise to make live performance… born for social distancing". This is the syllabus for that experiment, geared towards maximising co-creation, productive surprise, and generative play, and annotated after the fact to capture the outcomes and learning it enabled. This piece appears in the the peer reviewed journal Well Played, Special Issue on Playable Theatre, edited by Celia Pearce and Nick Fortugno, available at It was originally published in an earlier form at
Typically, metropolitan governance literature and practice has lacked focus on the ways that processes of urbanisation affect rural areas or small towns. As urbanisation is increasingly recognised as a process that reverberates across peri-urban and rural regions, the entwined and interdependent nature of governance across scales becomes evident. This interaction is recognised in the 2017 iteration of Plan Melbourne’s directions relating to peri-urban and regional areas. This illustrates the need for planning to respond to opportunities and challenges arising from interactions between small towns and metropolitan governance. This article investigates these gaps in two ways: Firstly, by introducing the idea of reverberations to describe the effects of external factors like metropolitan governance exert on lived experience in small towns. Secondly, we use reflective practice to explore how working with those reverberations has shaped the development of a place-based ecological model for small-town planning. Informed by the work of practitioners and scholars such as Randolph Hester, David Seamon and Patsy Healey, the place-based ecological model innovates by bringing a phenomenological and relational sensibility to planning, fostering place-based assets to allow for responses to reverberations, and address existing gaps in planning practice. The article then suggests future directions for the evolution of small-town planning and governance frameworks.
Full-text available
A strong turnout of a broad cross-section of the New Orleans population lent legitimacy to a unique public conversation about post-Katrina recovery priorities. Designed and conducted by AmericaSpeaks, Community Congress II brought together over 2500 New Orleanians, linked electronically across five different cities plus smaller satellite sites in 15 diaspora communities across the country. Table observations of 48 deliberative rounds, along with exit interviews, post-event focus groups with participants, and stakeholder interviews are used to address three central questions about the social processes of deliberation: What are the patterns of interaction at the tables across race and gender; how do the participants interpret the meaning of the event for themselves; and what were the outcomes in terms of legitimacy, influence, and social trust? The article contextualizes the event in the unfolding story of the recovery process and culls out the lessons learned for deliberative democracy. Community Congress II demonstrates that inclusive public deliberation does more than provide reasoned public input into difficult policy decisions. It does more than legitimate new public initiatives. It can foster social trust and social healing across the divides of race, culture, and wealth. But the benefits will be sustained only if they are reinforced by an institutional infrastructure of civic engagement.
Full-text available
This paper reveals the surprising and counterintuitive truth that design is not always at the forefront of innovation; it is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the success of products and services. The authors argue that design must harness emergence, for it is only through this bottom-up and massively iterative, unfolding process that new and improved products and services are successfully refined, introduced and diffused into the marketplace. They articulate the similarities and differences of design and emergence, developing the hypotheses that an innovative design is an emergent design, and that a homeostatic relationship between design and emergence is a required condition for innovation. Examples of how design and emergence have interacted and led to innovation include the tool making of early man; the evolutionary chain of the six languages: speech, writing, mathematics, science, computing and the Internet; Gutenberg's printing press, and the contemporary techniques of collaborative filtering that underlie the meteoric growth of today's largest Web-based services, including Google and In closing they describe the relationship between artificial and natural systems, noting that a critical trait of every successful design and living organism is its telos or purpose.
Full-text available
This essay explains and illustrates how the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies of the Political Science Department of the University of Hawaii at Manoa conceives of and uses "alternative futures". The design and conduct of a "futures visioning process," of which experiencing "four generic alternative futures" (continuation, collapse, discipline, transformation) and envisioning preferred futures are essential parts, is described in some detail.
The post-positivist domination of planning theory in recent years has rightly highlighted the social and political context of theories. Its impact through various guises including collaborative, postmodern and neo-pragmatic approaches has been significant. However, one area that has been immune to these broad changes and interpretations is typologies of planning. Typologies provide heuristics for academics and practitioners that help map the landscape of ideas that influence a particular field. As such they are crucial to any understanding of a diverse theoretical area such as planning. This article seeks to develop a post-positivist typology for planning theory. My typology is based upon the broad themes of post-positivism including the belief that all theory is to greater or lesser degrees normative, a non-linear conception of time and progress and the introduction of spatial and temporal variance in any understanding of the formulation, interpretation and application of theory. The result is an approach that does away with two traditional planning theory dualisms - the procedural-substantive distinction and the theory-practice gap. It also provides a locally diverse and unique interpretation of planning theory at the national and sub-national scale that rejects the idea that local interpretation of theories and their application can be assumed to be consistent with ideas operating at a higher (often supra-national) scale.
This paper addresses public participation in sustainability initiatives and in the development of sustainable communities. In particular, it examines two models of public participation in environmental policy, referred to as 'information deficit models', and 'deliberative and inclusionary processes and procedures' (DIPS). The difference between the two models will be examined through the framework of the US discourse of 'civic environmentalism'. Using both examples and an analysis of recent literature, a distinction between 'narrow focus' and 'broad focus' civic environmentalism will be presented. It is argued that 'information deficit models' of public participation usually associated with 'narrow focus' civic environmentalism can successfully contribute to the 'environmental' aspects of sustainable communities. The paper concludes that DIPS and the greater sharing of control by citizens, non-governmental organizations and local governments offered by 'broad focus' civic environmentalism, are far more likely to result in a greater social capital, and a holistic appreciation of the inextricable links between environmental, social and economic characteristics of sustainable communities.