Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society

By Michael A. Burayidi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Appreciative Planning: An Approach to Planning with Diverse Ethnic and Cultural Groups

Stephen Ameyaw

This chapter starts with an outline of its theme: "Appreciative planning" as an approach to urban planning in a multicultural context. Appreciative planning is a model based on mutual respect, trust, and care-based action. It is a two-way learning and problem-solving approach to planning. Appreciative planning is a multi-faceted process that unites rational and nonrational processes of social interaction and social learning to enable citizens and professionals to share the work of problem solving and decision-making for the benefit of their communities. By so doing, it enables planners to celebrate the valuable assets multicultural groups bring to city life and planning deliberations.

The "appreciative" concept is important in today's pluralistic society because it confronts the real conflicts, issues, dissent, and trade-offs in city planning. Appreciative planning is a proposal to create contexts in which planners and multicultural groups can continuously learn and experiment, think systematically, engage in meaningful dialogue, and create visions that energize action and inclusion in city planning.

I have borrowed the word "appreciative" from Bushe and Pitman ( 1991), and Barrett ( 1995), who use it as an intervention model in organizations such as NGOs and corporations. Given the strong push to involve multicultural groups in the urban planning process, appreciative planning will help provide valuable insights into the many problems and issues facing planners and multicultural groups in urban environments.

The appreciative planning approach I am proposing here can bring citizens and professionals together in fruitful cooperation despite their cultural differences because appreciative planning is a process model based on flexibility rather than on a rigid, rational planning approach and its universal notions, and it allows planners to reach out to minority groups and address their social and human living conditions. Appreciative planners learn to escape from the scientistic, one-way

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