Compiled as a tribute to the late John Thompson and to the coronation of King Charles. Includes photos not seen before as well as some favourites.
Nick Wates joins the Project Office at The Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture under the direction of Mel Agace, Dr Brian Hanson and Professor Keith Critchlow.
The Tools for Community Design (TCD) Research Project is launched by the Institute, led by Ros Tennyson, John Thompson and Nick Wates who had worked together on the Duchy of Cornwall’s 1989 community planning weekend for Poundbury.
Series of evening forums on action planning held at the Institute
Some photos of staff, students and members of the public at forums held at the Institute.
1994 – 1999
Pilot community engagement activity organised, recorded and evaluated in live projects in places including:
Richmond, Virginia, USA.
El Cerrito, California, USA.
1996 – 99
Translations and adaptations of Action Planning published in Chinese…
Publication of The Community Planning Handbook after extensive consultation, participatory editing and testing.
Community Planning Training and Development programme launched with 17 modules.
Some photos from training sessions at the Prince’s Foundation’s converted warehouse in Shoreditch, London, 2001/02
Website Communityplanning.net launched, independent but supported by The Prince’s Foundation and others
Translations of The Community Planning Handbook published in Chinese and Korean
Publication of The Community Planning Event Manual, an updated edition of Action Planning
Publication of Concertation citoyenne en urbanisme; la méthode du community planning, by Eléonore Hauptmann and Nick Wates, a French translation and adaptation of The Community Planning Event Manual
Publication of a Second edition of The Community Planning Handbook
Publication of 20/20 Visions: Collaborative planning and placemaking by Charles Campion of John Thompson & Partners; a collection of case studies of charrette style events
2000 – 2020
Prince’s Foundation uses Enquiry by Design process in numerous new developments. JTP conduct numerous community planning events. Numerous training workshops delivered by Nick Wates Associates in the UK and abroad.
This was a great project. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. A rare example of joined up action research. More should be done.
Details of the publications mentioned in this blog can be found at:
John F C Turner died this year at the age of 96 and it was clear from reaction to the news that he meant a great deal to a great many people in many parts of the world. Here are a few photos from my own interaction with this influential practitioner and thinker.
United Nations Habitat conference, 1976
International Design Participation conference, 1985
Kensington Palace, 1985
John (left) arriving at Kensington Palace for a black tie dinner for architectural educators hosted by Prince Charles, 15 July 1985.
Great to see veteran activists from the Tolmers Square campaign in the 1970s sharing experience with those campaigning over 40 years later on remarkably similar issues.
Plenty of scope for more such events to save people from having to continually reinvent the wheel.
In the photos below by Susie Clapham you can glimpse Patrick Allen, Martin Argles, Charles Campion, Sacha Craddock, the Gentle Author, Frances Holliss, Liz Jellinek, Leila, Ken Morgan, Will Palin, Mimi Romilly, Barry Shaw and Nick Wates amongst others.
I have enrolled to do a PhD by Publication at the University of Brighton, starting 1st April 2018. The working title is ‘Engagement in Placemaking’ and it will give me the opportunity to review the five main books I have produced over the years, assess their impact, reflect on their contribution to relevant academic fields and identify future initiatives needed.
All very exciting.
Spring 2020 Progress report – Dr Nick Wates
My doctorate was conferred on 2 March 2020 and you can see my thesis, Making Places Betterhere.
Training in the latest research methods and online resources;
The Community Planning Website was first conceived by Michael Mutter at DFID. We were completing the first edition of The Community Planning Handbook in 1999, which DFID supported the research for, and at one of the final editorial meetings, Michael suddenly declared, ‘“You do know that this book is really a website don’t you.” He was right and DFID subsequently funded its design and construction.
Other enlightened organisations later sponsored various aspects of its development. Kelvin MacDonald initiated a tranche of case studies funded by The Royal Town Planning Institute, The Academy for Sustainable Development helped with a major update and English Partnerships, The European Union, The Prince’s Foundation, The Environment Agency and the Building & Social Housing Foundation all helped with specific features.
Its a great website and still well used. Its been Google’s Number 1 for ‘community planning’ for a decade and a half, despite determined efforts to unseat it. It has been praised for its design and content (see About this website).
There are many good new websites dealing with the same subject matter with more bells and whistles (e.g. Community21, Community Heart and Soul) but Communityplanning.net remains an unrivalled resource of basic how-to guidance and listings.
But Communityplanning.net needs investment to update it, technically and editorially. The original business model of securing funding from advertising is no longer sufficient (as many other idealistic web publishers have found) and Nick Wates Associates, which owns the copyright, no longer has the necessary resources to subsidise it. We are therefore looking for a partner or partners to invest in it and take it forward.
The 1976 United Nations Habitat conference in Vancouver was a significant moment for many of my generation. Human settlements were being discussed at a global level and public participation in their creation and management was the dominant theme. In my file of the event I found an unpublished article I wrote about it at the time which you can see here. It will be interesting to see if the conclusions on Habitat III – taking place in Quito, Ecuador this week – will be substantially different. I doubt it but live in hope.
Unable to get to Quito, my modest contribution to Habitat III has been supporting an initiative on John FC Turner’s work which you can see here.
In my early teens I had the good fortune to live by a wonderful Lakeland river where I spent a great deal of my spare time. When it rained up the valley the river became a raging torrent, in a drought it almost disappeared. Over the years I got to know every rock and stone. I knew exactly where to jump across with different volumes of water. I knew which stones became treacherously slippery when wet, under which stone one might find fish and when it might be possible to use a canoe.
Every now and then a local property owner or statutory body would make an intervention; constructing new fences, repairing a weir or cutting down trees. And it was amazing how often these interventions seemed to have a negative effect on my use of the river and also seemed to me to be a waste of resources which could have been spent much better on something else. I had lots of ideas of what could have been done to improve my local environment but of course nobody ever asked me.
This was my awakening to the simple truth that the people who understand a piece of environment best are the people who use it and if you want to make it function better then these people need to be involved in generating the solution.
Later, at university in London, I discovered to my amazement that this seemingly obvious principle was not part of the practice of modern day architecture and planning resulting in the most horrendous acts of destruction and people being condemned to live in the most appalling environments.
But I also discovered that all over the world there were people exploring new and creative ways of involving local people in the creation and management of their environment. Exploring this phenomenon has become the focus of my work.