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.