1st Edition

Doing Research in Urban and Regional Planning Lessons in Practical Methods

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    Doing Research in Urban and Regional Planning provides a basic introduction to methodology and methods in planning research. It brings together the methods most commonly used in planning, explaining their key applications and basic protocols. It addresses the unique needs of planners by dealing with concerns which cut across the social, economic, and physical sciences, showing readers how to mobilise fresh combinations of methods, theoretical frameworks and techniques to address the complex needs of urban and regional development. It includes illustrative case studies throughout to help planning students see how methods can be operationalised on the ground and connect research with urban and regional planning practice to build foundations for action.

    The book pays attention to contemporary trends – such as the growth in information technology, and general shifts in urban and environmental governance – that are affecting the practicalities and protocols of doing planning research. Doing Research in Urban and Regional Planning also encourages ethical reflection and discusses the ethical issues specific to planning research.

    Each chapter begins with a chapter outline with learning outcomes and concludes with take-home messages and suggested further readings. It also suggests a range of learning activities and discussion points for each method.

    Part I: Conceptualising Research Chapter 1 Introduction: why a special textbook for planning? Chapter 2 What are methods?  What is methodology? Chapter 3 Theories in planning research: how they can help you Chapter 4 The big divide? Quantitative vs. qualitative approaches Chapter 5 The case study approach Part II: Methods 2.1: Understanding Places Chapter 6 Describing places from secondary data – and some cautionary tales Chapter 7 Evaluating places: auditing and site analysis techniquest Chapter 8 Understanding urban change: Land use surveys 2.2: Working with People Chapter 9 Gauging public opinion: Questionnaires Chapter 10 Interrogating stakeholder ideas: focus groups and iterative methods Chapter 11 Exploring information, opinions and attitudes: In-depth interviews 2.3 Interrogating Practice Chapter 12 People in place, people in practice: non-verbal methods Chapter 13 What can documents tell you about planning practice? Three types of text analysis Chapter 14 Planning research as practical action: Participatory methods Part III: Putting it Into Practice Chapter 15 Looking after yourself and others: ethical and personal issues in planning research Chapter 16 Pulling it all together


    Diana MacCallum teaches urban and regional planning at Curtin University, where she has coordinated the Honours program in planning since 2012. Her research interests focus on social aspects of urban planning and development, including practices and discourses of governance, social innovation, and eco-social justice in environmental policy.

    Courtney Babb lectures in urban and regional planning at Curtin University. His teaching responsibilities include research methods and dissertation preparation, as well as transport planning and participatory planning. He also conducts research in these areas, and has a particular interest in children’s interaction with the built environment and planning systems.

    Carey Curtis is Professor of City Planning and Transport at Curtin University, and the Director of the urban research network Urbanet. Her research experience spans four decades and has included over 50 projects in both academia and the planning industry. She has employed a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Carey has published extensively in the areas of travel behaviour, transport and land use planning, and institutional barriers to sustainable urban development.

    "At last, a research methods textbook aimed specifically at planners! Combining guidance on all aspects of the research process with detailed coverage of methods vital for understanding spatial change, Doing Research in Urban and Regional Planning will prove invaluable to students and practitioners alike." -Sue Brownill, Reader in Urban Policy and Governance, Oxford Brookes University, UK

    "This a very timely and accessible book which focuses specifically on the methods that are most useful to and used by planning researchers and practitioners. It provides a new and exciting way of combining theories, methods and applications; a welcome addition to research method textbooks especially those directly related to urban and regional planning." -Professor Simin Davoudi, Director of the Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) at Newcastle University, UK

    "Doing Research in Urban and Regional Planning is a highly recommended guide to the methods, theories and techniques used by planning researchers in academia and practice. Covering the full spectrum of qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as textual analysis and participatory techniques, this book will become a valued reference for educators, students, and practitioners." -Nicole Gurran, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Sydney, Austrailia

    "The fields of urban and regional planning consistently draw motivated students and young professionals who are committed to making the world a better place. But far too often, the embrace of normative ideals compels newcomers to the field to preoccupy themselves with the modalities of action before undertaking the necessary steps to actually learn how and why people, institutions, and places operate the way they do. This comprehensive and valuable text corrects this state of affairs by putting research at the center of meaningful planning practice. Not only does it show that planning is much more than the adoption of a pre-formulated toolkit of action. This text offers a wide range of research techniques and methodologies that planning professionals can use to assess, represent, and critically interrogate cities, regions, and their residents. You can find everything here: from a discussion of primary and secondary documents or the utility of GIS and land use surveys, to how to conduct an interview or operate a focus group, to how to deploy photography and cognitive mapping to reveal the oft-hidden social constructs that impact both people and places. A valuable companion to both planning theory and action." -Diane E. Davis, Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, Harvard Graduate School of Design