Lessons for the Big Society: Planning, Regeneration and the Politics of Community Participation
This book provides concrete examples of the ways in which shifting academic debates, policy and political approaches have impacted on a specific place over the past 30 years. It offers a critical analysis of the history, politics and social geography of the high profile London Borough of Haringey, in the decades prior to the 2011 Tottenham riots. The Haringey case study acts as a lens through which to explore the evolution of theoretical and policy debates about the relationship between local institutions and the communities they serve. Focusing on the policy areas of planning and regeneration, it considers the local implementation and outcome of central government strategies that have sought to achieve such accountability and responsiveness through community participation strategies. It examines how the local authority responded to central government aspirations for greater community involvement in planning, in the 1970s, and regeneration, from the late 1980s onwards, before looking in detail at the implementation of New Labour neighbourhood renewal and local governance policy in the borough. In doing so, the book provides a longitudinal case study on how various central government community empowerment agendas have played out at a local level. It offers important lessons and indicates how they might work more effectively in future.
Professor Bryan Fanning, School of Applied Social Science University College Dublin, Ireland, and Dr Denis Dillon, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
'This important book illustrates the impacts of successive government policies to engage communities. These are explored through experiences of planning and regeneration in Haringey, North London - itself a microcosm of wider social divisions and spatial inequalities. Despite decades of policy initiatives, the voices of less advantaged communities were still not being heard effectively, in comparison with the voices of more advantaged residents, in leafier parts of the borough. As this topical book concludes, there are key lessons here in relation to the current policy context.' Marjorie Mayo, Goldsmiths, London, UK 'The authors have created a fascinating, detailed, well referenced view of a council coping with massive issues, giving us all vital lessons and insights, whether you’re signed up to the Big Society or not!' New Start 'The semistructured interviews conducted for these studies, combined with a further series conducted in 2010, provide a rich and engaging data set for reflection on Haringey’s experiences and the project of community engagement more generally.' Local Economy 'Dillon and Fanning provide a nuanced account of both the implications and underlying assumptions of policy to promote citizen engagement. Their observations are, I would suggest, highly relevant when considering different models of participation, particularly in the context of inequality and regeneration efforts. Despite the study’s narrow focus on Haringey, the characteristics of the borough mean the findings seem quite broadly generalisable.' Urban Policy and Research 'This is a gem of a book and well worth reading. I was totally gripped by the unfolding story and analysis of community participation in planning in Haringey. The analysis is supported by reams of evidence, illustrated by clearly narrated case studies with well-balanced discussion.' Community Development Journal