A Positive Review of "The Community Planning Handbook"

Community Planning Handbook coverAn excellent resource for conducting citizen consultation and engagement into neighbourhood development.

The Community Planning Handbook:
How people can shape their cities, town and villages in any part of the world.
by Nick Wates.
Published by Earthscan Publications Limited, 2000.

This book is the A-Z of community lead local planning. It includes 200 pages of concise and clearly explained principles, methods, example scenarios, forms, check lists, a glossary, contacts and other incredibly useful how-to resources. This manual is very useful for urban planning consultants, progressive municipal authorities and communities leaders that want to ensure the voice of the people who will be affected by local construction are part of the decision making process. Nick Wates writes from a perspective of real world experience with lots of practical tips for situations that vary from ideal community owned projects to last minute public consultation in a traditional city planing process.

This manual is designed to be easily searched for ideas and practical direction in planning and organizing events, managing processes and establishing organizations to involve and empower citizens to give informed direction to the designs and implementation of changes to the architecture in their communities. The text is written from a UK perspective although there is considerable effort made to include photos and context from other nations, especially from rural villages in places like China, India, Fiji, Kenya and the Philippines. Jeremy Brook's graphical design is very user friendly with hundreds of illustrative photos, diagrams, time lines and information boxes.

Although “The Community Planning Handbook” is written within a limited scope of physical planning and design for villages, towns and cities, many of the principles, methods and suggestions are still applicable to other situations of participatory planning, such as public policy and organizational change. If you want to help manage organization and community efforts that are bottom-up, buy this book and keep it on your desk.