UBC Theses and Dissertations
Text, context, communication, and metaphors : initiating dialogue in transactive planning Chernoff, Paul J.
Transactive Planning is based upon the establishment of a dialogue between the planner and the client. The present study explores how the planner can attempt to initiate a dialogue with a client, in terms of subject-matter-related communication. The establishment of dialogue is partially dependent upon the planner's ability to make his or her knowledge relevant to the client. The planner can do this only if he or she can communicate effectively. Effective communication occurs when the intentions behind the words are conveyed with the words. This is dependent upon all of the people involved in the act of dialogic communication actively sharing some values. As an example of how a dialogue could be initiated, this study examines the case of a planner who sympathizes with the idea of Community Land Trusts, and who attempts to initiate a dialogue with a client who holds a traditional view of land. The subject-matter of the proposed dialogue is land tenure and land-use reform. The issues of land tenure and land-use reform are intimately related to how land is conceptualized and the system of values attached to these conceptualizations. The planner and the client need a common reference point, composed of shared values, to which both can refer when either of them introduces new knowledge. The planner must demonstrate to the client that both their value-systems share similarities. These shared similarities will be a common reference point for the dialogue. If this in not done, the client may interpret the knowledge that the planner communicates in a manner which is contrary to the planner's intentions. A methodology is developed and applied to compare the concepts that a member of the dominant culture of the United States of America uses to describe land to those used by a planner who advocates Community Land Trusts. The concepts are interpreted so as to reveal the values which each person associates with them. The values revealed are then reorganized according to how the values define the goals of land tenure. A comparison is made between how each person defines each goal because these definitions reflect their value-systems. If the planner initially emphasizes the goals which both he and the client define in a similar manner, then there is a greater probability that a dialogue can be established. Six goals were selected by the methodology: security, individual equity, individual legacy, community access, community equity, and community legacy. The analysis shows that the planner and the client agree the most on how to define security. This reflects that the planner and the client perceive some of the rights of individual land-users in a similar manner. If the planner starts a dialogue from this point of agreement, then the areas of disagreement could be later introduced in terms of what is already agreed upon. In many other situations it is important for planners to identify the goals which they and their clients define in a similar manner so these goals can serve as a reference point. This reference point is the common ground upon which both the planner and the client can base their dialogue. The common ground of dialogue is made up of the similarities that exist between different world-views. A dialogue is not limited to, but builds upon, the similarities between the world-views held by the planner and the client. A metaphoric view of reality can provide the basis for establishing the similarities between world-views. A metaphoric view enables us to connect values to both each other and to concepts in a systemic manner. Since the world is known in terms of concepts, the values that are associated with these concepts can be compared to the values that are associated with different concepts. A dialogue can be based upon similarities which are discovered between value-systems.