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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fostering learning and education in planning processes Smith, Diana L


During any planning process, knowledge, information, and experiences are shared among planning participants. However, planning literature is largely silent about how such learning and education occur during planning processes, how learning and education can be fostered to further the short- and long-term goals of planning, and how planners can help deepen and enrich learning experiences. This thesis explores opportunities and barriers to fostering learning and education in community-based planning. Learning is defined in this thesis as experiencing, sharing, and reflecting on knowledge while education is defined as the intentional creation and promotion of learning experiences. Through an exploration of education literature, definitions and key aspects of learning and education are described. Planning literature is then explored to determine how learning and education are conceived by planning theorists and practitioners and where gaps in knowledge exist. On the basis of these explorations, a framework is developed for assessing how planners incorporate and promote learning and education in processes they lead or design. The framework is applied to a case study of a neighbourhood planning process in Vancouver, which included participant observation and interviews with planners and community members who participated in the process, as well as to interviews with other planners in Greater Vancouver. Interviewees' thoughts on opportunities and barriers to incorporating learning and education effectively within planning processes are analysed. By integrating observations, interviewees' comments and insights, and the literature on learning, education, and planning, a set of principles is developed for fostering learning and education in community-based planning. These principles relate to reflection and discussion, prerequisites to learning, and strategies for designing participation processes. The principles are summarised in a checklist that can be easily used by planners and others. Suggestions are offered for further research on learning and education in community-based planning.

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