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UrbanMark • 3 years ago

This approach requires a collaborative community, in which we all work towards the goals of everyone else. Currently we live in a disruptive community, in which change from current norms to provide for individual benefit is highly valued. Perhaps Mother Nature will help swing the pendulum back in the direction of common values. After all, in baseball parlance, Mother bats last.

Fred Kent • 3 years ago

Very thoughtful comment! Moving beyond community disruptive environments is very difficult. We use an approach where people are charged to solve a problem of specific spaces within a larger community or a specific space. As problem solvers, people become energized to the point where they enjoy the experience of working together, and eventually they get to the point where they seek more opportunities and where they can share the outcomes together as a team...Does that make sense. Practice opens up more possibilities of sharing and gradually a community can work together and the results can be profound!

UrbanMark • 3 years ago

My experience with collaboration has been that there are some initial requirements that must be met or the collaboration will fail.

- The people involved must represent all the constituents of the situation. One of the initial questions to be answered is, "do we have everyone in the room who should be here?" Often, groups are made up of people who represent power positions or vested interests but not those who will end up living with the results of the collaboration.
- The group must embrace all the goals of all the constituents. This doesn't make all goals equal but ensures that no goal of significance is missing.
- A key success word for me is that everyone is "willing" to work towards the success of everyone else's goals. In some creative environments the goals of the schedule manager are often downplayed. In some highly scheduled endeavors, creative design is treated as something to be isolated or added later. This unwillingness destroys the collaboration.
- It takes time and understanding to succeed. Everyone must get to know everyone else, understand others previous work, share some social time. Collaboration is a human and humane process,
- Collaborations are not appropriate in every situation. Where the task is clear and the skills defined, assign someone and have them do it. Collaborations work best in complex situations where establishing the goals is in itself one of the key challenges.

While always a challenge, collaborative work carried forward with good intentions is incredibly satisfying and brings out the best in everyone.

Ryan Moroney • 3 years ago

Well said UrbanMark.

I think your requirements highlight the benign challenges of carrying out collaboration successfully.

In practice it is very difficult to get everyone or representives of the right people all together at the same time in the right social environment. But I agree it is quintessential.

Also, coming from a non indigenous Australian perspective, it is our duty as placemakers to collaborate with the right representitives of the traditional owners of the piece of country in question. As you say, this level of understanding accross cultures takes time and sometimes the cheap and quick testing methodology has to tread carefully and be part of a larger iterative process of engagement, collaborate, trial, reflect, repeat - in which a parrallel and sensitive undertsanding can manifest itself when the willingness and time is right.

I abslolutely subscribe to the ability of collaboration to galvanise a diverse group of people and hopefully more principled and empathetic approaches as highlited in the article will lead to positive outcomes with broader reach.

UrbanMark • 3 years ago

Hi Ryan
Sounds as if we're on the same page - which of course is the secret to collaboration. Too bad it's not easier to do.

Steve Balkin • 3 years ago

Be careful of this common constituency planning trick. Mayors and their agents often co-opt a few in a poor community with offers of money or nice housing to approve a gentrifying displacing land grab. Then the Mayor claims the entire community approves. One has to be vigilant not to be tricked by this, as HUD often is tricked or does not care.

Tom Grey • 3 years ago

This makes perfect sense, a doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, responsibility should also be taken by built environment design professionals.

Brandon Palanker • 3 years ago

Please include me as one of the folks who wishes to propel this idea forward. Won't go off the rails (YET!), but we also need to ensure that there is a focus on implementation (transformation doesn't happen from placePLANNING, but placeMAKING), which ties into the idea of lighter quicker cheaper, but may be more applicable to the fabric that ties local placemaking efforts into a more regional / policy framework