Matthews P (2013) The longue durée of community engagement: New applications of critical theory in planning research. Planning Theory, 12 (2), pp. 139-157. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473095212455212
Habermas' critical theory, and particularly his theory of communicative action, has been applied in the theory and practice of communicative planning. The concept of creating a public sphere in planning processes has been used as an ‘ought' that planners should seek to achieve to create a communicative rationality. Accepting some of the critique of communicative planning from an agonist and Foucauldian perspective, this paper presents a new application of Habermas' critical theory. Evidence is presented from community activists in two neighbourhoods of their ongoing reflection on the changes to their built environment over 20 years of regeneration. In this context, Habermas' theoretical work does explain the long-term discourse as the community moved towards a shared consensus on their neighbourhood. This is used to suggest that instead of looking for consensus in the tense conflicting of moments of initial engagement, planners should focus on the longue durée, and the Lifeworld of lived experience, where shared subjectivities over the built environment can develop.
Communicative planning; community engagement; Habermas; history; regeneration
Planning Theory: Volume 12, Issue 2