Natalie Bamford: “Public Participation in Cities: A Creative Practice Approach”

In Students by General Account

The urban fabric of cities is constantly changing and the governance of places is undergoing transformation in the UK thanks to processes of devolution, the impact of austerity, and emerging intermediate organisations responsible for urban policies. Enhanced public participation benefits inclusive governance and urban development. But how can this be achieved when the institutions of governance are changing and state planning is being hollowed out? This research addresses the opportunities for new forms of public participation in a metropolitan city region to establish how citizen demand for policy involvement is occurring in a changing institutional context. It seeks to identify good examples of participation beyond more traditional planning methods of local government. Building upon research in embodied activity from creative arts and digital platforms, it examines how interventions in Newcastle may stimulate new approaches to citizen involvement. Utilising an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, the research aims to bridge the gap between social science, creative practice and digital forms, and analyse new forms of knowledge coalescing across both disciplinary and sectoral divides. This is a collaborative study with the Newcastle BID NE1, responsible for reshaping the city centre. It adopts a series of creative interventions into the urban fabric across the city working with businesses and communities through curated urban case study pilots on specific urban problems. The outcomes will challenge opportunities for participation in urban debates, within a new institutional frame for governing the city.