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Integrating our nation’s diversity: Exploring the roles of multimedia in fostering multicultural participation, Volume 1: Participation of minority and ethnic communities in planning decision-making processes

Mahdjoubi, Lamine; Moobela, Cletus


Lamine Mahdjoubi


This report represents Volume 1 of a series of reports on ‘Integrating our Nation’s Diversity in the Planning process: Exploring the Potential of Multimedia in Fostering Multicultural Participation’ commissioned by the British Academy, the National Academy for the Humanities and the Social Sciences. The purpose of the report is to establish and consolidate the case for the adoption of more innovative approaches to participation of minority and ethnic communities in planning decision-making processes. The report is an outcome of literature review on a subject matter that is still yearning for an effective solution despite the prevalence of copious volumes of literature on the subject. The report begins by tracing the emergence of planning decision-making processes in the United Kingdom in general, where public participation has been identified as a long-standing tradition of planning.
The burgeoning culture of participation first manifested itself in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the field of research and development and spread to local community engagement. The dawn of the 1990s particularly witnessed an increased amount of community participation in various dimensions of public decision-making processes. This has been paralleled by a considerable amount of eclecticism on the part of the planning system, which culminated into the first new Planning Act (the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) for more than a decade and which paved the way for a more flexible and responsive planning system for England.
In further establishing the case for public participation, the underlying principles behind the need for public participation in planning decision-making processes are discussed in the report. The report identifies the social and economic benefits as well as issues of conflict management and knowledge transfer, among others, as the positive virtues associated with engaging diversity. This has been discussed in tandem with the various policy and legislative instruments that demonstrate the government’s commitment to public engagement in general and issues of diversity in particular. Although the need for consultation was pronounced in the 1947 Planning Act, the real measures at tapping the resources of local communities started with the introduction of Best Value introduced in 1998 by the central government as a mechanism for improving the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of local authority services. This catapulted a trajectory of research and subsequent policy prescriptions that served as the cornerstones for the new planning system referred to above.
The report discusses the salient issues pertaining to participation of minority and ethnic communities in planning decision-making processes. It further re-enforces the fundamental notion that recognising and engaging diversity
can yield social and economic benefits by building stronger relations between the planning authority and the different communities that are served by the authority. It also ensures that the outcomes of the planning process will benefit society and that members of the community will value the planning system itself. Again, the government has not only recognised the importance of diversity in planning decision-making processes but equally demonstrated this through
a series of policy and legislative instruments that preceded the enactment of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
Despite the efforts, there still remains a number of barriers to effective engagement of diverse communities in the decision-making processes. These impediments have been identified as revolving around the economic, social, and cultural issues that are attached to diversity itself. Engaging people effectively in planning decision-making processes requires time, effort, money, human resources, information and skills. Against the backdrop of these impediments,
the report concludes by pronouncing the need for continued commitment to a search for more innovative approaches to engaging diversity in planning. The potential of multimedia in tackling the barriers to engagement in planning decision-making is explored in the research project. The next volume reviews the existing communication
methods in planning decision-making processes with a view to highlighting the need to explore the potential
of multimedia techniques.

Report Type Research Report
Publication Date 2007
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2022
Publisher University of the West of England
ISBN 978-1-86043-400-6
Public URL