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Title: Generative places, smart approaches, happy people
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Editors - Sara Santos Cruz, Fernando Brandão AlvesAlong the decades, planning has been evolving from expert-led or top-down approaches to more community-led, interactive and participatory approaches, valuing the social capital of local communities and putting citizens at the centre of planning processes. Research has been emphasizing the importance of local contexts to set goals and establish priorities through adaptive learning processes. Additionally, it is relevant to identify places here understood as generative places, where the emergence of local initiatives based on knowledge-based creativity and interactive learning occur. In other words, places should demonstrate the capacity to flourish and reinvent themselves - hopefully revealing their true genius loci, meaning the locations unique character - most of the times through spontaneous processes based on community action and groups of individuals' initiatives.BECOMING LOCAL means that the contemporary rationale should zoom in to local spaces and places, policies and practices, and everyday life; this way, the human capital (citizens and their social and cultural background) play an important role as key agents of urban change and, in particular, of defining what is meaningful within the city. The understanding and the production of these meaningful places is, nowadays, increasingly confronted with diversified real (material) and virtual (immaterial) spheres of urban spaces, either private or public. Planning has to be prepared to embrace both these spheres of the city, as they both contribute to the construction of meaningful places.Moreover, the idea that the use of technological or smart driven approaches in planning processes can, firstly, facilitate political discourse and participation by strengthening the link between citizens and governors, and secondly, better respond to people needs and improve the quality of life of citizens, has been around in different contexts and dimensions. Several projects, applications and approaches are making evident that we are forced to live and use technology in our daily activities and inevitably in the city arena. Technology affects our behaviours and the way we move and live in urban areas at various levels. However, regarding the access to (new) technologies (transports, communication/ICT networks, etc.), a certain asymmetry still exists due to the vulnerability of some communities and deprived families. Also, the operative structures of public institutions and private representative bodies of local people interests are often different. Additional, in some regions, physical distance is not yet counterbalanced with technological proximity. Thus, participatory planning processes may be less efficient and even threatened. Though, it is imperative to investigate and discuss how these technological tools can lead to the idea of what is usually designated as e-inclusion and most importantly how it can promote, ultimately, social cohesion and integration.Intensifying the role of citizens, by either community-led, interactive, or participatory approaches, is consensually argued as responding more directly to peoples needs and aspirations. Nonetheless, the level of quality of life, and even the level of happiness, is far from being truly and completely achieved. Urban planning has been concerned in creating better places, but nowadays is also focusing in increasing the levels of happiness, following the wider trend in discussing what makes people happier.
Document Type: Livro de Atas de Conferência Internacional
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FEUP - Livro de Atas de Conferência Internacional

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