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‘Deep engagement’ and urban regeneration: tea, trust, and the quest for co-design at precinct scale

Glackin, Stephen, Dionisio, Maria Rita
Land use policy 2016 v.52 pp. 363-373
case studies, decision making, planning, tea, Australia
This research paper focuses a new methodology for community engagement: ‘deep engagement’, comprising a range of formal and colloquial actions to support community engagement in urban regeneration, and examine the responses of communities to redevelopment. The conceptualisation of ‘deep engagement’ emerged from ‘deep play’ (Geertz, 1973), arguing that our role, as researchers, is to endeavour to access to community perspectives-towards socially sustainable redevelopment. For this, ‘deep engagement’ comprises nurturing dependability among involved communities, to better embed socio-cultural diversities and local know-how in the processes of urban regeneration. This paper presents two case studies in Victoria (Australia), where the proposed methodology was tested in mid-suburban regeneration, at precinct scale. In result, ‘deep engagement' clarified the diversity of community concerns towards urban redevelopment. Additionally, this research demonstrates the importance of developing ‘deep engagement’ methodologies, integrating casual actions with communities, to enable the identification of opportunities for urban regeneration, and to encompass the diversity of socio-cultural needs at local scale. ‘Deep engagement' can support a better embededness of local know-how in urban design, planning processes, enhancing the quality of regeneration outcomes while reinforcing the participation of communities in the processes of decision-making.