Author Archives: Ian Babelon

About Ian Babelon

Ian Babelon is a PhD candidate at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK, working on the topic of virtual cities for public engagement. His research interests cover public engagement, Public Participation GIS (PPGIS), Impact Assessment, renewable energies, and urban ecosystem services. He has an international academic background in anthropology, human geography and urban planning, which makes it excruciatingly hard for him to think "inside the box".

Online participatory mapping for spatial planning

Spatial planning is all about putting things on the map: existing spaces and places, as well as spaces and places to come. Yet how much of mapping for spatial planning actually engages the supposed beneficiaries of planning? This post considers … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Smarter past, smarter future: lessons for smart cities

The smart city is much discussed as a sustainable urban development model. However, as discussed in former posts on the blog, “smartness” is in the eye of the beholder. Smart cities of the past can help us plan smart(er) cities. … Continue reading

Posted in Beyond planning, Heritage and Planning, Planning, city, and society, Sustainability and resilience, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The smart, resilient city: cliché or oxymoron?

The smart city concept builds on technological and governance innovations to better enable cities to face up to urbanisation challenges, including the ability to “bounce back” from social, environmental and economic crises and shocks. To become smart is to become … Continue reading

Posted in Beyond planning, Planning, city, and society, Sustainability and resilience, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Through the Looking Glass: why public engagement in cities should be about (more than) reflexion/reflection

Place-making affects all of us. Yet how many of us, apart from place-making professionals and decision-makers, can really shape the places we live in? This post argues that engaging the public in place-making should at least be about mutual learning, … Continue reading

Posted in Beyond planning, Methodology and ethics, Planning, city, and society | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Toward Inclusive Cities 3.0 – aligning public participation with people

Is participatory planning about engaging everyone and making cities inclusive? Or about satisfying those who speak the loudest? These difficult questions affect public participation in cities throughout the world – for better or worse. After a brief discussion of what … Continue reading

Posted in Beyond planning, Planning, city, and society, Sustainability and resilience | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Public participation in the 3rd Millenium: making cities more sustainable?

The UN Summit Habitat III is just months away. At a critical time for climate change and sustainable development, public participation has a vital role to play in our efforts to “square the circle” of urban sustainability. Will the beginning of … Continue reading

Posted in Beyond planning, Planning, city, and society, Sustainability and resilience | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment