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Drain covers and door steps: Decision making and the co-creation of future cities

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Powell, Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Professor Richard DawsonORCiD


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© 2018 ICE Publishing. All rights reserved. Improved travel infrastructure and social, economic and political uncertainty will make cities of the future ever more cosmopolitan in character. City dwellers will have varied cultural backgrounds and contradictory ideas of how to live, work and inhabit urban environments. Civil engineers will need to understand the future aspirations and desires of urbanites, while challenging unrealistic expectations that undermine the viability of new engineering initiatives. This paper showcases a decision theatre research methodology to reveal how urban inhabitants engage with the built environment and access infrastructure. Adopting a research-through-engagement approach, the authors provide new insights into how urban environments are experienced and understood at both local and systemic scales by city stakeholders. Interrogating this empirical data, the authors illustrate how inhabitants with localised urban experiences may make demands on the built environment that appear illogical to civil engineers applying more systemic framings. The paper suggests that civil engineering solutions to population growth and climate change will require urban dwellers to change how they imagine, act and live within cities. It also advocates that civil engineers need to reframe their views of urban life, by investing in collaborative and co-creative decision-making partnerships with the inhabitants of these future cities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Powell M, Glendinning S, Dawson R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning

Year: 2018

Volume: 171

Issue: 4

Pages: 177-186

Print publication date: 01/08/2018

Online publication date: 22/06/2018

Acceptance date: 10/05/2018

ISSN (print): 1755-0793

ISSN (electronic): 1755-0807

Publisher: ICE Publishing


DOI: 10.1680/jurdp.17.00033


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