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Fables of the reconstruction: a phenomenology of 'place shaping' in the North of England

Allen, Christopher and Crookes, Lee (2009) Fables of the reconstruction: a phenomenology of 'place shaping' in the North of England. ISSN 0041-0020

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Abstract

This paper examines the social relevance of 'place shaping'. Although place shaping has entered the official planning lexicon, and now constitutes an important element of planning policy and practice, we cannot assume that ordinary people share the view that it is important or even useful. We examine this proposition by studying working-class residents' experiences of place shaping in two case study neighbourhoods that were deemed to be uncompetitive in housing market terms. 'Place shaping' ideas were used in these neighbourhoods to legitimise both the mass demolition of terraced housing and plans to develop 'exciting' new dwellingscapes that 'made a statement' to contemporary housing consumers. With reference to our empirical data, we argue that working-class residents did not relate to this approach to place shaping at all. We conclude that our research raises some important questions that planners need to consider carefully in the course of the practice of place shaping at neighbourhood level.

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