In many ways planning is an attempt at organizing. It is an attempt at bringing some logical order, some rationality into the processes that are shaping the spaces of co-existence in cities and communities. At the same time, we are learning more and more about the limits of our knowledge, logic, reason, rationality and the futility and even the dangers of "organizing" or "managing" in an enormously complex, unpredictable world. Studies are suggesting that emotions trump reason almost all the time. We are not logical beings and our actions are not evidence-based, but rather motivated by who we are, what we want of the world, what appeals to use, how we feel towards each other and towards the spaces we occupy. Some say this is depressing, but I think maybe not. Maybe our emotional, somatic, intuitive, aesthetic and even spiritual ways of knowing (not our evidence-based, scientific ways of knowing) are a better match for the complex, confusing, crazy world we are facing. I am interested in what all this means for planning. Can planning processes become the space where different ways of knowing, feeling and reasoning meet? Can planning decisions embrace a real diversity of interests, values, epistemologies beyond tokenism? Can planners meet people where they are at? Can they bring beauty and understanding into communities that so badly need them? Can they embrace and include conflict and use its dynamic potential to create something new? And would that make for better, more relevant, more flexible, more wise "planning" (or whatever we decide to call it)?
I've worked in the planning field for nearly 10 years, first as an environmental planner for a large consulting firm, then as a long range planner for a local municipality. Then, between 2008 and 2013, I completed a PhD in planning which makes a case for a therapeutic orientation in planning and describes a potential approach, based on my action research with a small Indigenous community on Vancouver Island. (See my dissertation here: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/45048 . I am currently teaching the Negotiation, Facilitation and Conflict Resolution class at SCARP, as one among a number of engagements. I work primarily as a process artist and facilitator under the name Whole Picture Thinking (www.wholepicturethinking.com). I consult to communities, non-for-profits, businesses and government agencies, supporting strategic planning, conflict resolution, innovation and leadership development processes. My practice is based in various methodologies including Deep Democracy, the Art of Hosting and Harvesting, Theory U, Action Inquiry and the Expressive Arts field. I am also working on a book based on my PhD and I write a blog at www.deep-democracy.net/blog.
Thanks for stopping by to meet me!