Co-Creation and the City: Arts-Based Methods and Participatory Approaches in Urban Planning

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Editorial | Open Access

Co-Creation and the City: Arts-Based Methods and Participatory Approaches in Urban Planning


  • Juliet Carpenter Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation (GCHU), University of Oxford, UK
  • Christina Horvath PoLIS, University of Bath, UK


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Abstract:  This editorial for the thematic issue on “Co-Creation and the City: Arts-Based Methods and Participatory Approaches in Urban Planning” draws together the key themes of the ten articles in the issue. Firstly, the concept of Co-Creation is defined as a collective creative process involving artists, academics, and communities. Co-creation results in tangible or intangible outputs in the form of artwork or artefacts, and knowledge generated by multiple partners that, in a planning context, can feed into shared understandings of more socially just cities. The ten articles are summarized, and the emerging conclusions are drawn out, under three broad themes. The first set of conclusions deals with power imbalances and the risks of instrumentalization within co-creative processes. Contributors dismiss romanticizing assumptions that expect artistic practices to inevitably disrupt power hierarchies and strengthen democracy. The second set of outcomes relates to how arts-based strategies and methods can help address the translation of issues between urban planning and art. Finally, the third group of conclusions focuses on practices of listening within co-creation processes, raising the issue of voices that are less audible, rather than unheard or not listened to. In their concluding remarks, the authors recommend further research to be undertaken in this emerging field to explore the constraints and possibilities for urban planners to listen to arts-based expressions, in order to integrate a broader range of understandings and knowledge into plans for the city of the future.

Keywords:  affective knowledge; arts-based methods; co-creation; communities; embodiment; listening; participatory planning; power asymmetry; situated knowledge

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v7i3.6106


© Juliet Carpenter, Christina Horvath. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.