Narratives of and in urban change and planning: whose narratives and how authentic?
Lieven Ameel's book The Narrative Turn in Urban Planning offers a critical examination of the role of narratives and story-telling in questions concerning urban planning in future deliberations of urban change. The discussion provides an excellent way to identify, define and construct our understanding about narratives in and of planning, including the construction of a typology for the first time. But narratives of and for planning tend to mask wider meta-narrative issues that will affect how places are shaped and are changed in the future. These drivers of change not only encompass a range of socio-economic and environmental challenges. They will also have profound implications for our use of technology, and for the way our democratic processes operate. Such dramatic changes will impact on the context and form of planning, wherever you are in the world. And we are likely to see greater polarisation in attitudes toward urban and regional change, some of which may not only be proactive, but deeply reactive, subjective and selective. If the narrative turn will become more prominent in planning, we need to be ready for the likely proliferation of disruptive and insurgent narratives that will emerge and reflect the deep-seated vested interests that possess stakes in how and whether places change on their terms.
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