Beyond the Flatlands

Leonie Sandercock, Giovanni Attili (Eds.)

This book explores the potential of multimedia to enrich and transform the planning field. By ‘multimedia’ the authors refer to the combination of multiple contents (both traditional and digital: texts, still images, animations, audio and video productions) and interactive platforms (offline interactive cd roms, online websites and forums, digital environments) which are opening up new possibilities in planning practice, pedagogy and research.

The authors document the ways in which multimedia can expand the language of planning and the creativity of planners; can evoke the lived experience (the spirit, memories, desires) of the mongrel cities of the 21st century by engaging with stories and storytelling; and can help democratize planning processes.

The diverse contributions demonstrate multimedia’s potential for layered, complex and open-ended representations of urban life; for enabling multiple forms of voice, participation and empowerment; for stimulating dialogue and influencing policy; for nurturing community engagement and community development; for expanding the horizons of qualitative and quantitative research; and for transformative learning experiences.

The book conveys an excitement about the ways in which multimedia can be used by activists, immigrant and indigenous communities, planning scholars and educators, wherever urban policy and planning strategies are being debated and communities are struggling to shape, improve or protect their life spaces. But the authors go beyond enthusiasm for the new, incorporating a critical stance about the power relations embedded in these new information and communication technologies; raising questions about audience and political intentions; and outlining ethical dilemmas around authorship and ownership, collaborative processes, and the politics of voice.