Innovative Pedagogies in Practice
Edited by Andrea I. Frank and Artur da Rosa Pires
Chapter 6: Challenges in education of participatory planning: collaborating with patients and physicians to plan mental health facilities
This chapter presents a pedagogical experiment with master’s students in urban planning. The originality of this workshop was that students worked with patients with mental illness in order to plan and relocate a mental health institution. This was sponsored by a Parisian psychiatric hospital that wanted to reorganize its activities in the city, while contributing to the social inclusion and empowerment of its patients. After presenting the different stages of the workshop, this chapter focuses on an analysis of the conditions and difficulties of this innovative and inclusive approach. The experiment raised several issues related to inclusion and dignity through planning practices and the education of future town planners. This afforded new understandings and a deeper appreciation of the challenges of participatory planning, by giving a voice to those who never speak. The whole process was enriching for all concerned, in terms of learning from others and from themselves. It also enhanced the learning opportunities for students, since they were compelled to reflect deeply on the complexities of standardised planning principles.
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