The editors of TPR have selected ‘The character of the Just City: the regulation of place distinctiveness and its unjust social effects’ by Gethin Davison as the Featured Article for the latest issue. It will be free to access for three months. You can access the article here.
When asked to describe the paper, and highlight its importance, the author stated the following:
One of the most important tasks of planning research is to scrutinise and question the norms, assumptions and values that underpin planning practice. To that end, this article casts a critical light on an area of planning practice that is widespread, long-standing and largely unquestioned: the regulation of place distinctiveness through notions of neighbourhood, or community, ‘character’.
Drawing on the methods of Critical Discourse Analysis, the article examines planning texts in Melbourne, Australia, a city where the concept of character is unusually central to planning decision-making. Not only does the analysis reveal some inherent difficulties in the regulation of character, it demonstrates that such practices can also justify highly inequitable and exclusionary planning outcomes.