New RIBA book looks to the future of urban planning by looking back- Introducing 20/20 Visions

At a time when most of the world’s population live in cities and a new urgency is being felt in the midst of a housing crisis, 20/20 Visions: Collaborative Planning and Placemaking debates participatory democracy and how best to create sustainable places that support healthy, enterprising communities.

This is the latest book from national architecture authority RIBA Publishing and the first from JTP partner, architect Charles Campion, in which the future of placemaking and the important role of communities are discussed.

Campion critically examines twenty case studies from the last two decades, all of which use the ‘charrette’ process as a unique solution to community placemaking. This ‘tried and tested’ process involves local people working with multidisciplinary professionals to collaboratively create their own thriving, sustainable communities.

The concept originated in 1960s America, through ideas advocated by the Regional/ Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT). This organisation developed the participatory charrette practices that have flourished today, in the United States, the UK and around the world.

20/20 Visions demonstrates the objectives of Campion and JTP, and offers an informed, timely commentary on the development of towns and cities, and the government’s role in making healthy environments for the local community. Busy practitioners and those who value people-centric design will see it as a comprehensive guide and indispensable companion.

Campion brings to light:

“Cities, towns and villages were historically the product of many local hands as places evolved to suit needs of the community they served. However, the past few decades have seen planning theory and practice move away from creating locally distinctive and responsive places, in favour of an agenda often imposed from outside the community.

“Planning has become dominated by professionals and politicians… communities feel alienated, believing they have no real power to influence outcomes.”

“The collective intuition and intelligence of communities bring social, economic and environmental value to designing cities and neighbourhoods. Just as the act of voting is a right, it is inherently democratic to bring people genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.”

The book positions the creativity of communities as a huge but largely untapped resource. Looking to the future, the proposition of 20/20 Visions for the government is that discussion about architecture and design should be steered toward the idea of collaborative planning, for the good of the communities that will make them their homes in decades to come.

In the book, Campion affirms:

“It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.”

The book is available to order on the RIBA Bookshops website for £32.00. Order your copy here: