Discussion questions related to Healey's A Planner's Day (1992)

In Healey's "A Planner's Day", she documented a fifteen-minute discussion between the assistant chief planning officer (ACPO) and a representative of the local architectural firm. The local architectural firm was hired by a major European high technology company  to design its regional headquarter on twenty acres of land that is halfway between the city center and the regional airport.  The site was originally city-owned school playing field, had a long frontage to the main road, and was considered of high environmental quality.

After you read this negotiation episode, I would like to hear from from your thoughts on the following three questions.

   1. Who are the stakeholders involved in this site planning/design project?

   2. What are the potential conflicts among various stakeholders?

   3. What knowledge and skills did the ACPO use in negotiating with the representative of the local architectural firm?

Please add entries to this blog to describe your thoughts before our first class on 9/8/2009.


1. Who are the stakeholders involved in this site planning/design project?
Residents of the city, local residents association, elected members, the High Tech Company, the city council, the planning department, the Junior Architect & Senior Architect along with their firm, the construction company and their workers, automobile drivers along the frontage, and past users of the playing field.

2. What are the potential conflicts among various stakeholders?
The residents association could reject the design scheme changes causing the new design to have to go through a reapplication process and public meeting. This delay would cause the fast tract construction to be stalled creating an issue for both the High Tech Company and the contractor that they hired for the project.

3. What knowledge and skills did the ACPO use in negotiating with the representative of the local architectural firm?
Procedural knowledge of the application process, construction knowledge of the fast-track process, ability to review and read design/construction drawings, political knowledge of the association and to a lesser degree people knowledge during the interaction with the Junior Architect. While the ACPO mentioned that the design is the clients’ prerogative his comments and assessment biased his design preferences placing the Junior Architect in a difficult position.

1.I think the stakeholders involved in this project include local residents, local architectural firm and the European high technology company. Local residents will benefit from local job opportunities brought by the European high technology company and the training facilities. And local architectural firm will gain profits and fame from their main business. In the meantime, the European high technology company can also take the advantage of good location for their regional headquarter.

2.As mentioned in the article, design details might cause some public disquiet. I think local people might not be satisfied by the appearance of the new building and thus the company might not been seen as a good neighbor in this area referring to balcony landscaping, masonry tiles, frontage design and so on.

I think the potential conflicts are also between the architect and the high technology company. Maybe they will have different preferences referring to balcony. In other schemes, the company is not keen on balcony, but we cannot expand this to all cases.

3.The ACPO drew on five areas of expert skills and knowledge, including procedure, design, politics, people and norms. He was clear about the boundaries set up by the formal procedures and highly skilled in working out routes through the procedures. Secondly, he was able to read the maps and elevations to evaluate the building finishes and landscaping and their design impacts. Thirdly, he had a depth of knowledge about the concerns of different interest groups and could predict their reactions and weigh alternatives. He also had the ability to get behind the concerns of related people and appreciate their realities. He exhibited sophisticated and detailed understanding about standards and other principles of behaviors such as architect’s expertise and clients’ taste.


A very good point that you caught the planner placed the Architect in a difficult position. The planner did a great job acknowledging various stakeholders’ interests and anticipating their possible reactions, but he was less than encouraging when the architect was trying to provide more information about client preferences. By doing so, he lost the opportunity of knowing inside information on the private sector side.

1. The stakeholders are the council members, the architecture firm, the ACPO, the client (High Tech Company) the public, specifically local residents and users of the local motorway network.

2. A possible rejection by the public of the revised plan could halt the fast tracking proposed by the planner. The principles that the client wants for a "quality building" could conflict with local residents' aesthetic ideals. The users of the local motorway network and local residents could disapprove of the project because of additional road traffic despite furthering the goals of the city council for local economic development.

3. The ACPO had a clear procedural understanding of the planning processes and the legal requirements that that entails. This allowed him to provide options to even further fast track a popular project. He also utilized rudimentary architectural knowledge and put himself in the shoes of local community members to judge the project based on how they might view it. He used communication skills to lead the architect where he wanted to go in the conversation. Previously, when talking to the other architect, he noted he used the phrase "excited" when he had never used it before. A helpful use of observation.

1. Stakeholders: Manchester City Council (owners of the school playing field), the company (major European high technology company), citizens of the city and general public (as well as those using the playing field), and the local architecture firm

2. Potential conflicts: physical design issues with the structure was the only potential conflict specifically mentioned, another potential conflict may be the possible “fast-tracking” of the project through council procedures,

3. Knowledge and skills: knowledge of the city's procedures (and procedural norms)for new development, physical design and its impact on the surrounding areas, and an understanding of the political and institutional context for new development

1. The stakeholders involved in the site planning design project are the European high technology company, the council, and those residing in the area.
2. There is a chance that some potential conflict may arise in the development. The firm's need for a good quality building may result in design features that conflict with the desires of local residents. There is also the potential that the firms goals of providing jobs for locals may not be perfectly consistent with the council's economic development goals.
3. The ACPO had a thorough understanding of procedure. He understood the necessary and appropriate path for design approval. It was also evident that the ACPO possessed substantial knowledge of overall design. With little trouble, he was able to read and interpret the design documents and drawings. The APCO drew from his experience and ability to read the interests of other stakeholders: the community, councillors etc. In addition, the APCO is personable and understanding of people. Finally, the APCO was aware of his limitations due to the norms of the process.

1. Stakeholders:
Previous users of the playing field, The company, people driving by the property, job-seeking locals, neighbors to the land being developed, construction workers, architects

2. Potential conflicts:
Building materials and practices that exacerbated traffic on the surrounding motor ways, the loss of green space, the contamination of a high-environmental quality area, the company threatening to not locate the jobs there if the City does not let them build the way they want to.

3. Skills the ACPO used:
Procedural knowledge, design and its impact on the surrounding area, knowledge of the politics and institutions, the ability to relate and sympathize with the company/architects requests, enough common sense to temper the ACPO requests and frame them in a way that shows consideration of the other party's requests

This was Sarah Curtner's post.

This is by Kara Younkin

The stakeholders for the project are the private developer, the city, and the public. They all have an interest in the outcome of this development and all of their objectives are a little different which can make conflict when they compete with each other.

A Private developer has an obligation to their investors to make a successful property that will be economically viable with in a budget while the community is concerned about the design of the building without looking at the monetary cost. These two different perspectives could be in conflict. The planner is attempting to appease both sides making his job challenging because he cannot seem to be siding with one or the other. In order to keep an open dialogue with both parties he needs to be seen as a potentially unbiased intermediary.

He used procedures, design, politics and institutions, people, and norms.

He used procedures, desing, politics and intitutions, people, and norms.

1. Stakeholders include the European high technology company, the architecture firm designing the company's new building, the city council (current owner of the site), and the public (in regards to job prospects, ecological function of the developed site for the community, and aesthetic value of the new building for local citizens).

2. Potential conflicts could arise over the ongoing environmental quality of the site in question. In addition, developers, architects and the public must come to agreement over design elements for the new building (with the developer placing emphasis on a practical and affordable design, and citizens urging design features which compliment the aesthetic values of the neighborhood).

3. In discussion with the representative of the local architecture firm the ACPO exhibited a successful understanding of formal procedures applicable to the case (and ways to efficiently maneuver through these procedures), of building design and how it would impact surrounding areas, of the political-institutional context for the case (the micropolitics affecting the outcome), of how to relate to each party involved considering their diverse realities, and of the norms involved (the responsibilities and standards of each stakeholder).

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This page contains a single entry by yingling published on August 30, 2009 4:02 PM.

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