Gautam Bhan, Smita Srinivas, Vanessa Watson | 2018


This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses that planning work requires deep understanding of context to shape interventions that are innovative and at the same time highly sensitive to fragile livelihoods and environments. It examines a range of ways in which planners and other ‘professionals’ can learn in context. The book proposes a critical urbanism of learning, in which more collaborative forms of planning involve two forms of learning: both about the city and between different knowledges of city. It relates an initiative to establish a campus in the camp as an experimental education programme to transgress the borders between an ‘island of knowledge’ and an island of ‘social marginalisation’. The book illustrates how a well-intentioned engagement between planning students and community leaders through a studio project in Cape Town was beset by complex community dynamics, inadequate institutional support and student anxieties about grades and academic success.