Transforming urban planning processes and outcomes through creative methods

Ambio. 2021 May;50(5):1018-1034. doi: 10.1007/s13280-020-01436-3. Epub 2021 Feb 14.


Inclusively delivering the sustainable development goals (SDGs) remains challenging, particularly in urban areas, where some of the most pressing concerns exist. To achieve the transformative SDG agenda, new methods are required to overcome current deficits in engagement around inclusion and equitable outcomes. Evaluating against theories of governance and inclusion, we test a mixture of digital and physical creative methods abilities to deliver co-designed solutions that influence mobility and road safety planning outcomes in East African cities. Greater inclusion led to improved interactions of citizens with decision makers, and the identification of novel, practical solutions, delivering some elements of transformation. Risks include creative methods being used to co-opt communities to official agendas, and institutional planning norms needing to adapt to respond to a wider range of stakeholders. Overall, where risks are mitigated, we recommend that using Creative Methods could localise SDG delivery, ensuring more equitable and effective outcomes from infrastructure development investments.

Keywords: Creative methods; Engagement; Inclusion; Mobility; Sustainable development goals; Urban planning.

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • City Planning*
  • Global Health*
  • Sustainable Development