|Ph.D Student||Sadan Elisheva|
|Subject||Empowerment in the Context of Community Planning:|
A Theoretical Development
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Arza Churchman|
The purpose of this thesis is to develop a theory of empowerment and professional practice that presents an alternative: professional orientation for dealing with social powerlessness and its devastating side effects. The practice chosen as a context for developing the theory is community planning. This thesis is theoretical and interdisciplinary: The disciplines represented within it are, among others, planning, community organization, environmental psychology, philosophy and feminist theories.
The process of empowerment entails a transformation from a situation of powerlessness to a situation of control over life, destiny and environment. The process entails changes in three dimensions: In the feelings and abilities of individuals; In the life of the collective; In the relevant professional intervention. Actually, these are three processes of empowerment Individual, community and professional practice that complement and support each other.
The thesis is divided into two parts: The first part deals with the development of a theory of empowerment and the second part deals with developing a theory of empowering practice, e.g. empowering community planning. Theories of power are surveyed towards developing a theory of empowerment. The literature on empowerment is surveyed and classified into three main processes: Individual empowerment, community empowerment and professional practice as empowerment.
Following, the contextual theory of empowerment is developed. The theoretical discussion reintegrates the three basic components of the concept into one process of social and environmental change that also realizes important individual goals of control for those involved in the process.
The second part is devoted to developing a theory of empowerment in the context of community planning. Community planning is defined as a practice common to several disciplines. A discussion of each of the three processes of the theory of empowerment follows. The three processes are presented in the context of community planning, and illustrated by examples from case studies conducted for this purpose.
Following the development of the contextual theory questions and for empirical research are derived from the theoretical development, and other directions for inquiring and thinking about empowerment are suggested.