• Building Together: Case Studies in Participatory Planning and Community Building
    Roger Katan and Ronald Shiffman
    New Village Press, 2014
    Roger Katan & Ronald Shiffman

Population transfer, 1996-99, Tumaco, Colombia. Courtesy of the authors.

Building Together has the double connotation of rebuilding people and community through engagement in the design and building of one's immediate environment. It outlines a methodology of participatory practice learned from forty-five years in the field. Written in the 1980s by Roger Katan, the manuscript is expanded to include South American case studies. The form of practice known as advocacy planning began in the United States as an outgrowth of the 1960s social movements, and has been internationally adopted. Katan is joined in this updated publication by Ronald Shiffman, founder of the Pratt Center (1963). The two look back at different work situations of the past half-century and comment on the methodology and processes that emerged. In the United States, birthplace of participatory planning and advocacy architecture, the book is a valuable reference text for students, professionals, and community organizations, especially as more attention is now being paid by the professions on the development needs of low income people and their communities—the 99%.

After architecture studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, Roger Katan won a scholarship to MIT in 1960. From 1962-64, worked for Louis Kahn in Philadelphia. He created, with Pratt and City College graduate students, one of the first Community Design Centers, offering free technical assistance to community organizations from 1964 to 1975. He taught architecture at Pratt Institute, New York City College, and Pratt Graduate School of Tropical Architecture for ten years, with one year spent at Vassar College (in the Political Science Department) practicing and teaching advocacy planning in Poughkeepsie, NY. Katan has lectured extensively in the United States and at foreign universities, after obtaining U.S. citizenship in 1968. From 1976-80, he was consultant to the French government on participatory practice. He has published two books, one about advocacy planning and the other a methodology for participatory practice. From 1976 to 2006, Katan worked on missions with the UN, World Bank, and European Union serving uprooted communities in West Africa, South, and Central America, and he continues to be a consultant to the Municipality of Tumaco, on the Pacific coast of Colombia.

Ron Shiffman is a city planner with forty-five years of experience providing program and organizational development assistance to community-based groups in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Trained as an architect and urban planner, he is an expert in the areas of community-based economic development, social planning, sustainable development, and community-based planning with emphasis on issues of economic, social, and environmental justice. He has had extensive success in pursuing comprehensive approaches to address problems faced by low- and moderate-income communities. He has introduced graduate courses focused on advocacy planning and development, designed to address issues of poverty, social exclusion, and sustainable development. In 1964, he founded the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED), a public interest architectural, planning, and community development office. In 1965, working with community leaders and Sen. Robert Kennedy, he helped to conceive the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation—one of the nation's first community development corporations. Shiffman recently won the Rockefeller Foundations's coveted Jane Jacobs Medal for Life-Time Achievement as well as the prestigious 2013 American Planning Association Urban Pioneer Award for his work.