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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25683

Title: Closed planning procedures as instruments for open collaborative learning? A retroactive analysis of three planning processes relying on activity theory
Authors: Devisch, Oswald
Vervoort, Peter
Huybrechts, Liesbeth
Pisman, Ann
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Universidade de Lisboa
Citation: Freitas, Carlos; Fonseca, Inês (Ed.). The AESOP 2017 Congress eBook of Abstracts, Universidade de Lisboa,p. 243-243
Abstract: In a review of participatory planning literature, Liisa Horelli (2002) comes to the conclusion that “the core problem (of participatory planning) lies in the fuzzy relationship between participatory planning and decision making or in that between direct and representative democracy”. Participatory planning, she argues, is unpredictable by nature, driven by dynamic and heterogeneous citizen initiatives. Decision making, in contrast, requires stable and long term agreements in order to plan and supervise complex projects. Participatory practices are therefore often caught in generic procedures that turn these practices into formalities that are de-politicized and thus irrelevant (a/o De Bie et al., 2012; Olesen, 2014). To overcome this ‘core problem’, Horelli (2002) suggests to not try and open up the procedural nature of planning, but to rather reconceive it as an iteration of communicative transactions that support “learning and capacity building of citizens, experts, and decision makers”. There is quite some literature on how to organize single communicative transactions (a/o Steyaert & Lisoir, 2005) and there is a growing body of knowledge on spatial planning as collaborative learning (a/o Albrechts, 2004; Teitelbaum et al., 2015). But this literature does not provide frameworks on how to turn closed planning procedures into open collaborative learning processes, as Horelli (2002) suggests, that can support strategic planning. The aim of this paper is to explore the contours of such a framework. It will do this by applying Cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) to three ongoing participatory planning processes. CHAT is a theory that conceptualizes learning as a social practice firmly situated in a cultural and historical context (Engeström, 2009). All three cases are initiated by the Spatial Development Department of the Flemish Government. And all three have to comply with a distinctive policy context. The paper will first introduce the three cases. It will then apply CHAT. The paper will end with a discussion on potential strategies to turn (standard) planning procedures into instruments that can support collaborative learning. References: Albrechts, L., 2004. Strategic (spatial) planning re-examined. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 2004, 31, 743-758. De Bie, M., Oosterlynck, S., & De Blust, S., 2012. Participatie, ontwerp en toeeigening in een democratische stadsvernieuwing. In E. Vervloesem, B. De Meulder, & A. Loeckx (Eds.), Stadsvernieuwingsprojecten in Vlaanderen 20022011. Een eigenzinnige praktijk in Europees perspectief. Brussel: ASP, 29–33. Elbakidze, M., Dawson, L., Andersson, K., Axelsson, R., Angelstam, P., Stjernquist, I., Teitelbaum, S., Schlyter, P. & Thellbro, C., 2015. Is spatial planning a collaborative learning process? A case study from a rural–urban gradient in Sweden. Land Use Policy, 48, 270–285. Engeström, Y., 2009. The Future of Activity Theory: A Rough Draft. In: Sannino, A., Daniels, H. & Gutiérrez, K. (Eds.), Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Cambridge University Press, 303-328. Horelli, L., 2002. A Methodology of participatory planning. In R. Bechtel & A. Churchman (Eds.), Handbook of Environmental Psychology. John Wiley. Olesen, K., 2014. The neoliberalisation of strategic spatial planning. Planning Theory, 13(3), 288–303. Steyaert, S. & Lisoir, H., 2005. Participatory methods toolkit – A practitioner’s manual, King Baudouin Foundation and Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment. Belgium.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25683
Link to publication: http://aesop2017.pt/images/Congresso/proceedings/Book%20of%20Proceedings%2020171215.pdf
ISBN: 9789899980143
Category: C1
Type: Proceedings Paper
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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