Public Participation in Norwegian Physical Planning – revisited

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Ten years ago, I published about article Public Participation in Norwegian Physical Planning (Fiskaa, 2005), which this paper follows up. Since then changes have occurred in Norwegian planning act and practice. The new Planning and Building Act from 2009 emphasized the ambitions and requirements for public participation. At the same time, Norway has an explicit right for private developers to promote zoning plans, unlike at least the other Nordic countries that still have a public planning monopoly. Thus, one may assume private developers in Norway to influence the content of plans decisively although the municipal council has the authority to approve them. Previous research project indicate that developers communications about plans are mostly towards the municipal planning department and other public authorities, with less regard for public participation. This paper examines the present status of public participation in Norway, enlightened by a case study of 140 zoning plans decided upon by the city council in Trondheim in the years 2012-2014. The study shows that public participation in the meaning citizen participation beyond the act’s minimum requirements is rather seldom. Moreover, when neighbours, other inhabitants and civil organizations oppose to plan proposals or forward alternative proposals, their meanings are for the most not taken into account. This fact is most obvious concerning private promoted plans, and must be a challenge for planning authorities that have the superior responsibility for open and democratic planning processes.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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