Meeting the Challenge of Public Responsibility: Planning as Institutional Design

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“Planning must critically reconsider… the issue of repositioning the public responsibility” our Track chairs said. This can be understood in several ways. One is as responsibility to publics, i.e. accountability, which involves public values. Another is as responsibility of the public, raising structural issues. A useful approach for addressing these is institutional design (ID). What is ID, who does it and where, are answered and reviewed. How ID is done involves knowledge and methods. Public values and their relationship to ID are explored. Here "repositioning" means prioritizing accountability vs. other values e.g. efficiency or equity. Concrete implications are developed in discussion of public value promotion and conflict. Public responsibility in the structural sense conventionally refers to the public sector: state and government. Here "repositioning" means sharing responsibility with others: private actors and the market, NGOs and civil society. ID explores repositioning alternatives of non-traditional forms of governance and service delivery: public-private partnerships, outsourcing and privatization. Selected cases show relevant ID applications; for institutions effectuating public values and as arenas to mediate value conflicts: EU institutions, metro-regional planning in New York and Queensland, and military base closing in the USA; to reposition and share public responsibility: New Towns and planned communities in Britain and the USA, groundwater conservation in Apulia. The discussion and cases show how ID can help planners to effectively reposition public responsibility. Keywords: planning, institutional design, public responsibility
Book of proceedings: 29th Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015, Vol. 29, No. 2
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