The Art of Creating Consistency: Planning Strategies in the Age of Active Citizenship

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This paper addresses the emerging practice of civic initiatives in urban development, and the struggles professional planners and governments face in finding adequate strategies in dealing with this form of ‘active citizenship’ – strategies that reach beyond the inclusionary and disciplinary confines of participatory planning approaches. Based on empirical studies of 14 civic initiatives in Denmark, the Netherlands and England, and a theoretical hybrid of complexity theory (selforganization), actor-network theory (translation) assemblage theory (individuation), and recently developed post-structuralist planning theories, this paper argues towards a planning strategy that does fit the age of active citizenship. The paper argues that planners should no longer focus on organizing involvement in formal planning processes or setting up frameworks to counter fragmentation. Instead, planners should focus on creating consistency between a redundancy of spatial interventions and planning strategies that evolve from active citizenship. Creating consistency is based on three lines of thought: the need for conditions that do not constrain, but rather open up possibility spaces, the need for a facilitating planner who does not mediate but rather navigates between planning initiatives, and most importantly, a flat ontology of planning strategy. This flat ontology states that there is no a priori or ontological difference between the intentions and performed behavior of planning actors (including civic initiatives). By opening the spectrum for many others, navigating between these emerging others, and being able to empathize with the behaviors and strategies of these many others, potentials for consistency can be recognized and acted upon
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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