Provisional and precautionary politics as foundation for plurality participation in urban development – a political culture that incorporates the “wisdom of the crowds” within a solidly united planning and participation process

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Cooperation and participation have today become regular components of planning processes. Processes that take the ideas and concerns of citizens into account are recognised as more suitable and are therefore more easily accepted. The protests against the infrastructure project “Stuttgart 21”, however, have demonstrated that the so-called “communicative turn” in planning theory has failed to install a planning and policy-making process on a level playing field with the citizens. What is missing is an approach which brings the actors jointly to the table. In real life practice, politics, public administrations, and citizens are often parallel worlds with their own general rules and rituals, and with little mutual understanding. The concept of Provisional and Precautionary Politics can provide the stimulus to change the culture of local planning and policy-making processes. This kind of politics means a radical break with the rational planning model, which assumes that everything can be planned. By contrast, it aims at a common and mandatory process of open-ended knowledge generation, in terms of a body of experience and feedback. Provisional and Precautionary Politics is based on the assumption that in a changing world and due to human fallibility, knowledge and actions can only be preliminary. Therefore, it is important to preserve maximum scope for future action. According to this proposition, the “wisdom of the crowds” helps in solving complex social problems, while, in turn, planning and politics can help the “wisdom of the crowds” to achieve common action.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
All rights reserved