Lost or found in translation? Translating innovative forms of participation into formal decision making

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The theme of this paper is the impact of new and expressive forms of participation on policy decisions. Over the last 5-10 years, we note that some of the new initiatives in planning participation are characterised by the use of expressive and art based forms, like exhibitions, theatre, music, gatherings and various forms of installations. Sometimes these are initiated by the citizens, in order to gain attention to a place or a planning issue. Other times, the local planning authorities orchestrate them, for much the same reasons. Social innovation and urban transformation are often the core motivations behind these, in many cases, rather informal forms of participation. At the same time, the planning system – the legal and procedural arrangements for decision making – remains unchanged, meaning that the input that is gathered from the various arenas needs to be translated into a language that works in the more bureaucratic settings that otherwise characterize the planning process. We have little knowledge of this translation process in terms of what elements that are being channelled into the decision making and what is left out. In this paper, I ask the question of how this process of translation take place.
the impact of new and expressive forms, policy decisions