Planning for transition and the multiple perspectives on democratic legitimacy

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Connecting transition processes to participation and community planning implies the search for possibilities to reconcile the knowledge driven transition goals with democratic legitimacy. If we understand planning processes as multilateral communication processes we discover multiple interactions of diverse actors, which do not necessarily belong to a definable local community. The actors create a complex network of interdependencies with symmetric and asymmetric power relations. This paper shows in reference to a case study the different approaches and expectations involved actors have towards planning outcomes and decision-making in a planning process. Within complex actors constellations the legitimacy of representing public interest is claimed by various actors in a field of conflict. These claims are related to diverging conceptions of democracy that co-exist in daily political practice. Besides of turning legitimacy into a negotiable aspect the claim on legitimacy interferes also into conflict about the contents of planning. Referring on case study results this paper shows how several actors promote divergent goals claiming to defend public interests and the needed interventions for a future transition. Complexity of transition needs lead to the integration of phases for collective learning and qualification into planning processes in order to facilitate an adequate debate on desired planning outcomes. Nevertheless expert knowledge remains a controversial field when it comes to define the type or place of an intervention. This paper reflects on the role of different actors’ perspectives for rationalizations about planning outcomes within the discourse of transition.
legitimacy, actors’ perspectives, planning conflicts, planning for transition