Planning in Interplace? On Time, Power and Learning in Local Activities Aiming at Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development
Doctoral thesis, 2004
SUBURBAN METROPOLITAN areas in Sweden built in the sixties and seventies are often considered exposed areas and are consequently involved in interventions aimed at dealing with problems such as unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. This thesis focusses on how urban planning is related to this social problem. The case study comprises an evaluation of an area-based funding programme called the Local Development Agreements. The research question is related to the roles of local employees. What can the field of planning learn from the case study if implementation of the funding programme is considered in relation to national policies as well as citizens opinions? The empirical material was analysed using a critical realist understanding of reality and from the point of view of three theoretical themes: time, power and learning. In short, the analysis revealed that local employees found it difficult to make use of the funding programme for learning: Although the programme brought to light triggers for learning with potential to challenge theories-in-use counterproductive to double-loop learning on themes in focus in the programme, the option to learn was most often not triggered by the employees. The reason was multifaceted and related to the three theoretical themes, however, considering the overall outcome, it was obvious to ask whether existing organizations actually have the potential to make changes with regard to extensive themes such as social inclusion. Then again, it was also revealed that the involved local employees were neither responsible for initiating learning processes nor prepared to handle any conflicting perspectives between prospective learning processes and ordinary procedures. Triggers for learning were revealed in the interplace a third world closely related to the Aristotelian notion of phronesis and with potential to enhance understanding between the two worlds of space and place. Planning based on interplace-divided understanding of the environment, as a complement, may be an option, considering the vision of sustainable development. Such a strategy for sustainable development is not new. What is new is rather the focus on how this could be accomplished taking into consideration the local prerequisites of stigmatized and ethnically segregated suburban metropolitan housing areas.
triggers for learning