Planning decisions are often the artefact of locally situated political struggles to attract, resist or prepare for the impact of change (Gualini et al, 2015; Gualini, 2015).
These decision processes shape the physical city, but can unsettle normative framings of citizenship and belonging, values and ethics, and also expose a democratic paradox of planning praxis. Dominant economic growth imperatives and urban austerity strategies combined with global challenges related to climate change and urbanisation serve to intensify the political in planning. Yet, there is a concern that city planning has transitioned into what has been described as a postpolitical urban condition tempering episodes of conflict and undermining critical discourse (Metzger et al, 2015; Legacy, 2015; Blühdorn, 2013; Bylund, 2012; Oosterlynck and Swyngedouw, 2010).
Critics argue that by managing conflict out of planning and prioritising consensus-generating processes, the political is suppressed preventing citizens from questioning and challenging planning orthodoxy. The processes that do remain may offer opportunities for limited citizen engagement however still placing considerable demands on citizens as political subjects (Inch, 2014).
Conflict that does mount is displaced elsewhere positioning conflict and consensus into a dichotomous relationship (Bylund, 2012; Purcell, 2013). This binary, while useful as an analytical tool, is highly problematic and overly simplistic as a normative framing, removing the conflict/consensus nexus from nuanced analysis and critical engagement (Bond, 2010).
This symposium, co-hosted by the AESOP Planning/Conflict Thematic Group and the Critical Urban Governance program at the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, will bring together early, mid and late career planning academics to interrogate, reimagine and critically engage with the idea that planning is political.
It will do so by exploring the potential for ‘everyday politics’ as well as ‘extraordinary politics’ to expose and challenge the conception that ‘consensus’ and ‘conflict’ form a dichotomous relationship. The aim of the symposium will be to develop a more nuanced understanding of how planning processes interact with moments of conflict and consensus and the spaces ‘in between’.
In particular, the symposium will invite papers that offer responses to the following questions:
The symposium invites papers that respond to questions that engage critically with the conflict/consensus nexus and interrogate how this incites new and different ways of thinking about planning as a contested domain across space and time.
To RSVP, please contact Dr Crystal Legacy via firstname.lastname@example.org
RMIT Europe, Platypus Room (top floor), C/Minerva 2. 08006 Barcelona, Spain
Thursday 16 June to Friday 17 June 2016
Free. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea will be supplied.