We live in an age of active citizenship. In light of decreasing resources, administrators are seeking for more cost-effective ways to develop the city. The civic initiatives that emerge from society today are often perceived as an instrument for lowering public budgets, and accelerate social innovation and sustainable transition along the way. But how to govern a movement that is spontaneous, operates in an integrated manner and emerges organically?
With lectures by
In her recently published PhD research ‘Planning Strategies in an Age of Active Citizenship: A Post-structuralist Agenda for Self-organization in Spatial Planning’ Beitske Boonstra (TNO / University of Utrecht) is looking for ways to interpret the emergence of citizen driven initiatives in Europe from a strategic perspective. Civic initiatives in spatial development are on the rise. They emerge from civil society spontaneously and are unpredictable, dynamic, and multiplicit. Therefore, they are often at odds with the inclusionary and disciplinary confines of participatory planning and existing planning frameworks. Planning strategies that answer to the dynamics of civic initiatives, meeting the complexity of an age of active citizenship, have so far been seriously underdeveloped. Based on empirical studies of civic initiatives in Denmark, the Netherlands and England, and a theoretical hybrid of complexity theory (self-organization), actor-network theory (translation), and assemblage theory (individuation), this book argues toward a spatial planning that does fit the age of active citizenship. A spatial planning that focusses on conditions that open up, on navigation, and on creating consistency between a redundancy of spatial initiatives. And most importantly, the book argues toward a flat ontology of planning, in which there are no a priori differences between the intentions and performed behavior of planning actors – including citizens, entrepreneurs, governments, and many others.
Chris Roorda (DRIFT – Dutch Research Institute for Transitions) adds a theoretical perspective to the transition dynamics we are facing today, through his research ‘Governing Urban Sustainability Transitions.’ Based on inspiring examples from cities throughout Europe, he argues how the sum of citizen-driven sustainable initiatives are meaningful in the process of fundamental societal change. However there is an ongoing demand for a coordinating mechanism in the form of the government, to ensure its wider positive impact. How to achieve institutional innovation to successfully tap into the the energy that springs from society?