Janus-faced spatial planning systems

22.10.2019
The Department of Geosciences and Geography invites you to its Human Geography lecture series.

Janus-faced spatial planning systems: A strategic relational account of the unorthodox planning of our times

by Daniel Galland, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Time: Monday, November 4 at 2 pm

Venue: Porth­ania P219 Le­ht­is­ali (2nd floor), Yliopistonkatu 3

 

Discourses about institutional integration, territorial balance, and modernisation are consistently used by state actors to legitimise spatial planning systems as means to counter socio-spatial imbalances.

In the canon of planning literature, spatial planning systems have been widely conceived as state spatial projects comprised of fixed, hierarchical and structured policy institutions facilitated by administrative, technical and juridical tools and processes. Drawing on strategic-relational concepts from state theory and critical political geography, this paper sets out to challenge this orthodox understanding, contending that spatial planning systems be rather conceived as Janus-faced, i.e. systems holding an intrinsic condition of ambivalence. This contention is articulated through a hermeneutical model that renders the form of spatial planning systems muddled, dishevelled and a-scalar – an outcome of the inherently dialectical, discursive and dynamic relationship that takes place between state spatial projects and strategies. Foregrounded by an analysis of state spatial strategies in two Latin American contexts, the paper reveals how discourses about institutional integration, territorial balance, and modernisation are consistently used by state actors to legitimise spatial planning systems as means to counter socio-spatial imbalances (paradoxically generated by the state actors themselves). The paper concludes by endorsing Global South agendas advocating ‘heterodox’ approaches in planning research.

Daniel Galland is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and Chair of the Excellence in Education Board of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP). His research and teaching interests are in planning theory and history, spatial planning reorientations and international comparative planning. Daniel is co-editor of Metropolitan Regions, Planning and Governance (Springer 2020) and the special issue Planning Regional Futures (Regional Studies 2020).