In spatial planning, new strategic planning practices have appeared in the form of contractual policies and accompanying agreement-based arrangements between state and local governments (public-public partnerships) at the city-regional level. What is notable is that these partnerships do not constitute administrative or democratic territories. This causes new kinds of challenges for representative democracy at the local level This causes new kinds of challenges for representative democracy at the local level.
The main aim of the project JustDe: Justification for agreement-based approaches in Nordic spatial planning: towards situational direct democracy? is to make visible how these new practices give a new direction to the justification of societal decision making, and what are the implications to how a “well-functioning democracy” is defined.
We do comparative studies between Finland, Sweden and Norway. Our focus is to
- locate the fundamental challenges of agreement-based processes in relation to their justification
- and to provide new means for overcoming these shortcomings in a manner that improves the credibility of the democratic anchorage of these processes.
The research is funded by the Academy of Finland (2018-2020) and led at the Department of Geoscience and Geography, University of Helsinki, within close collaboration with the Department of Geography, University of Stockholm and Faculty of Landscape and Society, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.