Plan & Protest. En sociologisk studie av kontroverser, demokrati och makt i den fysiska planeringen

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Sociology

Sammanfattning: Since planning in connection with new building projects frequently generates controversy, it can be seen as a typical form of contentious politics. The aim of this dissertation is to analyze siting controversies, their origin, development and termination, in efforts to explore the problem of legitimacy in planning processes of this sort. The research approach employed is that of a multiple case study analysis. Four different planning processes concerning building projects in southern Sweden in which siting controversies occurred were selected. Two of them concerned housing projects ? a small infill project in a cultural environment and a large housing development project on earlier farmland. The other two concerned infrastructure ? the building of a railroad line and a road construction project. The case studies were based on analyses of public records and on interviews with different participants in the planning process: representatives of the developer, municipal officials and politicians, people living in the vicinity of the projects and representatives of local organisations. Three different theoretical perspectives were used in analyzing the empirical material: 1) theories of controversy for examining the content, structure and effects of the siting controversies, 2) theories of democracy for analyzing the intentions of the Planning and Building Act, the interpretation of these intentions by the actors and the democratic character of their interactions, 3) theories of power for analyzing different dimensions of power in the planning process. Major collides between different institutional logics of market, politics and civil society were evident in all of the cases. Three of the controversies were similar in structure, involving escalation and polarisation of the opposing sides. The fourth controversy exemplified a conflict that persisted without escalation. As my analysis demonstrates, the amount of resources and the possibilities to mobilize these by those negatively affected by the plans were of particular importance for the development of the controversies. However, none of the cases terminated in a complete resolution. On the other hand, resistance and voice entailed that further investigation of the issues occurred, in some cases producing minor changes of the original plans. Both participant and elitist oriented activities were evident in the planning processes. The official discourse of a participant democratic planning process gave rise on the part of those affected to expectations that were seldom met and hence to distress. Rather than reducing the siting controversies, the actual possibilities for public participation tended to reinforce them. Analysis of the power relationships showed the developers to have an especially dominant role. In struggles between the different actors involved, the developers had access primarily to allocative resources, the local governmental officials to authoritative resources, and the residents who were affected to expressive resources. The results of the struggles were partly dependent upon alliances with or support by actors from other spheres of society and of compromises between different institutional logics. The conclusion is that in efforts to achieve legitimacy in the planning process it is important to take account of: the nature of the controversies, the degree of democratic content of the planning process, and the effects of existing power structures.

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