Communicative planning : (How) does it work?

Sammanfattning: The global and everlasting quest for the limited resources of the earth has developed into a need to chisel out how each spatial area will be able to sustain its inhabitants. The connection between global and local sustainability is direct and undisputed. However, the global vision of sustainability and its concrete meaning in local terms are vastly separate. In order to be able to bridge this gap, there is a need to anchor the vision and make it more tangible locally. Physical planning at a local level has in many ways been pin-pointed as the tool to achieve this, since local planning results in a merging of the economic, ecological and social aspects of sustainable development. Alongside this broadened view, the governmental vision of democracy is turning towards increased decentralization. Citizen participation is therefore becoming a part of, and even a uniting link, in the realization of sustainable development. This has created entirely new demands for the individual municipal planner. His/her new task is mainly to merge local stakeholders into functioning planning processes. As a response to this new network-based view of society, collaborative-or communicative-planning is being tested both theoretically and practically as a tool for realizing it. There are, however, major reservations as to how well it serves this purpose. The main objective of this thesis is to contribute to this discourse on these reservations, perhaps offering some useful input for further research and/or future development of guidelines for the practising planner. It is based on two case studies of communicative planning processes carried out in a Swedish context. The main conclusions are that communicative planning, both theoretical and practical, should be developed in a more post-modern and pragmatic sense, anchoring it firmly in its local, spatial setting and releasing it from preset assumptions of the formal and informal rules and boundaries of government and/or governance