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Alessandro Balducci - Planning as a Trading Zone

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IV Conference of Regional and Urban Planning International Conference of the Project Community Participation in Planning
Participation in planning and public policy
23th/24th of February, 2017

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Alessandro Balducci - Planning as a Trading Zone

  1. 1. Participation in Planning and Public Policy Conference – University of Aveiro, February 23rd 2017 Planning as a Trading Zone Alessandro Balducci Department of Architecture and Urban Studies
  2. 2. Alessandro Balducci • Land use planning and its limits • What we learned looking at different decision making models from political science • The rational model and Planning as Technical rationality • Bounded political rationality and the opening towards participatory planning • Different historical forms of participatory planning • Facing a growing complexity the “garbage can” decision making model • Planning and “trading zone” • The need to develop different forms of interaction and participation for different planning problems Outline
  3. 3. Alessandro Balducci • Planning is a young discipline the aim is to control the spatial organisation of the human society • the first chair in urban planning: Liverpool 1909 • For a very long time it has been based upon some form of land-use planning • Even if in Europe there have been many different roots and traditions Setting the scene
  4. 4. Alessandro Balducci Planning tradition Countries Regional Economic- Centralist France Compreehensive integrated - Federalist Belgium, Germany, Switzerland Comprehensive integrated -Municipalist Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweeden Land-Use Management UK Urbanism Grece, Italy, Portugal, Spain Eastern “transitional” Poland, Check Rep, Bulgaria, etc. Planning Traditions Gualini, 2004
  5. 5. Alessandro Balducci Land use planning Land-use planning is concerned with the location, intensity, form, amount, and harmonization of land development required for the various space-using functions: housing, industry, recreation, transport, education, nature, agriculture, cultural activities The assumption was that there was a general consensus about the goals of planning and that even with different approaches solutions were not uncertain
  6. 6. Alessandro Balducci Land use planning This heroic period lasted until when planning had to cope with expansion and development When problems started to change planning solutions proved to be ineffective and even agreement about goals was problematic This became very clear in the 1980s under the attack of neo-liberal policies (Tatcher/Regan) but it was already clear in theory since the 1960s
  7. 7. Alessandro Balducci Land-use planning , even if necessary, is static, extremely detailed, passive, based upon analysis, comprehensive, and is typically based upon a rational comprehensive model. Everything must be decided at once, in advance, before the transformation, and every change must follow all the same procedure adopted for the formation and approval of the plan. It is un-flexible, not open to change, it is limited to the municipal boundaries, it is inward looking. Land use planning and its limits
  8. 8. Alessandro Balducci Emerging demands challenging the capacity of land use planning Urban regeneration Regional urbanisation Infrastructures and major projects Shrinking cities Re-vitalising economy Urban competition Attraction of investments, urban marketing Urban sustainability Urban quality Mega Events Urban social problems PP Partnerships
  9. 9. Alessandro Balducci Karen Christensen, Coping with Uncertainty in Planning, 1985
  10. 10. Alessandro Balducci
  11. 11. Alessandro Balducci
  12. 12. Alessandro Balducci • What we have been discovering is that these problems had been common problems for many public policies and that already there had been a process of “translation” in the past • Translations have always been important especially from political science about the roots of rationality Translations
  13. 13. Alessandro Balducci The Rational Model Guided by problems well defined, preferences clearly understandable, alternatives possible to enumerate, capacity of calculation and choices: Two conditions: – complete information and – unitary isolated actors Planning as technical rationality
  14. 14. Alessandro Balducci • The rational model has long been at the basis of an idea of planning as land use planning capable to change the society through a planning activity, giving the opportunity of an equitable and rational use of space, being able to attack spatial injustice, to solve emerging urban problems through a rational and democratic process of design. • It has been the basis of the Technical Rationality Planning and technical rationality
  15. 15. Alessandro Balducci • Herbert Simon (already in 1940) and Charles Lindblom (1959) attacked the two conditions of impracticability of the rational model – The first is the always incomplete information – The second the impossibility to identify a unitary decision maker • Translations have been quite disruptive here for the rational paradigm of planning on which land use planning was based Towards bounded political rationality
  16. 16. Alessandro Balducci • Melvin Webber as a key figure in the process of translation both from political science to planning and from the US to Europe • He has been in direct contact with Lindblom • He conceived the idea of planning as a process rather than an act of design • “Dilemmas in a general Theory of Planning” written with Horst Rittel planning problems are “wicked problems” Towards reflective and participatory practices
  17. 17. Alessandro Balducci 1. There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem 2. Wicked problems have no stopping rule 3. Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but good-or-bad 4. There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem 5. Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial-and-error, every attempt counts significantly 6. Wicked problems do not have an enumerable (or an exhaustively describable) set of potential solutions, nor is there a well-described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan 7. Every wicked problem is essentially unique 8. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem 9. The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The choice of explanation determines the nature of the problem's resolution 10. The planner has no right to be wrong “Wicked” planning problems
  18. 18. Alessandro Balducci This period of reflection and re-thinking of the foundation of planning has been very important  to question the technical rationality approach  to consider uncertainty as constitutive  to consider conflict as endemic  to open up towards advocacy and participatory planning Planning as reflective and participatory practice
  19. 19. What the user wantedAs installed at the user's site As proposed by the project sponsor As specified in the project request As produced by the programmers As designed by the senior analyst
  20. 20. Largo Barracche prima del Pic Urban di Napoli nel 1986
  21. 21. 2001
  22. 22. 2001
  23. 23. 2003
  24. 24. 2004
  25. 25. Alessandro Balducci Scientific vs Ordinary and interactive Knowledge Lindblom and Cohen (1979):  professional social inquiry and ordinary knowledge  scientific analysis and interaction as alternative means to understand and solve social problems  in complex situations professional social inquiry and scientific analysis can operate only as a support for ordinary knowledge and interaction
  26. 26. Participation cycles (P. Fareri) ‘70: urban social movements ‘80: NIMBY ‘90: participatory planning 2000: self organisation
  27. 27. direction ideology relation with the political system what we learn    + demand to do to stop doing _ _ selective exclusive instrumental the output? experts are not always right consensus is relevant methodology is relevant  to do without asking ? ?
  28. 28. Participatory tools (1) Public meetings (2) Public happenings (3) ‘Planning for Real’ (4) workshop (5) Focus Group (5) Brainstorming (6) Scenario writing (7) Charrette (8) Visit to other cases (9) Participatory survey (10) Direct observation/shadowing (11) Prticipant observation (12) Lcal labs (14) Incremental construction of things (15) Exhibitions (16) Local events (17) Town Meeting (18) Open Space Technology
  29. 29. Alessandro Balducci Advantages: • The value of participation in providing qualitative and detailed information for the planning process • The value of involving directly affected citizens in the search for good solutions to urban problems (probing) Risks: • To do participation but not what has been planned • To apply the wrong tools (bargaining vs experimentation) • To be suffocated by the strength of building • Intractable conflictual wicked problems The most important advantages and the possible limits of participatory planning
  30. 30. Alessandro Balducci March Olsen and Cohen 1978 The decision "is a collection of choices looking for problems, issues and feelings looking for decision situations in which they might be aired, solutions looking for issues to which they might be the answer, and decision makers looking for work". 4 ambiguities 1. Actors goals are unstable 2. Actors participation is fluid and inconstant 3. Limited opportunities to decide 4. There is not a search for solutions but “garbage can” Facing a Growing Complexity: the“garbage can model”
  31. 31. Alessandro Balducci There has been the work of the “planning and complexity” group of Aesop The work of Jean Hillier, de Roo, at al. Theory of “assemblages” (Latour, Beauregard, Sassen) The new book of Amin and Thrift “Seeing like a City” in which they emphasize the growing importance of the urban space as an aggregate of human and non human decision makes in which technologies are playing a growing role No direct translation of the “garbage can” model
  32. 32. Model Who decides How decides Structure Planning Translation Rational Unitary subject Instititionally competent Problem solving optimization Central coordination Technical Rationality Bounded rationality Organisation Instititionally competent Problem setting satisficing Central coordination Reflective practice Incrementalism Set of actors with interests Disjointed incrementalism consensus Partisan mutual adjustment Participatory planning Garbage can actants Casual matching problems- solutions casuality ? Decision Making Models and Planning Translations
  33. 33. POLITICAL AMBIGUITY SMALL POLITICAL AMBIGUITY GREAT TECHNICAL UNCERTAINTY SMALL Rational approach Technical Rationality Political rationality Incremental model Participation for Bargaining TECHNICAL UNCERTAINTY GREAT Bounded rationality model Reflective practice (Schon) Participation for Experimentation Wicked problems – Rittel & Webber 1973 Garbage can model Planning problems (applying Christensen 1985)
  34. 34. Alessandro Balducci If conflict is endemic and uncertainty constitutive, in situations of extreme complexity we need to interpret the situations according to these dimensions in order to device innovative planning initiatives
  35. 35. Alessandro Balducci Introduced by Peter Galison (1997, Image and Logic. A Material Culture of Microphysics) to explain innovations in science. Studying the way in which paradigm shifts and disruptive innovations had historically happened he discovered that this was not because different groups of scientist agreed about the need to change or innovate but rather because groups with completely different values and objectives were forced to work together and simplifying their jargon have been able to create an environment of understanding – a trading zone- that allowed the innovation to happen “Trading zone” and Boundary Objects
  36. 36. Alessandro Balducci Galison shows through empirical observation of how innovations in science occurred historically – ranging from physics to nanotechnologies – how these give rise to concrete spaces or conceptual spaces where scientists belonging to different disciplinary fields with completely different paradigms and values are forced to find simplified and intermediate languages to be able to work together. It is from this essential communication, which requires partial, contingent agreements, that innovations are born. A platform where highly elaborate and complicated issues can be transformed into “thin descriptions” for the purposes of exchanging information – in a certain locality.
  37. 37. Alessandro Balducci Analogy to anthropological linguistics studies of pidgin and creole languages Related to ’boundary object’ concept (Star & Griesemer 1989) but more dynamic. Trading Zone and Boundary objects
  38. 38. Alessandro Balducci “Boundary object is an analytic concept of those scientific objects which both inhabit several intersecting social worlds and satisfy the informational requirements of each of them. Boundary objects are objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and the constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual-site use. These objects may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting social worlds.” - Star & Griesemer 1989, 393 Boundary Objects
  39. 39. Alessandro Balducci SPONSOR (Alexander): Commitment to conservation and educational philanthropy TRAPPERS: Monetary pay-offs, hunting information UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION: Prestige, national-class status, external funding RESEARCHERS (Grinnell): Extention to the theory of evolution – The evolution of the environment COLLECTORS: Preservation of California’s fauna for future generations BOUNDARY OBJECTS: •Standardized forms •Idealized maps •Coincident (geographical) boundaries •Repositories Boundary objects in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Sociology, 1907-39 -> Boundary objects enable the coordination of different stakeholders’ activities without the requirement of shared objectives
  40. 40. Alessandro Balducci Example: the Pedemontana Highway and the Greenway
  41. 41. Alessandro Balducci Pedemontana and the greenway
  42. 42. Alessandro Balducci What the Trading Zone concept adds to our reflection on interactive participatory planning? It tells us that there are situations of extreme uncertainty in which rather than trying to organise the process to conquer a consensus about future initiatives it is better to play in the process searching for boundary objects, partial agreements even in persisting disagreement about objectives and values. Participatory Planning and “Trading zone”
  43. 43. Alessandro Balducci What are the consequences? • never blaming other actors for not understanding • never delay the action if it is possible • never hide your position as a planner in the conflict • never conceive conflict mediation as a single process of coordination in a unified arena • always try to make your position understandable to other actors and lay people • always look intensely for partial agreements • always be open to divert your planned path • always try to see if it is possible to change a pidgin in creole Participatory Planning and “Trading zone”
  44. 44. Alessandro Balducci For a long period planning has been mainly land use planning Facing the limits of this approach challenged by the growing complexity of society we started to look at other disciplines to translate concept that could orient our action Decision making models of political science have been very influential We discovered that technical rationality is applicable only in limited situation That we need different forms of actors involvement either in the form of organised participation or in the form of searching for trading zones or boundary objects Concluding
  45. 45. POLITICAL AMBIGUITY SMALL POLITICAL AMBIGUITY GREAT TECHNICAL UNCERTAINTY SMALL Rational approach Technical Rationality Political rationality Incremental model Participation for Bargaining TECHNICAL UNCERTAINTY GREAT Bounded rationality model Reflective practice (Schon) Participation for Experimentation Wicked problems – Rittel & Webber 1973 Garbage can model Interaction for the creation of a Trading Zone Planning problems (applying Christensen 1985)
  46. 46. Alessandro Balducci
  • RacheleAruta

    Oct. 27, 2019
  • GiulioSuffritti

    Mar. 1, 2017

IV Conference of Regional and Urban Planning International Conference of the Project Community Participation in Planning Participation in planning and public policy 23th/24th of February, 2017


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