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The added value of city civic movements in local spatial planning policies discussing the case of aveiro vfinal

The added value of city civic movements in local spatial planning policies: Discussing the case of Aveiro, Portugal
José Carlos Mota

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The added value of city civic movements in local spatial planning policies discussing the case of aveiro vfinal

  1. 1. 11th Meeting Thematic Group of AESOP Planning and ComplexitySelf-organization and spatial planning: in-depth analysis2nd & 3rd of May 2013 - University of AveiroThe added value of citycivic movements in localspatial planning policies:Discussing the case ofAveiro, PortugalJosé Carlos MotaDepartment of Social, Political andTerritorial Sciences - University
  2. 2. This presentation/articlewill try to contributea) to increase the knowledge between theoryand practice regarding new collaborative,tactical and evidence-based planningmethodologies (approaches)b) discuss the added value of city civicmovements in local spatial planningpolicies/practice
  3. 3. Self-organization / City civic movements• Self-organization, ‘spontaneousappearence of order ororganization, with ‘globalorder’ and ‘local action’ anddistributed over allcomponents(collective/robusteness)’(Heylighen, 2001)• city civic ‘self organized’movements, civic initiativesthrough networks, based on thelocal communities, out ofgovernemnt control; help toimprove citizen participation.
  4. 4. Actor/City civic movements - ConceptsActor, a set of individuals with a significant number ofcommon characteristics (interests, motivations andmeans) which plays a role in any given stage, influencingor being influenced by the other actors and may have ajoint project(Bryson, 2004; Mitchell et a1., 1997; (Crozier & Friedberg, 1977;Healey, 2011)
  5. 5. City civic movements -Role• Built a tranformative agenda enviosining social inovation• Need ability, strength, skill, intelligence and willingness to build threestrategic nexus: time, space and practices (Ferrão, 2011):– Regarding time, ability to combine three different times:• i) the time course of structural changes (the crisis); ii) the slow time of learning processes(people, communities and organizations, the slower the more profound are the changes);iii) the instantaneous time (strength) and ephemeral (weakness) dynamic of civicmovements,– Regarding space• i) the need to articulate local concerns with everyday spaces more global (rights andvalues​​); ii) the risk of confusing the place with localism, or assert themselves as nymbies;– Regarding practices• often a diverse world, fragmented and does not communicate with each other, which doesnot have a common language (Local Agenda 21, participatory budgeting, localdevelopment, civic movements of urban heritage protection), ignoring each other, have afocus, have difficulty in sharing memories, languages ​​and a common project, because theyhave common historical, have projects, actors, concepts and methodologies different, butthe purpose and object are close.
  6. 6. City civic movements -Benefits/Potential• Increased community engagement in a self-organization source creates many importantbenefits.– it values different kinds of knowledge (scientific, technical andempirical) and their assertive combination regarding commonconcerns or interests.– it builds a shared understanding, helps the launch of commongoals, and favours a collective action context, especially in anexperimental basis.– it increases public attention and accountability for decisionsconcerning the allocation of public resources.• Expanding the opportunities for civic self-organized participation
  7. 7. Participationin PlanningFrameworki) Stakeholder mobilization right from the beginning in the purpose and general objectives definition;ii) Provide information in a detailed, timely and easy to understand for all involved;iii) Make an effort to pedagogy and integration of different actors views, creating open and transparentstages;iv) Listen to the actors at critical moments, in particular the definition of objectives, theoretical &operative framework and planning instruments and proposals;v) Promote participation as a tool for consensus building and for alignment of actors means andmotivations to achieve a collective goal;vi) Support the development of cooperation initiatives in the design of measures and proposals forplanning;vii) Promote models of institutional articulation, creating conditions for enabling legal, technical andfinancial planning tools and subsequent implementation.(Mota, PhD, 2013)Recent research focused on themethodologies for actor participationin spatial planning. The theoreticalframework identified seven mainprinciples:
  8. 8. A practical case: drawing on experience• Several civic initiatives have emerged recently inthe city of Aveiro, Portugal, where the use ofbottom-up and self-organized participationmethodologies have emerged counteractinglocal governments’ decisions in spatial planning(due to controversial options, lack of involvementand fragile technical grounding), deepening civicengagement and creating opportunities for jointreflection and identifying micro-proposals foraction.
  9. 9. Cases of Aveiro – Research context• Flyvbjerg (2002) explained thereasons that led him to produce theresearch and to engage civically:– the planning methods and outcomes ofAalborg municipality were not public andproperly justified as their studies haveshown;– motivated intervene to call publics attentionto the poor results and to ‘improve thesituation’ (by improving he means becomingmore democratic and effective compliancewith the objectives of planning Aalborg ‘;– Its role was to be part of power relations thathis studies had made clear;
  10. 10. Cases of Aveiro – Research context• President of the European UniversityAssociation (Helena Nazaré, former dean ofthe University of Aveiro)– European universities, in general, can serve ascritical thought for the whole society action,independently and nonpartisan.– They can contribute to inform public policy andpeople in general.– We can not forget that in a democracy are thepeople who determine the governments, are thepeople who have a final say in decision making.And people to take a decision must be (well)informed
  11. 11. Historical Context• Tertúlias no Trianon (50’& 60’s)• Congressos da Oposição Democrática (73)• Plataforma Cidades (2003- …)Since 2008• Amigosd’Avenida• Colectivo ‘Praça Melo Freitas’• Movimento Cívico ‘Queremos conhecer oEstudo que fundamenta o abate dasárvores na Avenida’• Movimento ‘Contra o Alboi cortado aomeio’• Movimento Cívico ‘Contra a Ponte Pedonal’• Colectivo de Cidadãos ‘Reflexão sobreEstacionamento em Aveiro’City civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation
  12. 12. From formal to informal arenas (virtualand physical):• Collective-Blog (3.000 posts; 120.000 visits; 200.000pagevisits; 5 years)• Mailing-list (350 members; 1.000 messages; 4 yearsactivity)• Facebook Group ‘Aveiro 2020’ (more than 900members; 2 years activity)Emerged eight relevant civic initiatives (250 anos;Avenida, Praça Melo Freitas, Árvores Avenida, PdS,Alboi, Ponte Pedonal, Estacionamento)Different civic movements (neighbourhood, identity,mobility) involving more than 6.000 people;No institutionalization; No agenda; Just talk, share ,produce public opinion and try to improve betterpublic decisions regarding the future of the city!City civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation
  13. 13. •Added value –contestingpublic policiesCity civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation
  14. 14. • Problem– The project – Parque da Sustentabilidade (SustainablePark) funded by the National Strategic ReferenceFramework (2007-2013) – aims at establishing a greenwaycrossing on a significant part of the city centre; eventhough legislation foresees public discussion for this typeof projects, citizens were essentially informed through thePress.• Civic answer– An informal city civic movement collected 400signatures to promote a public municipalassembly;– A document with concerns was produced andpresented to members of local assembly;– The Municipal Executive had to present the severalprojects for the first time (but no public debate);• Results:– Alboi Neighbourhood Civic Movement created andboosted– Civic movement against Ponte Pedonal created– Latter Univ. / ONG / Architects contested some ofthe projectsCase #1Parque da Sustentabilidade
  15. 15. • Problem– Although the requalification of its historical garden wasforeseen, the proposal included the design of a new roadthat would split the garden in two units; potential harmfulconsequences (recreational activities; road traffic; thedaily lives of residents); Municipality didn’t answer toneighbourhood concerns;• Civic answer– Neighbourhood informal Association; other City CivicMovements involved– a blog and a Facebook page (2 500 friends)– Initiatives protest (a poster was disseminated throughoutthe community)– the film director and musician Joaquim Pavão presented ashort-film with a huge impact on the Internet, radio andnational TV.– A plan B was proposed and presented to mayor;• Results– in October 2011 the local government, facing a sensitivepolitical context changed the initial proposal.Case #2Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio
  16. 16. Case #3Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central• Problem– a pedestrian bridge over the central water channelaiming to link the central park Rossio with Alboineighbourhood and related facilities, likerestaurants and bars (integrated in previos PdS);– Critics: location; visual impact; risk ofgentrification; lack of global planning ; respect ofUrban Plan;• Civic answer– new civic movement (40 citizens) working for 2months mobilized more than 3.500 signitures andorganized 4 public meetings (more than 500people); issue in the national media agenda;– Was produced Technical & Juridical documment;Appeal concerning the nature fo the investment intimes of difficulties and finnantial crisis; Sent toNational Government, Regional Auhtorities, Courts;• Results– Mayor decided to stop the process to create widerconsensus; but, the project was too expensive…
  17. 17. Case #4Privatization of Parking in Aveiro• Problem– Municipality of Aveiro has open a public contest toprivatize parking at surface (for 60 years) and to build4 underground parking parks in the city centre;– The proposal has no technical support and it’s againsta major project of main avenue regeneration;• Civic answer– 100 citizens asked for a public debate– Promoted a public debate with a expert in mobility;– Invited mayor , political parties and mobility consultants– Produced a technical document with majorarguments;• Results– One of the municipality consultants (lecturer at theUniversity of Aveiro) wrote a public letter to contestthe project– The members of different political parties voted aproposal to recommend the end of the process;– In the political discussion the technical argumentsfrom the public discussion where ignore;
  18. 18. •Added value –mobilizingtowards a newfutureCity civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation
  19. 19. Case #5Promoting ‘public space’• Opportunity– urban and cultural revived of a main square of thecity centre in the 250th anniversary of the city ofAveiro;• Civic answer– informal self-organization (small group of citizens,random formation, no previous connections,…)involved cultural stakeholder to promote aprogram Saturday evening live events in publicspace• Results– launched a manifesto with key issues fordeveloping public spaces with quality (Manifestopelo Espaço Público);– a local film society (Cine-clube de Avanca)promoted a cinematographic activity calledAqui/Here (, with 10short-films about 10 different public spaceslocated in 10 cities around the world.
  20. 20. Case #6Participative Itinerant Roadmap• Opportunity– Even in a ‘conflicting’ context…– Taking advantage ‘Aveiro Participative Budget ‘ agroup of citizens from several civic movementssubmited a proposal - a Participative ItinerantRoadmap, that was selected in a public voting in agroup of 23 projects.• Civic answer– Encourage the involvement of citizens and localactors in joint reflection on the future of theirneighborhood, parish and county and identifyingmicro-proposals for action (low-cost, high impact).– Work with municipality (excellent work withmunicipal technicians – education & ParticipativeBudget Division)• Results– Mayor decided to privatize parking in the city withoutany public debate (‘what about consensus’?);– Civic movement decided to stop with the proposal(for now);
  21. 21. City civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation – contesting public policiesKey-findings:• Issue (debated in mailing-list /Facebook group);• Group emerge and structure the agenda of debate;• Gathering information and produce collaboratively a small report (andpublicize it)• Organize public debate• Slideshare (all documents & presentations)• Send to municipality, institutions, media and citizensOnly in contesting contexts?
  22. 22. • Key findings II– Bring new rationality to debate;– Challenge the status quo and power relations betweenstakeholders;– Enforce powerless (citizens and neighbourhoods civicassociations)– Improve a culture of public debate– Better decisions for the city and citizens– Mobilize hidden-resources to new public policies anddifferent way to think about the future of the cityCity civic movements in Aveiro improving publicparticipation – contesting public policies
  23. 23. City Civic Movementskey lessonsa) knowledge between theory and practiceregarding new planning methodologies– New arenas (collaboration platforms) to pro-activelyarticulate with communities (change their behaviourfrom passive consumers to active users/producers);– New roles/actors to intermediate Governments/LocalCommunities;– Clear and assertive agendas for the future (notfragmented projects or ideas);
  24. 24. City Civic Movementskey lessonsb) added value of city civic movements inlocal spatial planning policies/practice– There is no tradition in promoting public participation outsidethe common arenas;– Play the game (present arguments, create arenas for debate,questions actors involved, ask for alternatives);– Mobilize people to participate – from reactive (present) toproactive (future);– Civic actors do get involved in such processes when they havemore access to information, notice that there is a common shareof ideas amongst the community and that their voices can beheard;