Consensus hunters? Exploring the role of planners in the era of post-politics

Consensus hunters? Exploring the role of planners in the era of post-politics

I have recently co-authored an article with Dr. Esin Ozdemir, who have been visiting TUDelft as a TUBITAK post-doc fellow for a year while I was still working there. The article, which is published by Urban Studies, explores the meaning of “post-politics” in planning practice, especially taking the angle of the planning professionals/practitioners. Post-political literature, which aims to conceptualize the crisis of representative democracy, is very critical on the idea of ‘consensus-building’. Based on qualitative research data, our article argues that post-political scholars overlook the potential of consensus-seeking, and very statically defining ‘consensus’ as a tool for exclusionary practices and the agency of planners. We followed a more constructive approach to consensus-building as our research shows that it is a dynamic and sensitive process. We interviewed practicing planners in Amsterdam and learn from their experiences that in the highly institutionalised Dutch planning system consensus-building does not necessarily prevent effective voicing of disagreement. In fact, planners could facilitate consensus through accommodative roles that address disagreement by taking an adaptive, proactive and more human stance.

To know more please read our article, which is published as Open Access by Urban Studies.

The Advantages of Diversity

The Advantages of Diversity

The Advantages of Diversity is a paper I presented at the Nordregio Forum in Helsingor in 2015 on the topic of how to turn diversity into advantages. It considered how diversity itself is not an easy concept to grasp, as there are new forms of diversity emerging due to population mobility and increasing heterogeneity of migration in terms of country of origin, ethnic groups, legal status and so on. In my presentation I mentioned how challenging it is to design policies addressing these different groups suggesting that policies not only meet the needs of diverse people, but also increase or maintain the competitive advantage of cities. European urban diversity policies are people-based but have shifted towards a neo-assimilationist direction in recent years, meaning that social and cultural aspects of integration dominates policy-making tendencies. Ethnic diversity is highlighted as an economic asset in the policy discourses of some cities (e.g. London), but an ethnicity and race-based approach fails to address the needs and capacities of a complex urban society nowadays. Grouping people into broad categories leads to integration and social-mix policies, which despite good intentions, fail in reality. For more information read the short interview I did titled How can Nordic cities profit from the diversity of their population?

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