Transformative socio-spatial planning: enabling resourceful communities

Research output: Book/ReportInaugural speech


In this booklet I elaborate on two questions:
1) What is the aim of socio-spatial planning?
2) Why should citizens, engage in spatial transformation?
I argue that the aim of a transformative socio-spatial planning is to enable resourceful communities in spaces, co-producing ‘better’ places. This raises also normative questions: what are better places and who determines this? Planners have to deal with the subjective desires and motives of citizens, which have gained an increased power in our democracy. In a time of decentralization and individualization, we see the rise of new forms of collective citizenship, who want to take matters in their own hands.
Resourcefulness refers to the capacity of a community to change the way they use their resources. This place- and practice based approach contributes to community resilience and fosters socio-spatial change through collective action. A key condition for resourcefulness is the co-production between social, economic and governmental actors. This is not a simple performance: it is a dance between collective intentions and emergence. Co-production shifts the balance of power, responsibility and resources to individuals and collectives, engaged in shaping their own places.
In our ‘fluid’ society people are dealing with uncertainty in a rapidly changing world, while they have to build their own narratives. Social navigation offers a key concept to understand the practices and tactics of people in situations in motion. In this dynamic context a transformative spatial planning applies a value-based perspective, is community-sensitive and imaginative, and able to mediate between varied opinions.
The book concludes with a research agenda visualized as a ‘three-leaf clover’, including the analysis of 1) Values in Place 2) Place-shaping practices and 3) New Institutional arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGroningen
PublisherCoöperatie InPlanning UA
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-91937-36-1
ISBN (Print)978-94-91937-35-4
Publication statusPublished - 13-Jun-2017

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