Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Dr. Nina Gribat
Planners as Actors in Urban Development Conflicts: rationalities and practices of planners in a framework of 'comparative urbanism'
In recent years, urban development projects have been increasingly accompanied by conflicts with different civil society groups, alternative professional initiatives or the wider public. Stuttgart 21 in Germany and Gezi Park in Turkey represent only the most known of these urban development conflicts – others remain confined to a relatively local context.
Within these conflicts, public and sometimes professional disagreements come to the fore – whether it be with the projects, a lack of participation or the general direction of urban policy, planning or urban development. Urban development projects can rarely proceed uninterrupted when conflict emerges – their realisation may be stalled, there could be changes in the plans or sometimes the project is cancelled. Different types and dynamics of conflict can be distinguished. No matter how conflicts develop, urban planners are required to deal with contestations, opposing interests and challenging demands. How planners understand and deal with urban development conflicts and how processes of learning and change occur is largely unknown. The same applies to understanding the differences between planners' rationalisations and their practices in diverse urban contexts, within and between those in the Global North and the Global South.
This project focuses on an in-depth empirical examination of planners' perspectives on urban development conflicts in radically different urban and conflict contexts in order to:
- understand the ways in which planners think about (rationalise) and deal with (practice) urban development conflicts in different urban contexts;
- collate different approaches in a framework of 'comparative urbanism' and develop a typology of practices;
- co-produce innovative and context-sensitive theories and practices of dealing with urban development conflict.