Urban/Spatial Planners and Power: The Role of Time and Scale

RUBRIKA: Articles

Klíčová slova/Key words:

ENGLISH: Urban/spatial planning, planners, power, time, scale, complexity, subliminal perceptions



This study combines existing approaches to power according to how they reflect the factors of time and scale, and shows how these lenses might inspire planners to rethink their roles in a more holistic manner. Planners’ perception of power differs significantly depending whether they understand change in terms of continuous evolution or discontinuous eras. A desire to understand the complex processes in which cities evolve puts planners in a rather passive role as trend-watchers, analysts and moderators. In the second case, planners’ perceptions and roles vary according to how continual evolution is disconnected and how the factors of space and time are applied. First, if “context” is understood as the fundamental base, planners see their roles mainly as describing the situation at hand and opposing those with power in terms of providing relevant information, setting up appropriate agendas and keeping to specific terms. Second, planners who highlight “context-free values” (or good intentions) prefer to see their role as keeping their eyes on fair processes, maintaining a balance among participants, striving for mutual trust and being advocates of those without power. Third, if planners focused on “participants’ behaviour”, which is often rooted in individuals’ subliminal perceptions, they might also tend to nudge participants in the desired direction and frame tasks, anchor discussions and inhibit automatic reactions in favour of careful considerations. KEY WORDS

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