360 ° Livable Urbanism

The Importance of Making Cities Places - Planning towards livable cities

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    Planning for knowledge‐based urban development: From a national and global perspective

    Mikkel Sølbeck
    Apr 12, '17 6:10 AM EST

    The world is constantly changing through different cultural factors such as religion, ideology, values, and preferences. In the planning field the cultural changes has a big influence on how the urban, regional and national planning practice is implemented and funeralized into the system. It is significant to understand, how such culture arise from the differences in planning culture meaning the collective philosophy and leading approach of professional planners?

    How can such professional cultural planning practice be formed in the society? Furthermore, it can be asked if the planning culture is native and unchallengeable, or instead developed with social, political and economic variations internal and perhaps external, within and outside the national borders of the specific country.

    If there are external factors related to the cultural planning practice, is there then a global interconnection in the trade capital flows, labour migration and technological connectivity? And do the technological changes through globalization have an impact on the planning society in reality. It is crucial that we explore these questions from planning by examine different system from urbanized, industrializing to industrialize countries throughout the whole world.

    The roots of the cultural context

    There is a big diversity in terms of political systems around the world with its roots in different ideologies and traditions. In a historical perspective the planning practice has been changing from the scientific rational approach based on accurate facts and quantitative values as a neutral perception, using technocratic to a more non-technocratic approach established as a “bottom-up” with the people in the centre. As a result the planning practice had softened the process by a more participatory engagement based on a more qualitative method balancing the system.

    The neo-liberalism is established in the 1980 ties through stabilization, liberalization and privatization in an economical perspective driven by the market to the postmodernism – pluralism today. The planning tradition is an ongoing changing process in relation with the contextual tendencies in the society both internal and external of the borders as we live in a globalized world.

    Numerous of DNA-structures of systems planning world-wide

    The issue of the contextual specificity due to its differences of the planning practice in the different nations can be described as: Indonesia is very different from India, which is very different from England, which is different from and so on. This is due to the cultural contexture related to the historical development of each country with its own DNA and identity. 

    The planning context is not only variating at the national level within the national borders, but also at regional and local level implementing their identity into the system structure. The planning culture has evolved from decades of time with social, political and economic factors, both as internal and external creating a dynamic hybrid planning cultural approach, which is very complex and can only be understood through a focus on the DNA of the country by identifying the historical development and tradition.

    In terms of the development of the national, regional, local planning practice the system is external influenced by the global externality in relation to the progress in the international perspective. This is reflected on all levels of the society, where the administrative tier is developing the practice by avoiding the isolation and exclusion of finance, trade and technological in a more economical perspective depending on the global market. This had change a bit in relation with the global climate changes as it is an aspect that is evolving radically.

    The environmental planning is evolving more on the global agenda due to the environmental aspects influencing the national environment.

    The global competitive markets influence on the planning system

    The welfare system is today threatened due to the competitive mode as the system is more driven by the market, where the national, regional and local level is adapting as a result of the global competition to attract external investment and export. The competitive global market can result in a favouring economical process to lower the taxes, privatization as declination of the welfare.

    The competitive externality can at some point result in a decreasement or increasement of certain sectors and interest such as regulatory functions, social justice, universalism and environment. China has been a clear example of the competitive adaption by neglecting the social justice, public rights and environment by promoting growth as a basis for the international market and a global outsource to the market of China generating growth and wealth.

    The planning culture is unpredictable as it is impacted by the social, economic and political changes as it is far beyond easy to identify. It is particular vital that the planner in particular can understand the variations and factors related to the outcome.

    Planning in an continually evolving process

    The planning practice is very complex as it is undefined and is an ongoing process, which clearly differentiate from each country at the national, regional and local level due to the cultural context, which is related to internal and external factors. It is essential that we as planners understand the process of social, political, technological and economic changes, which has an immense influence on the ways planners conceptualize problems and the structure on institutional behaviour towards them.

    The planning practice cannot be perceived as a system with a firm centre of core, it has no social gene that can be decoded to reveal the cultural DNA and identity. The culture is constantly changing. This is why it is hard to exactly determine the cultural elements in the social transformation and to define the outcome, not as a rational thinking or as a static planning culture.

    How to use the global market positively?

    We must understand and acknowledge the external competitive connectivity, but not necessarily adapt, instead using it as a possibility to innovate our system as a frontier not necessarily neglecting and unfavoring the various interest and sectors due to the globalization and competitive market. The planner can benefit from the planning culture as a conceptual vocabulary to create a global communication of the outcome.

    The discourse of today should rely on various interests due to the layers of factors and values in the society. As planners we need to have a critical assessment of the planning practice by looking at the practice as an iterative process, where the system is constantly evolving. We have to facilitate the process engage people and guide them through the process, but the creation and innovative way of thinking must be included in the process.

    The formal process is situated on the state regulatory level of the government, where the informal approach is more situated at the local level of the municipality as a formal right, but the arrangement as a more informal participate process of interest and values. We as a group of professional people should learn from each other and not take our field for granted. We should still be realistic in the project development phase and not promote only one interest. We should behave as a balancer of different interest and be critical towards a one-single perspective such as economic growth instead combining building consensus between actors and stakeholders.

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About this Blog

360 ° Livable Urbanism is featuring articles with subjective approaches and theories on how to actively contribute as urban planners in today’s modern society with different thematic inputs to sustain and innovate the way we as highly diverse planners facilitate the process of planning towards sustainable cities in balance with the current policy framework, sectors, interest and other relevant aspects.

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