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Governing Life


Professor Kimmo Lapintie, project leader
Dr. Taina Rajanti
Urban Planning and Design
Department of Architecture
Helsinki University of Technology

MSc Sari Puustinen
Centre for Urban and Regional Studies
Helsinki University of Technology

MSc Hanna Mattila
Institute of Art Research
Department of Aesthetics
University of Helsinki


The objective of the research project is to study the new situation that urban planning and design faces as the demands for more open and participative practices on the one hand, and new forms of urban governance on the other, have broken the "normal phase" of welfare state planning tradition. This has been reflected in new aspects of planning and design education, new openings in planning practices, and even in the rise of new professionalists, such as communication specialists. On the other hand, serious doubts of the relevance of these new challenges have been expressed, which are related to the concerns of the professional status of the planner and other experts in the 21st Century. Planners are emphasizing their role as the interpreters of the general interest, as against the private interests of individual citizens and NGOs. Planning theory has been trying to capture the essentials of this change, and this seems to require transcending not only the rationalist but also the first generation of communicative planning theories. The new opening e.g. by Flyvbjerg to utilise the new discourse in post-modern philosophies, political science and cultural studies has attracted much attention, but the theoretical work related to the idea of planning as governance, as a conscious way of using discursive and expert power, still remains to be done.

In this project, this situation is analysed from various perspective, leading into an integrated picture of the problem. The theoretical work by professor Kimmo Lapintie, From Shamanist to Reflexive Planning, is based on the new theories of governance, post-modern conceptions of productive and discursive power, and their implications to contemporary planning theory. This conceptual framework is used in the analysis of the empirical material gathered in the other sub-projects. The sub-project by Dr. Taina Rajanti, NIMBYs, LULUs and Other Unwanted Phenomena of Urban Planning analyses the situation from the users' point of view, opening the common concepts of NIMBY and LULU, the pejorative terms used to question local interests. The sub-project by Sari Puustinen, Planners as Professionals of the General Interest, on the other hand, addresses the planners' point of view in terms of their professional role and its changes. The sub-project by Hanna Mattila, Aesthetics of Place and Communicative Urban Planning, addresses the key legitimating concept of aesthetics, the independent role of which has been challenged in collaborative or communicative approaches to planning.

The practical results of this project are related to the new orientation in both planning practice and planning and design education. The "shamanist" conception, according to which planners are the sole interpreters of the general interest, has to give way to a more reflexive one, according to which thy have to conscious of the active role they have as the cultural producers of urban life and its conditions. What this amounts to in practice still has to be expressed and clarified, and this is the practical objective of this project.

The Project lasts from the beginning of 2002 until the end of 2004. It is financed by the Academy of Finland.


One of the most important contemporary challenges of contemporary urban planning is the so-called communicative turn, which can be seen in both theoretical discussion and new practices, often enforced by new legislation. The communicative perspective challenges the traditional role of planning expertise and its knowledge basis, as well as the traditional understanding of planning as decision-making or preparation for it. Instead, it suggests a more dynamic and interactive view of planning as a communicative and political process.

This change is related to the corresponding developments in urban governance in general. The transition from a formal bureaucracy to more open and self-organizing forms of governance, where the boundary between the public and the private sector has become less rigid, has created a new situation for planners and other public sector officials. The policy instruments typical of this new type of governance, such as public-private-partnerships, are not only new tools for the use of local authorities for their traditional purposes, but they also open up and enforce new types of integration and interaction, which in turn create new practices and new regimes. This has in many cases been connected to a new rising of the civil society or communitarianism, but one should resist the temptation to give these changes a too romantic or Utopian interpretation. There are at the same time both empowering and disempowering features inherent in the new forms urban governance.

In this project we shall discuss the situation of urban planning, and the problems directly related to it, and the new concepts and instruments that are used - or could be used - in governing urban change and development. This is by no means an easy task, since, as I see it, we are not witnessing an era of "normal practice", comparable to what Kuhn called "normal science" (Kuhn 1973), but rather an era of great challenges and an obvious re-identification of the planning practice. You may call it a crisis, if you will (of legitimation, of education, or of expertise), but we would like to suggest a more positive approach.

Utilising the Kuhnian metaphor of normal science suggests that there is, in addition to distrust in normal practice and paradigms, a possibility for a creative leap in the production of new conceptual frameworks, knowledge base, and the practical engagement of planners. However, as the Kuhnian analysis also points out, this does not concern all practitioners, but it may also entail conflicts and inner contradictions in the organisation and practice of local authorities.

This is all the more likely, since the possible widening of the scope of planning, as an intellectual discipline, as well as a working practice, also demands a new and wider perspective for the self-understanding of planners. This will not only mean new options, however, but it will also force the reflective practitioner to open some of the "black boxes" in his or her conceptual apparatus. Among them there is, of course, planning itself, but also such innocent-looking concepts as "general" or "national" interests, "general objectives", "political will", "cultural and natural values", "common strategies", etc. We shall also have to question the age-old dichotomy between substantial and procedural issues in planning - a dichotomy that many practitioners and even theorists would still like to cherish.

This last point is related to the difficult position of planning at the crossroads of different scientific disciplines. The traditional contributions of technology and architecture are well known, as well as the social sciences of the 1960s, when systems-theory arrived the planning scheme. The strengthening on the natural scientific paradigm has followed the rise of environmental concerns and sustainable development. What is new, however, is the contribution of the new generation of social sciences, where reality is seen more or less socially constructed, where discourses are taken seriously as part (and not only descriptions of) reality, and where the traditional dichotomy between objective knowledge and subjective opinion or perception have been dismantled. Another important addition to these resources are the new development of the humanities and cultural studies, especially new environmental aesthetics with its more down-to-earth interpretations, relating to the similar perspectives in communicative and collaborative planning theories.

This research project is based on a long-standing cooperation between the Departments of Architecture and the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at Helsinki University of Technology, and the University of Helsinki. This network, or parts of it, has carried out many research projects from 1993 to this day, among which can be mentioned Ecopolis 1993-1996 and the City and Planning Professions 1996-2000, both led by professor Lapintie. The Institutions are also cooperating with the Departments of Social Policy, Sociology and Geography in the Graduate School of Urban Studies and Planning. This education of PhD students will be intergrated with the education given in that school, in order to construct a working scientific community. Dr Taina Rajanti has made her doctoral thesis as part of this cooperation. Sari Puustinen and Hanna Matila have worked for their doctoral theses for approximately two years.

Kimmo Lapintie: From "Shamanist" to Reflexive Planning

The word 'governance' has in recent decade come to mean a new type of political activities that, instead or in addition to formal representative government and its controlling and service-providing functions, strives to build up new types of interaction, partnerships and community activity. According to Stoker (1997, 38), the baseline definition of governance is that it refers to the action, manner or system of governing in which the boundary between organisations and public and private sectors has become permeable. It is related to the contemporary situation, where the governing of global or local development can no longer be mastered from the point of view of a sovereign authority (even relative to a restricted area or sector responsibility). That is, governance refers to 'managing a nobody-in-charge world' (Ibid. 37).

But this baseline definition, according to Stoker, opens the possibilities of two different interpretations, the managerial and the systemic (ibid. 38). The former is related to the adoption of new tools by the formal authorities and the emergence of less radical new processes, whereas the latter refers to new practices, new cooperative ensembles, and the emergence of self-governing networks. This dichotomy corresponds to the multiplicity of theoretical traditions behind the governance debate, and also to the various motives that have given rise to the new formations of governance, such as public-private partnerships.

These are no longer uncommon in urban planning, management and development. For instance, the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands has made up to 850 contracts with non-governmental organisations and even private citizens for the development and maintenance of urban green areas. Similarly, the city of Lahti in Finland is developing its central areas by using real-estate contracts between land-owners, entrepreneurs and the city council. These two examples also reveal the two types of governance used in urban development, namely those where the role of the civil society and the initiatives of local residents are encouraged, and those where the partnership is rather based on the cooperation between those actors who have the access to important economic or political resources. This latter type is also related to the possible emergence of new urban regimes, in the sense defined by Stone (1989), and it also gives rise to the often expressed doubts on accountability in such arrangements (Peters 1997, 30).

The roots of the literature on governance is varied and partly eclectic, ranging from New Public Management (Hood 1991; Rhodes 1995) to Foucault-inspired theories (Miller 1987, Rose & Miller 1992). This will make it difficult to focus our attention to what is new and relevant in this discussion, but, on the other hand, it will enable an in-depth discussion of the political nature of these changes. One of the corollaries of the concept is, namely, that political agency is no longer fixed or well-defined, whether it is related to professional expertise or representatives of the state or municipal authorities. If governance entails borders becoming permeable, it also entails that the usual professional and political strategies of withholding and controlling information, using specific expert-language, and distinguishing the responsibilities and accountability of each actor, no longer hold. This is what I meant by saying that the situation of urban planning and development is no longer in its 'normal phase', and that this new situation is putting the legitimacy of different actors at stake. Hence the different strategies by various actors and professions to defend the original borders (e.g. Lapintie 1996), as well as more progressive strategies of others to widen and re-justify their role in planning and urban policy (such as ecological planning or the communicative turn in planning).

The complexity of this situation is illustrated in the discussion of political and planning subjectivity and the policy instruments that are used in planning and urban governance. If we use, for instance, Christopher Hoods´s classification of the 'tools of government' in terms of the acronym NATO (Nodality, Authority, Treasure, and Organisation) (Hood 1986), we can see that the political role of the government is still very much based on its nodal point in the flow of information, its legal basis, its economic resources, and its employees and their dispersion throughout society. These resources are also put to use in new forms of governance, when the city authorities, for instance, give financial resources to community activity, or when they collect and give access to information. It would thus seem that the new forms of governance could be seen as new policy instruments of the local government, necessary or useful because they combine the resources of the public and private sectors (Peters 1997, 21).

The problem with this approach is, however, that by concentrating on the role of government it does not address the original formation and re-formation of political subjectivity. The key role of the public sector and public officials like planners is connected to the understanding of the city and the state as unified agents, 'the political bodies', and the belief in the possibility to govern the development of a restricted area of concern. This basic understanding, which is inherently connected to the process of modernisation, is analysed by Foucault with the concept of governmentality (Foucault 1979). This means that the basic rationality of governance is not related to the strategic action of specified social groups, but rather to the formation of the social subject, the general interest, and the multitude of technologies for the control and development of the 'population', that is, bio-power. In this context, the role of planning as a special expertise connected to the welfare state and its strategies and technologies is quite straightforward. What is far from evident is, however, the real challenge that the new forms of governance present to this traditional subjectivity. Is the 'king finally decapitated', and have 'welfare of the citizens', 'functionality of land-use', and 'good environment' etc. lost their rhetorical power?

Whether the conceptual black boxes mentioned above turn out to be Pandora´s boxes for the planning profession, only time will tell. It is evident, however, that by keeping the boxes closed the planner has, during most of the twentieth century, been able to retain much of his or her authority. The physical presence of the planner has been ensured by his social role as the interpreter of the good environment and the synthetic general interest. Planning practice, as a mystical way of access to this general interest, has, thus, been the central legitimising basis of the planning profession. It is thus no wonder that the profession hesitates to open the central concepts, the boxes, in the fear that they would be found empty.

But the other option is equally problematic. In a special issue of the Finnish Journal of Urban Studies, professor Kaj Nyman points out that the concept of planning (as the professional activity aiming at functionality, the good environment, or the synthetic general interest) seems to be disappearing from the conceptual toolkit of recent legislation in Finland, even the much waited for Land Use and Building Act (1999). Nyman wants to defend the role of traditional planning practice, in contrast to the more judicial land-use zoning, or the more economy-based property development, which are both emphasised in the new act (Nyman 2000). However, I have some doubts about the credibility of this traditional concept of planning practice that could, as Nyman suggests, serve the welfare state with its economic and social institutions, as well as the individual citizen, at the same time. This mysterious activity, if not given any new formulation for its legitimacy, may indeed be in danger of disappearing from the scene. The age of the "shaman planner" seems to be history.

An important corollary of this shamanist conception of planning is that the planner has detached himself from both the political and the public debate. Planners consistently present themselves as a-political: they are careful not to present any political statements, even if planning is often clearly connected to the welfare-state and even, as in the Nordic countries, to social democracy. At the same time they often see political short-sightedness and bargaining as a major threat to the quality of the environment.

Similarly, this traditional planning expertise is not considered to gain much from the civil society or citizen participation, although these are not necessarily found suspect in the same sense as local politics. This is because traditional planning practice is seen to be essentially substantive, and participation, political debate, bureaucratic processing are all, in contrast, seen to be procedural. Since citizen participation or judicial deliberation cannot replace "planning itself", they only spend the already scarce resources allocated for the whole endeavour. Despite the additional local knowledge gained by communicating with the citizens, the "laymen", the traditional planner feels that he or she is still alone responsible for the ethical and aesthetical quality of the resulting built environment or its deterioration. The introduction of communication and participation as more and more crucial elements of contemporary planning, which seems to be happening all around Europe, will thus be received with suspicion and frustration by the traditional planner.

The shamanist conception of planning is well rooted in both professional ethics and traditional trust in expertise. It is also consistent, but it seems to have difficulties in maintaining its legitimacy in the changing cultural, social, and political environment. Although critical towards both representative politics and civil society, planners are not able to give alternatives: They do not turn their critical eye towards their own key concepts.

This inability to be reflexive does not only concern practitioners but planning theory as well. In the same sense as practitioners seem to have difficulties in confronting with the politicians and the citizens, planning theory seems to be unbalanced when trying to contextualise planning practice and the planning professions in the wider social and political environment. An illustrative example is Bent Flyvbjerg´s famous analysis of the local politics around the planning of Aalborg (Flyvbjerg 1998). Flyvbjerg manages to detect brilliantly the power relations and local regimes that determine the actual implementation of the so-called Aalborg project, but he is clearly unable to use the same armature against planning as a social and political activity. As a result, planners appear to be politically weak (as compared to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for instance), but still inherently rational and benevolent, devoid of any self-interest. They would have known how to develop Aalborg into a better urban environment, if only they had been listened to. But they were not, since "rationality yielded to power." It is no wonder then that, although mentioning both Nietzsche and Foucault as his theoretical roots, Flyvbjerg never really addressed the basic Foucauldian conception of productive power, where planners are clearly among the producers.

It is only by seeing planners as a profession that is socially and politically embedded in the modern society that the changing role of planning and its future options could be addressed. However, from the point of view of planning theory, the detatchment typical of the sociology of professions is not quite appropriate for our present purposes. Reflexivity in planning does not mean sociology of planning, but rather a conscious effort to address the issue of professional knowledge and expertise and the respective professional power in the actual political context.

I want to point out three key contributions from recent philosophical, political and planning theory, that seem to me most relevant in this context. The first is the Habermasian critique of the Cartesian philosophy of consciousness, which forms the basis of his theory of communicative action. This critique will seriously question concepts like "the common/general interest", "common objectives", and above all, any use of the passive voice in planning discourse.

The so-called communicative turn in planning theory is strongly informed by Habermas´s conception of communicative rationality. However, one of the original motivating factors behind Habermas´ thinking that has received less attention is his critique of the Cartesian philosophy of consciousness, which has in a sense pervaded modern philosophy and sociological theory for centuries. The basic corollary of this philosophy is our attempt to see collective entities (like cities, communities, areas, etc.) as individuals, with their own will, interests, and needs. Respectively, we tend to see experts and politicians as interpreters of this generalised will or collective interest. If, on the other hand, we give up this imagined subjectivity of the collective, we are immediately led to conceive collective action in terms of communication and co-operation. This is what Habermas attempted to do with his theory of communicative action, but one is not dependent on only this theory to respect the innovative potential of his critique.

This form the core of the three questions that I aim to study: we can no longer see the expert as the interpreter of the general will, but only as one of the players in the communicative game resulting in the development of the planned territory. In the case of the problematic of growth versus green or open areas, this understanding is essential, since we are dealing with areas that are already multifunctional and multifaceted. Instead of a "right" interpretation of the meanings and potentials of prospective compaction areas or protected green areas, we should focus on the communicative processes that actually construct these meanings.

The second theoretical issue that I aim to study in this project is to the social constructionist critique of the seeming invisibility of language. It is typical of institutionalised discursive practices like planning to view the language that is used as neutral or objective. Instead, it should be openly seen as a way of constructing the object of discourse. By describing, for instance, the green areas as "recreational areas" or again as "green structure", we are conceptually constructing our planning objects.

The third point that I would like to study in this connection is productive power. The major contribution of the Foucauldian political philosophy is that power can no longer be seen as a sort of commodity owned or captured by certain social groups, but rather a continuous production through a multitude of social practices. According to this view, the subjects and the objects of power are not assumed to be independent individuals, but they are rather defined and continuously re-defined by these practices. This also entails that knowledge and power are inherently interlinked: instead of trying to describe the planning object "for what it is", we should consciously develop our discursive practices towards policy instruments.

This research is carried out as part of the professorship of urban and regional planning, Helsinki University of Technology.


  • Flyvbjerg, Bent (1998) Rationality and Power. Democracy in Practice. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Foucault, Michel (1985/1966) The Order of Things. Bristol: Tavistock Publications.
  • Foucault, Michel (1979) Governmentality. Ideology and Consciousness 6, Autumn, 5-21.
  • Hood, Christopher (1986) The Tools of Government. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House.
  • Kuhn, Thomas S. (1967) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago : University of Chicago Press.
  • Lapintie, Kimmo (1996) The Justification of Planning Solutions in Ecological Housing - The Case Study of Viikki in Helsinki. Scandinavian Housing & Planning Research, vol. 13, n:o 4, ss. 183-199.
  • Miller, Peter (1989) Domination and Power. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Nyman, Kaj (2000) Maankäyttö- ja rakennuslaki: henki vai kirjain? Yhteiskuntasuunnittelu - The Finnish Journal of Urban Studies, Vol. 38, n:o 2, 6-16.
  • Peters, Guy B. (1997) 'With an Little Help From Our Friends': Public-Private Partnerships as Institutions and Instruments. In Pierre, Jon (1997) Partnerships in Urban Governance. European and American Experience. Macmillan Press Ltd, pp. 11-33.
  • Rhodes, R.A.W. and Marsh, David (1992) New Directions in the Study of Policy Networks. European Journal of Political of Political Research 21: 181-205.
  • Rose, Nikolas & Miller, Peter (1992) Political Power Beyond the State: Problematics of Government. British Journal of Sociology 43: 2, 172-204.
  • Stoker, Gerry (1997) Public-Private Partnerships and Urban Governance. In Pierre, Jon (1997) Partnerships in Urban Governance. European and American Experience. Macmillan Press Ltd, pp. 34-51.
  • Stone, Clarence (1989) Regime Politics. Governing Atlanta. Lawrence: Kansas University Press.

Taina Rajanti: Whose Nature? Nimbys, Lulus and other unwanted phenomena in governing nature

What is a NIMBY?

NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) and LULU (Locally Unwanted LandUse) are ways of defining conflicting reactions of locally concerned users in a planning or a maintenance situation. Users reject plan, or a maintenance decision because they do not want their immediate surroundings changed in any way. Typical cases of NIMBY and LULU reactions are caused by the building of new roads, or in any way converting green areas to other use; or simply by cutting trees for the alleged reason of renewing the growing stock.

Planning and maintenance authorities do not care to find themselves in a NIMBY or LULU situation. They know from experience that such conflicts attract attention, possibly drawing in the media. The resistance can go on for a long time, with repercussions in future; all affecting negatively the normal carrying out of their professional duties. Furthermore planning and maintenance authorities consider themselves by definition upholders of common good , and thus consider that the NIMBY or the LULU hinders the realisation of common good for narrow self-centred interests.

NIMBY refers to an individual rejection. It also implies an individualistic, almost egoistic reaction. A NIMBY stems from the idea of the sanctity of private property and its inviolability, without any other reason. In fact, a NIMBY is not considered to contain necessarily any rational arguments. LULU refers to a more collective reaction, also to a more rational and argued one, where at least in discussion is not merely a property and the rights of the proprietary but a land use and the users of the land. Both terms are however names and interpretations given by planners or maintenance authorities, not interpretations of the users in the situation.

NIMBY and LULU are terms by which rejection and contestation of the authority and expertise of the planners by the users can be explained and dealt with without having to enter into discussion with the contesting users and taking into account their views. "That's a NIMBY" or "that's a LULU" identifies and takes care of the issue at hand, with no need to inquire into the motives, reasons and arguments presented by the users. A Nimby and a Lulu are also comic and pejorative expressions, recalling a stout dwarfish being or a lady of doubtful reputation. "That's a Lulu" is the vernacular for a gross untruth.

NIMBYs and LULUs have become stock expressions in governing urban planning and maintenance. Everybody understands what is meant by a NIMBY or a LULU situation, the significance of the terms have become fixed. Thus presently all one needs to ask is either how to avoid a NIMBY or how to resolve a LULU speedily and without much ado, not what it is all about. We can however already identify the core matter of a NIMBY or LULU situation: refutation of the authority of a governing instance by its subjects. That this refutation is understood as defence of rights of property or other narrow self-centred interests is already an interpretation of the situation from the perspective of the governing instance, and as such forms rather one of the objects of research rather than its premises.

The basic problem of this research is to ask why and especially how do NIMBY and LULU situations arise? The core matter of the NIMBY or LULU situation is refutation of the authority of a governing instance by is subjects. Why do subjects refute an authority? We part from the insight that at the basis of this refutation and conflict lies a different way of conceiving the situation. What is at stake in the NIMBY or LULU has a different meaning and is understood differently by the subjects of the governing instance, here mainly the users or residents, and the representatives of the governing instance, here mainly the planners or maintenance authorities . We can even assert that the two parties of the conflict are not in fact talking about the same thing, since the object at stake is not the same for them.

The aim of this research is to empower the point of view of users as the subjects of a governing instance. To avoid dead-end situations, to make possible mutual learning and communication, to support positive solutions this point of view needs to be expressed and taken into account.

Governing life

NIMBY, "not in my backyard", is interpreted by planners or maintenance authorities as basically a defence of the rights of private property. A man's backyard is his castle, his private property, and he is worried that the value of this property will suffer by the addition of a new road, or other housing edifices, or by the removing of trees that decorate it at the present. This interpretation is of course quite legitimate in a culture or society where man's dwelling is basically understood as a separate entity and fundamentally the property of somebody. "Home" has become a property, a commodity that has a market value and that can be sold and purchased like any other merchandise.

This however is has not always been the case. "Home" has for centuries meant a place where men "come from", as evidenced by a very common type of surname in various languages. Home does not therefore in the first place refer necessarily to a property. In the second place, and this is even more relevant here, it has not referred to a space bound by four walls or to a fenced lot.

Man exists in the world concretely, living in some concrete place. This place is called "home" and this living is called "dwelling". Man exists dwelling in a home. This existence as dwelling is moreover not an individual act, but a social relation, a "shared cosmography". It is in our society that the social relation of existing in the world is realised through separate individuals living in their separate "homes". Or to be more exact, this is a dominant trend of our society. We trend to conceive the home as an individual property, instead of an instance of a social relation. We trend to see man's dwelling as an individual act, confined within the walls of his separate "home". Nevertheless, not even in our society can man's existence be reduced separate individual existence within a separate individual property. In fact, NYMBY and LULU reactions are manifest expressions that despite the dominant trend, man dwells in a relation to his surroundings.

My "backyard" is not all mine, and does not end with the confines of the backyard. My backyard extends to the nearby streets or parks or wastelands, as my life extends and is lived also in these spaces. I conceive myself through the places where I live. Interfering with "my backyard" means interfering with my life and my identity, not merely with my private property. The refutation of the authority of the governing instance is a refutation of the authority of the governing instance over the life of the subjects of governance, a re-appropriation of control over their own lives.

Governance is precisely a mode of governing and exercising power that tends to control all the functions of individual life. Power and exercise of power is no more concentrated to disciplinary institutions such as schools and other institutions of education, hospitals and other institutions of public hygiene, prisons, national military service, the factory etc. structuring social life, sanctioning and prescribing normal and deviant behaviour. Exercise of power becomes ever more immanent to social life, through systems and networks that directly organise both the human minds such as communication systems, information networks, and the human bodies such as technologies of good life. Power becomes an integral, vital function of every individual, the means of realization of one's life. What is at stake is the production of life itself.

NIMBYs and LULUs indeed seem to offer at the outset proof of the deleuzian ontological principle that maintains that it is the multitude, the subjects of power that is the real productive force and whose actions are creative, whereas governing apparatuses live only off the vitality of the multitude. In Toni Negri's analysis it is the sixties political movements' refusal of "normal" life, steady job, nuclear family, a set of fixed habits etc., that is now taking form as the basis of the way of life and mode of production in information technology. It is the NIMBY and LULU reaction, refutation of control of planning apparatuses over the organisation of individual lives that is one of the motivations pushing planning and planners towards "communicative" approaches.

We thus in this research part form the insight that NIMBYs and LULUs are not merely accidental oddities, but intrinsically tied to the basic structural questions of present society, to production of life and bio-politics, to governance as a bio-political rule. NIMBYs and LULUs are specifically problems of planning as an instance of governance, a question of "pacifying, mobilizing and controlling" the concerned users. Traditionally modern planning is born as a disciplinary institution, and is itself under pressure to follow the change into a bio-political apparatus, not without inner contradictions and tensions.

The main theoretical task of this research is to bring together the discussions over bio-politics and present modes of exercise of power and refutation of power, over dwelling as the existential principle of human beings, and planning as governance of people's living conditions, and thus governance of life. NIMBYs and LULUs are used as exemplary instances of planning as bio-political exercise of power.

Governing nature

We shall also look at what is involved in the "backyard". A NIMBY or a LULU might also be for instance about placing a centre for treating drug-addicts or AIDS-patients, which people would not want "in their back-yard", and the land-use of such urban space could be identified as "locally unwanted". Our focus is however on conflict situations where the "back-yard" at stake is existing nature, especially cases of road-building, densification and cutting of trees.

Already to define this existing nature as "green areas" would be to translate the issue into the concepts of planning and maintenance. A basic feature of a NIMBY or a LULU is in fact this discrepancy between what is at stake for the planners and what is at stake for the users. For "me" the "back-yard" is in various diverse ways tied to everyday practices, say a nearby lot of trees and bushes which serves as a romping country for my children who carry out wars and secret missions, a short-cut for adults and children as they return from the bus-stop, a portrait on which I rest my eyes as I prepare the dinner, every tree in the end becoming like an acquaintance, so that one observes their ups and downs and various attires ... Whereas for the planner it is a small triangle of unbuilt land, a potential lot for which he might devise a better use. As to maintenance authorities, it might just be that the trees across the street I have considered to be in "my-backyard", do not belong to a district relative to my address but the neighbouring one, so that it has not been thought necessary to inform me that for maintenance reasons they shall be cut down.

In a Swedish pilot study by Maria Kylin on the different perceptions of green space among planners, teachers and children shows that adults and children do not use the same language when describing places preferred by children. While the adults use descriptive terms, such as "varied, wild and not maintained", the children usually refer to the places in terms of what you can do there. The teachers were sometimes closer to the children, for instance describing a big tree or a hut. The issue is that only the planners' description is reflected in the plans.

The children's like the residents' conception of nature stems from their everyday experience, sc. life-world. Planners' and maintenance authorities' conceptions refer to their professional expertise and administrative regulations. The paradox here is that the professional expertise and the administrative regulations are all intended for the creation and maintenance of a good life for the residents and their children.

Planners and maintenance authorities act as "spokespersons" for the residents and their needs. Respectively, residents, users, children and all subjects of governance appear in the processes of governance as "actants", not as actors. With "actant" Bruno Latour means "whoever and whatever is represented" by a "spokesperson". Latour uses the concept "actant" to refer to the subject of scientific discourse, be they Samoan natives or micro-organisms. We can here borrow the concept for all the dumb partners of planning processes, as it is meant to indicate both the silence of the actant party in the official expressions, but also the fact that the actant after all has a life of its own, which can be more or less accurately represented by the spokesperson, but which nevertheless cannot be reduced to these representations.

Despite the trend to see home as private property, and especially despite the interpretation that a NIMBY is basically a defence of this private property, we can now see that even here "my back-yard" is not all mine. "My back-yard" is a social construction, and its definitions, both as to what it means and as to where it extends, is subject to a struggle. A NIMBY situation is a sign of just such a struggle taking place. For the users at stake is their control over their life-world, their daily practices and experience, control over their lives. For the planners at stake is their professional position which is based on their ability to define nature and to act in the interests of nature/ good environment. In a NIMBY situation the non-compatibility of the two perspectives breaks up in a direct confrontation. A NIMBY situation is a struggle over what we mean by nature, and what nature means to us.

NIMYs and LULUs provide us with practical cases of exemplary instances of planning as bio-political exercise of power and struggle over bio-political control. We shall analyse a number of NIMBY and LULU cases, recent and locally significant ones. After a few pilot analyses we shall decide whether to concentrate in detail on a few, maximum three cases with semi-structured interviews of representatives of all the parties, or whether instead we shall look at a wider scope of cases concentrating on some key instances.

In the cases we shall focus on:
1. How control over the life world of users is assumed through governance of nature in the

  • understanding
  • expressions
  • practicesof the planners.

2. How control over their lives is reclaimed by the

  • understanding
  • expressions
  • practices of the users

In the end we hope to have a rich picture of both theoretical background and practical mechanisms of bio-politics through the example of NIMBY and LULU cases.


  • Birgersson, Lisbeth, Malbert, Björn and Strömberg, Knut (2001): Governance and Communication. Greenscom publication, workpackage 1. Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.
  • Deleuze, Gilles (1986): Foucault. Minuit.
  • Hankonen, Johanna (1994): Lähiöt ja tehokkuuden yhteiskunta. Gaudeamus Kirja, Otatieto Oy and TTKK Arkkitehtuurin osasto. Helsinki.
  • Hardt, Michael & Negri, Antonio (2000): Empire. Harvard University Press.
  • Lapintie, Kimmo (1998): Ecological Planning as a Professional Challenge. In "After all these years." Helsinki
  • Latour, Bruno (1987): Science in Action, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Rajanti, Taina (1999): Kaupunki on ihmisen koti. Tutkijaliitto.
  • I Situationisti. (1997) Manifestolibri.

Sari Puustinen: Planners as Professionals of the General Interest

A research project " Planners as Professionals of General Interest. Professional Identity of Planners and the Challenge of Communicative Planning" deals with urban planning and the challenges to it from the point of view of the planning profession. The main interest is focused to the planning practices and substances that are under a change. New demands for communicative planning are emphasized in Finland by the new Land Use and Building Act (1999). The so called communicative turn in planning means that the traditional planning based on the expertise of one sector professionals with formal and hierarchical bureaucracy has been challenged by a new concept with a wide interaction between other professions and various stakeholders. This shift has made planning a more complex, more dynamic and more diverse task which more than ever deals with social relationships and social networks. It means that the planning professionals are faced by many challenges that are beyond their earlier educational and professional skills. They are challenged by the new modes of governance. (E.g.. Healey et al. 1995; Healey1997, Castells 1996.)

In this sub-project one asks if urban planners feel the principles of communicative planning as a threat to their profession. What is the role of planners when dealing with political decision making, different viewpoints of interest groups and confrontations? In this new situation, who is responsible for planning as a procedure and the consequences of planning? Who will define the so called 'common interest' in planning processes?

This study, which will be part of Sari Puustinen's thesis is based on the earlier study called "Planning as a Profession and Demand for Communicative Planning" financed by the Academy of Finland in 1999-2001. In that study the opinions and experience of Finnish planners about the effects of new participation procedures to planning practices were analyzed. The data consisted of a large survey, which reached the majority of Finnish planning professionals in the Spring of 2000. The data analyzed included both quantitative and qualitative items. The central theme that rose from the analysis was the definition of 'the general interest'. Planners were worried about the general interest because from their point of view both politicians and interest groups advocated their own shortsighted benefits. Local reactions were often called NIMBY or LULU. Politicians, instead, were often described as bargainers and speculators. To the planners, it still seems to be the planner who is responsible for the general interest in a planning process. But, when the planners were asked for a definition of the general interest the answers varied and included different statements.

According to the analysis,many planners think that the general interest is something fixed and only planners are able to interpret it. From that outlook it follows that planners do not see planning processes as discursive situations where the general interest would be defined in discussions between different interest groups and actors. The planners seem to experience that both politicians and other groups involved are merely obstacles to good planning. In turn, communicative situations are a "necessary evil" that wastes scarce resources of planning. That is why many planners try to carry out the participation processes as quickly as possible. "Planning" itself happens at the planner's desk. From this traditional point of view, planning practice is seen to be essentially substantive, and participation, political debate, bureaucratic processing are all, in contrast, seen to be procedural. Citizen participation or judicial deliberation cannot replace "planning" itself (Lapintie 2000). According to the sociologist Andrew Abbot, who has studied the means of professions to legitimate their position, it is typical of the professionals to emphasize theory (or designing a plan) rather than practice (like participation processes). Theory is easier to control than social situations. (Abbot 1988, 65 - 69.) Most Finnish planners have studied architecture, urban planning and design but they have not got any education in communication or participation methods.

A theoretical framework for this study brings together communicative theories of planning (e.g; Healey 1997; Forrester1987,1989) and the sociology of professions (Abbot 1988; Freidson 1970a&b, 994; Giddens 1995; Mykkänen & Koskinen 1998; Konttinen 1989, 1991, 1998; Saaristo 2000 etc.). The sociology of professions studies the change of professions and the competition between them. It is also concerned about professions fighting for their existence and jurisdiction, the right to define and solve social problems. The most recent and the most interesting research of professions studies meanings of modernization and globalization for the change of the professions´ roles (e.g. Giddens 1995). It has also brought up new forms of expertise and planning as a form of governance. According to these views planning must be understood in relation to the societal context. It is no more a closed professional field of expertise but a specific agency in a policy network

In this study the main task is to go into the profession of planners in greater detail. The main targets of investigation are the roles of planners and the substance of professional skills in the fast growing urban areas where there are great and conflicting pressures for land use and planning. In growing urban areas great hopes are set on urban planners, on the one hand, by management of cities and entrepreneurs but, on the other hand, by different groups and finally, by media. Besides, the new Land Use and Building Act might cause confusion, because it highlights both citizens´participation and more economy-based property development like public-private partnerships. It can be seen that recently in Finland conflicts and confrontations have reached an acute state.

In this study my aim is to answer to the following questions:

  • How has the role of planners changed recently?
  • What kinds of relationships have urban planners with different groups and actors within urban planning?
  • What is the relationship between urban planning and urban nature? What is the relationship between urban planners and nature conservation authorities? How do planners define urban nature?
  • What is the meaning of communicative processes in growing urban areas from the point of view of the planners?
  • How should we emphasize the benefits of present and future inhabitants?
  • How is the concept of the general interest defined in urban planning? How have these definitions changed after the WW II in Finland?
  • How is the concept of expertise defined by planners in urban planning?

The main method in the study will be semi- structured theme interviews. A qualitative method as theme interview is appropriate when dealing with complex and difficult questions concerning politics and personal ethics. The targets of interviews are urban planners working for growing cities and for Regional Environment Centres (alueelliset ympäristökeskukset) and Regional Councils (maakuntaliitot). Also some urban planners who work as consultants will be interviewed. The chosen cities are Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere and Oulu. One might interview some urban planners from smaller surrounding cities as well. Around 30 interviews will be made. The changed definitions of the general interest after the WW II will by studied by textual analysis of text books of planning.

This study is meaningful both theoretically and practically. Earlier studies about participation (from the point of view of inhabitants) and conflict studies (from the point of view of political studies) have brought out problems concerning the profession of planners and the culture of planning. In this study one brings together the study of professions and planning and it will give a new approach to the issues. The results of the study will bring more comprehension of the changes of the role of planning profession and demands for it. Results will help planning organizations to examine and develop the role and tasks of planners. The study also has meaning for renewing the education of planners in Finland.

Puustinen's project is closely connected to the earlier and ongoing activities of YTK (Centre for Urban and Regional Studies). From the 1980's YTK has been one of the most important Finnish research institutes dealing with public participation in urban planning. These efforts have also concerned the qualities of the planning profession. Currently, there are two projects which concern the theories and practices of communicative planning: "National evaluation and monitoring project concerning the collaborative planning practices" (2001-2002, funded by the Ministry of the Environment) and "The Role of Children and Young People in Collaborative Urban Planning" (1998-2003, funded by the Finnish Academy).

In addition, Puustinen's work have linkages to the YTK's projects which concern the new modes of urban governance. The project "Co-operation Concerning master Plans in Urban Regions" (2000-2002; funded by the Environmental Cluster Research Programme)) analyses the possibilities for co-operation between different municipalities. The YTK's part in the project "Urban Biodiversity: Multi-Taxon Model in Multiple Scales for Urban Planning" concerns the urban governance questions of ecological issues (2000-2002, funded by the Finnish Adademy).

M.Soc.Sc. Sari Puustinen has worked as a researcher for the project "Globalizing City in a Local Context" financed by the Academy of Finland (Puustinen 2001). The current research proposal is based on that study. It will be directed by professor Kimmo Lapintie. Since 1995 Sari Puustinen has worked as a researcher at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies within the Helsinki University of Technology. She has made studies about environmental politics and communication ( 1996a, 1996b), interaction between rural and urban areas (2000) and consolidations of municipalities (1998). She teaches environmental communication at the University of Helsinki. Recently she is also involved in research project "Premises for Small-Scale Housing in the Helsinki Region" financed by the Ministry of the Environment.

Puustinen has started her doctoral studies during the term 2000 - 2001 at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (YTK:n "Pitkä kurssi"). She will go on with her studies of urban planning at the Department of Architehture at the Helsinki University of Tehcnology. The supervisor of her dissertation will be professor Kimmo Lapintie. During her study, Puustinen works at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies. In addition, during her doctoral studies Puustinen shall take part to the activities of the national Graduate School for Urban and Planning Studies which is coordinated by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies


  • Abbot, Andrew (1988): The System of Professions. An Essay on the Division on Expert Labour. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Castells, Manuel (1996)The Rice of the Network Society. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.
  • Forester, John (1987): Planning In the Face of Conflict. Negotiation and mediation strategies in Local Land Use Regulation. Journal of the American Planning Assosiation, vol. 53, number 3, 303 - 314.
  • Forester John (1989): Planning in the face of power. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles.
  • Freidson, Eliot (1970a): Professional Dominance. Atherton Press, New York.
  • Freidson, Eliot (1970b): Profession of Medicine. New York, Dodd, Mead.
  • Freidson, Eliot (1994): Professionalism reborn. Theory, Prophecy and Policy. Polity Press, Oxford.
  • Giddens, Anthony (1995): Elämää jälkitraditionaalisessa yhteiskunnassa. Teoksessa Beck, Ulrich & Giddens, Anthony & Lash, Scott (1995): Nykyajan jäljillä. Refleksiivinen modernisaatio. Vastapaino, Tampere.
  • Healey, Patsy & Cameron, Stuart & Davoudi, Simin & Graham, Stephen & Madani-Pour, Ali (1995): Managing Cities. The New Urban Context. Wiley, Chichester.
  • Healey, Patsy (1997). Collaborative Planning. Shaping Places in Fragmented Societes. Basingstoke Macmillan, London.
  • Konttinen, Esa (1989): Harmonian takuumiehiä vai etuoikeuksien monopolisteja? Professioiden sosiologian kahden valtasuuntauksen tarkastelua. Jyväskylän yliopiston sosiologian laitoksen julkaisuja 45. Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto.
  • Konttinen Esa (1991): Perinteisesti moderniin: Professioden yhteiskunnallinen synty Suomessa. Vastapaino, Tampere.
  • Konttinen, Esa (1998): Professioiden aikakausi? Teoksessa Mykkänen, Juri & Koskinen, Ilpo (1998): Asiantuntemuksen politiikka - professiot ja julkisvalta Suomessa. Yliopistopaino - Helsinki University Press, Helsinki.
  • Lapintie, Kimmo (2000): Denaturalised or Re-activated: the Professional Construction of the Urban Green Areas. An article written to the International Planning Studies -magazine.
  • Mykkänen, Juri & Koskinen, Ilpo (1998): Asiantuntemuksen politiikka - professiot ja julkisvalta Suomessa. Yliopistopaino - Helsinki University Press, Helsinki.
  • Saaristo, Kimmo (2000): Avoin asiantuntijuus. Ympäristökysymys ja monimuotoinen ekspertiisi. Nykykulttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 66, Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2000.

Hanna Mattila: Aesthetics of Place and Communicative Urban Planning

Theoretical background and the aim of the study:

This study looks at the recently emerged and much debated theory of communicative urban planning and design from the perspective of contemporary environmental aesthetics. Generally speaking, the theory of communicative planning examines the possibility of democratizing of public planning by means of opening the decision-making in the field of planning to various interest groups. Most of the theories are based on Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action although it has been held highly unclear how far planning theory should follow the thought of Habermas (see e.g. Forester 1989,1993; Healey 1997; Sager 1994). The point of departure for this study is the observation that current theory of communicative planning does not make much room for the issue of communicating aesthetics of environment. This seems to be a shortcoming of the theory since the issue of aesthetics is undoubtedly of importance for various interest groups of planning and cannot be avoided in actual planning discussions.

In order to examine how the aesthetic dimension of planning could be included in the theory of communicative planning, the study turns to contemporary environmental aesthetics. In environmental aesthetics it is argued that aesthetics, which has traditionally been occupied with questions concerning art, should broaden its scope to encompass the various problems concerning experience and appreciation of our environment in general. Most of the studies in this field have been directed towards problems concerning natural environments, which preoccupation, however, is problematic with regard to the urban environments since the nature understood as wild and untouched seems to have little to do with urban nature that often is, for instance, cultivated, mixed with built environment, and even artistically designed as in the case of gardens and parks. In addition, nature within everyday urban environment is always understood or interpreted against certain specific cultural backgrounds. Equally inadequate for examining aesthetics of urban environments is the traditional art-based aesthetics since not much, if any, of the objects in urban environment can be adequately understood solely in terms of art. With regard to the topic of this study, one of the central problems with the art-based aesthetics is the idea of artistic autonomy that is fostered in traditional Kantian aesthetics and offers an argument for excluding the aesthetic dimension of urban planning from communicative practices altogether. This study claims that despite its insufficiencies, within planning institutions art-based aesthetics seems still to be a prevalent way of understanding of aesthetics. In planning theory, however, this art-based model has been rejected decades ago, but no replacing idea of aesthetics has been sought for. Following Habermasian aesthetics, this study maintains, planning theory would end up precisely with aesthetics as philosophy of art, which has no means to deal with aesthetics of nature, of everyday use-objects, or of social environments. Furthermore, Habermasian aesthetics eventually does not even seem to support the idea of including the aesthetic dimension of planning to communicative decision-making. Hence, in order to bridge the gap between contemporary planning theory and the aesthetic dimension of planning, more all-encompassing model of aesthetics than that of art-based or nature-based aesthetics is needed. In this study this is found on phenomenological and pragmatist philosophy, the latter of which in particular offers a common ground for aesthetics and planning thought.

Outline of the Study:

1. Aesthetics of Place

The first of the study focuses on the line of thought of environmental aesthetics and its relations to traditional aesthetics that is usually understood as philosophy of art and influenced strongly by Kantian aesthetics. In environmental aesthetics, which in this study is based in particular on pragmatist and phenomenological philosophy, the assumption is that aesthetic experience does not only belong to the realms of art and nature, but also to the various kinds of everyday environments and everyday phenomena (see e.g. Dewey 1934/1980; Berleant 1992,1997; Shusterman 2000). As a consequence, in environmental aesthetics the three cultural spheres - cognitive, moral and aesthetic - which have usually been understood as separate realms after Kant's three critiques and Weber's theories of modern society, are reunited. However, this reunion is not without theoretical problems.

This study starts the examination of aesthetics by asking what is the relation of aesthetics to particularity, locality and place. Just as contemporary planning theory aims at giving more room to locality and particularity within the discipline of planning, which in modern western societies has been leaning on Enlightenment idea of universal reason (see Healey 1996), so does this study claim that also the Enlightenment aesthetics that has troubles in dealing with particularity should be at least partly rejected. Even though already in Kant's aesthetics the particularity and the singularity of the object of aesthetic experience are emphasized, the same cannot be said of the subject of experience and of the context of experience. Therefore, in order to explore particular contexts of experience this study turns to phenomenological philosophy and makes use of one of its key concepts, namely the concept of life-world on the grounds of the phenomenology of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. The study argues against Kantian aesthetics, in which the aesthetic experience is portrayed as disinterested and detached, that pure disinterested experience that is free from cognitive aims and practical interests may not even be possible since the experience is influenced by our context of life-world.

This study also explores the relations of phenomenological aesthetics and pragmatist aesthetics, which in particular offers ways to overcome the fixed categories of the objects of aesthetic experience. Both the pragmatist and the phenomenological-hermeneutical aesthetics seem to support the view that art as a practice should be understood as a collaborative process between an artist and a perceiver, for instance, in claiming that the work of art is not completed until it is experienced against certain context of life-world. Hence, this study maintains that if urban planning, design and architecture have to be considered in terms of art, these views offer a ground to which base these considerations.

In addition to the concept of life-world, a focal concept in this study is the Heideggerian-based concept of place, which is a category of the object of aesthetic experience in which the physical, natural and social environment could be combined. Some of the applications of this concept are found to be flawed since they ultimately render the place-making an a process of artistic creation conceived of in the terms of autonomy of aesthetics (e.g. Norberg-Schulz's 1984). Some of the formulations, in contrast, concentrate on the in adaptation and attachment to places and give an account on the inhabitants relation to place, and thus on the maintenance of the place (e.g. Relph 1993). This emphasis connects the idea of place-making to the idea of ecological and cultural sustainability within of planning. The phenomenological conception of place also aligns with some recent feminist formulations of environmental ethics that question the basis of universal ethics on the grounds that personal relations to people and places seem to be prior to any abstracted relations. This offers an interesting view to the so-called "not-in-my-backyard"-arguments in planning discussions, which arguments are usually considered as suspicious on the grounds of traditional views on ethics.

2. Aesthetics and the Theory of Urban Planning

The second part of my study examines the theories of urban planning, asks why planning theory currently seems to be unable to give an account on aesthetic dimensions of planning. One reason for the dismissal of the aesthetic point of view within planning theory is undoubtedly the procedural bias of the current thought. This should not be the case, however, if we think of it from the pragmatist and phenomenological perspective from where processes of creation, products of creative processes, and reception of the objects created do not appear as separate issues. With regard to the relations between aesthetics and collaborative planning, it should be noted in particular that the communicative processes in planning shape the cultural background against which the environment is experienced and appreciated.

In the history of planning theory aesthetics is usually connected with the modernist paradigm of physical planning and design, in which town planning was conceived of in terms of artistic creation much in the sense as it is portrayed in traditional aesthetics (see Taylor 1998). This conception of planning was not very sound since it tended to produce plans that could not react neither to change in the environment, nor to the changing needs of the people. The replacing paradigms of systems-theoretical view of planning and view of planning as rational decision-making were able to face these problems, but not to give an account of aesthetic dimension of planning. Nevertheless, this study argues that the procedural thinking of pragmatist and phenomenological aesthetics, however, could be combined even with these views that are traditionally thought as anti-aesthetic.

The emphasis that has been recently put on the value-laden character of planning in the fore has led to the so-called communicative turn in planning theory (see Healey 1996). The theory of communicative planning draws mostly on the theory of communicative action of Jürgen Habermas. Habermas's theory provides a possibility for bringing value - both aesthetic and ethical - under rational discussion, because of Habermas's idea of communicative rationality. In his philosophical project Habermas defends the "life-world", but Habermas's life-world, in which everything can be grasped through language, differs much from the phenomenological life-world. Habermas's linguistically structured life-world will be compared in my study especially to Merleau-Ponty's conception of lived world, which always partly resists conceptualisation. This study claims that the Habermasian notion of life-world is not able to do justice to the aesthetic experience of urban spaces and places, and therefore its applicability to planning theory is at least limited.

The study examines also some other Habermasian ideas that have been applied to planning theory. For instance, some critical remarks will be made about the much-debated notion of an ideal speech situation where non-distorted communication occurs. Seen form the perspective of this study, this notion is problematic, because in the ideal speech situation the speakers are eventually presupposed to withdraw e.g. from their relationships to the world and to other people. In contrast, seen from the phenomenological perspective or from the perspective of some formulations of contemporary environmental ethics, the human being always has meaningful relations to the world and to certain places and persons. And furthermore, Habermasian communicative rationality is only limited to the communicative relations between people, whereas human relations to nature are conceived in a quite narrow way as only instrumental.

A more general problem with the current theory of planning is its procedural bias, because of which planning theory has been accused of being "contentless" and of saying nothing about the environment that eventually results from planning. The general concern of environmental issues within planning has recently forced the theory to take into account also the substantive side of planning, but so far this has not led to any significant attempts to bridge the gap between substantive and procedural planning theories. Thus, in order to discuss the aesthetic dimension of planning within collaborative planning, new theoretical grounds are needed. Pragmatist and phenomenological environmental aesthetics, which look holistically at the creation of places as well as reception of those, offer a ground that would at least partly make it possible to bridge the gap between procedural theories of planning and substantive theories of urban design that do not have much points of contact currently. Although phenomenological tradition has traditionally offered ways to understand the experience of place in its fullness, this study emphasizes the possibilities of pragmatist aesthetics that is capable of the same in many respects, and in its down-to-earth style of philosophy it has means to meet the needs of more practically-oriented theory of planning.

Selected bibliography:

  • Dewey, John (1934/1980). Art as Experience.
  • Forester, John (1989). Planning in the Face of Power.
  • Forester, John (1993). Critical Theory, Public Policy and Planning. Toward a Critical Pragmatism.
  • Habermas and Modernity (1985), ed. Richard J. Bernstein. Polity Press/Basil Blackwell. Oxford.
  • Habermas, Jürgen (1981/1984) The Theory of Communicative Action, volume 1. transl. Thomas McCarthy.
  • Habermas, Jürgen (1981/1987) The Theory of Communicative Action, volume 2. transl. Thomas McCarthy.
  • Habermas, Jürgen (1985/1987). The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, transl. Frederick Lawrence
  • Harvey, David (1980/1990). The Condition of Postmodernity.
  • Healey, Patsy (1996). "Planning Through Debate: The Communicative Turn in Planning Theory", in Readings in Planning Theory, eds. Campbell & Fainstain.
  • Healey, Patsy (1997). Collaborative Planning. Shaping Places in Fragmented Societes.
  • Husserl, Edmund (1954/1970). The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, transl. David Carr.
  • Huyssen, Andreas (1986). After the Great Divide. Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism.
  • Ingram, David (1990). "Completing the Project of Enlightenment. Habermas on Aesthetic Rationality", in The Aesthetics of Critical Theorists, ed. Ronald Roblin.
  • Kolb, David (1990). Postmodern Sophistications. Philosophy, Architecture and Tradition.
  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception.
  • Norberg-Schulz, Christian (1984). Genius Loci. Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture.
  • Relph, Edward (1979). Place and Placelessness.
  • Relph, Edward (1993). "Modernity and the Reclamation of Place", in Dwelling, Seeing and Designing. Toward a Phenomenological Ecology, ed. David Seamon.
  • Sager, Tore (1994/1996). Communicative Planning Theory.
  • Shusterman, Richard (1997). Pragmatist Aesthetics.
  • Taylor, Nigel (1998). Urban Planning Theory since 1945.

Contact information

For more information of the project, contact professor Kimmo Lapintie, Tel. +358-50-5842710, P.O.Box 1300, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland, or the individual researchers directly: Taina Rajanti, Sari Puustinen, and Hanna Mattila.