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Camilo Calderon

Camilo Calderon
Researcher working with participatory and deliberative approaches to urban and landscape planning. My research focuses on highlighting the conflictual and power-laden nature of participation and on understanding institutional and agential factors influencing the implementation of deliberative ideals. I am also the Study Director for the MSc Environmental Communication and Management.


I am a researcher especialized in participatory and deliberative approaches to planning and decision-making. Throughout my carreer I have studied the use of these approaches for solving spatial, social and environmental problems including urban renewal, public space development, sustainable lifestyles, ecosystem services, community development. This has been done in different countries including Colombia, Spain, Sweden, England and the Netherlands.

My current research focuses on the understanding of context and the influence it has on landscape governance and particularly on collaborative and deliberative planning and decision-making. The research is empirically based in Sweden and is part of the Network for citizen dialogues regarding complex societal issues (Nätverk för medborgardialog för hantering av komplexa samhällsfrågor) organized by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions-SKL (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting). Whitin this network 10 Swedish municipalities participate to develop and test deliberative approaches and methods for managing complex societal issues.



I am the Study Director for the Environmental Communication and Management programme at SLU. I am course coordinator for the courses Introduction to environmental communication , Conflict, democracy and facilitation and Internship in environmental communication.

I teach at the Environmental Communication and Management and the Landscape Architecture programmes. I am also supervisor of master thesis and PhD students

I give lectures focusing among other on participatory and deliberative planning; communicative planning theory; differences, conflicts and power relations in collaborative decision-making; research methods and case study methodology; the political economy of urban development; contemporary trends in urban design; integrated approaches to planning and design; upgrading of informal settlements; renewal of deprived neighbourhoods; tactical/DIY/guerrilla urbanism; and urban development in cities of the global south (particularly Latin America).

I have also been invited to give lectures,be oponent and co-organize courses in universities including Uppsala University, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), the University of Milano-Bicocca, the National Agrarian University (UNA) and the Potificia Bolivariana University (UPB).


I am an architect with a masters degree in urban and regional planning and a doctoral degree in landscape planning with focus on participatory planning and urban design.

My doctoral research aimed at making a theoretical contribution to the fields of landscape architecture and urban design by focusing on the challenges of participation in planning and urban design. The research gave especial emphasis on the understanding of differences, conflicts and power relations within participatory processes and the influences of these in the development of public spaces within cities.  My PhD thesis “Politicising Participation: Towards a new theoretical approach to participation in the planning and design of public space” was awarded with the 2013 European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools –ECLAS- Outstanding Student Award (3rd Cycle - PhD).

I have also engaged in action research regarding collaborative approaches to planning. As a result of this I wrote together with colleagues at Uppsala University the "The Inquiry Based Approach - IBA: a facilitator’s handbook" for guiding collaborative practices. The approach has been implemented in 17 cities in Africa, South East Asia, and Europe.

Previous academic experience includes researcher and lecturer at the Division of Landscape Architecture, researcher at Uppsala University in the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development – SWEDESD   and teacher at the Master’s programme Sustainable Urban Planning and Design at KTH.



I am currently co-supervisor to the following PhD students:

Paola Ledo Espinoza: "Planning in the context of weak planning institutions and lack of resources for implementation – the case of Sacaba" 

Martin Westin: “Practitioners’ notions of power in collaborative planning - How competing rationalities clash in process design practice”

Said Nuhu: "Land Governance in Tanzania: People’s Perception and Experienced in Accessing Land in the Peri-Urban Areas of Dar es Salaam"

Selected publications

Peer-reviewed articles

Calderon, C. (2019). Unearthing the political: differences, conflicts and power in participatory urban design. Journal of Urban Design

Calderon, C., & Westin, M. (2019). Understanding context and its influence on collaborative planning processes: A contribution to communicative planning theory. International Planning Studies.

Calderon, C. and A. Butler (2019). Politicising the landscape: a theoretical contribution towards the development of participation in landscape planning. Landscape Research

Calderon, C. & Chelleri, L. (2013) Social processes in the production of public spaces: structuring forces and actors in the renewal of a deprived neighbourhood in Barcelona,  Journal of Urban Design. 18, 409-428.

Books, book chapters

Calderon, C. and J. Hernandez-Garcia (2019). Bottom-up public space design and social cohesion: The case of a self-developed park in an informal settlement of Bogotá. Public Space Design and Social Cohesion: an International Comparison. P. Aelbrecht and Q. Stevens, Routledge.

Westin, M., Calderon, C. & Hellquist, A. (2016) Att leda samverkan: En handbok för dig som vill hantera komplexa samhällsutmaningar. Visby, SWEDESD - Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development.

Westin, M., Calderon, C. & Hellquist, A. (2014) The Inquiry Based Approach IBA: a facilitator’s handbook. Visby, SWEDESD - Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development.

Calderon, C. (2013) Politicising Participation: towards a new theoretical approach to participation in the planning and design of public space. PhD Dissertation. Uppsala:SLU

Calderon, C. (2012) Social Urbanism: participatory urban upgrading in Medellin, Colombia, in Lawrence, Yildiz & Kellett (eds.) Requalifying the built environment: challenges and responses. Göttingen: Hogrefe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88937-430-0

Publications in Conference proceedings

Calderon, C. & Butler, A. (2016) ‘Towards the development of landscape democracy: a theoretical contribution’, in Uniscape. Landscape values place and praxis (Galway, Ireland  June 29th – July 2nd, 2016)

Calderon, C. & Westin,M. (2016) ‘Understanding how context influences collaborative approaches to landscape governance: an analytical framework’, in Uniscape. Landscape values place and praxis (Galway, Ireland  June 29th – July 2nd, 2016)

Popular articles

Calderon, C. (2011) ‘En ny form för offentliga rum som börjar i det tillfälliga’ [New Approaches to the Production of Public Spaces]. Arkitektur 01,2011, Stockholm


twitter: @urbandifference


Lecturer at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Environmental Communication
Telephone: +4618672619
Work description: Post-doctoral researcher, teaching, participation, collaborative planning, deliberative planning, landscape governance, urban planning
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala