This research project developed both theoretically oriented and practically applicable knowledge about innovative deliberative planning processes for addressing urgent sustainability challenges.
The urgency of sustainability challenges, such as climate change impacts, shortage of affordable homes or influx of immigrants, have prompted policy makers to call for swift responses from the Swedish spatial planning system. Yet, proponents of deliberation urge them to slow down in order to enable the broad citizen participation required for democratic legitimacy and long term sustainability. Due to the struggles between proponents for swift and slow, planning processes risk becoming ambiguous and might be neither efficient nor legitimate.
As an alternative to this “either or” framing, this project aimed to reimagine deliberative planning as a balancing act between equally valid demands for efficiency and deliberation. The research design combined in-depth case studies of deliberative planning processes addressing different kinds of urgent sustainability challenges with co-creative workshops where the research team and key planning actors used the findings to draw out practical implications.
Thereby the project developed knowledge which can be used by policy makers and planners to design innovative deliberative processes capable of balancing efficiency and deliberation. The findings will also be used to contribute to the development of deliberative planning theory in view of the urgency of sustainability challenges.