A Balancing Act between Swift and Slow Planning: Reimagining deliberative planning in view of the urgency of sustainability challenge

Last changed: 14 August 2023

This research project develops 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 aims to reimagine deliberative planning as a balancing act between equally valid demands for efficiency and deliberation. The research design combines 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 use the findings to draw out practical implications.

Thereby the project developes 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.


Project leader

Camilo Calderon, Lecturer, Division of Environmental Communication, SLU

Project participants

Andrew Butler, Senior Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture, SLU, +4618672662
Read more on Andrew Butler's CV page
Send an e-mail to: andrew.butler@slu.se 

Martin Westin, Researcher, Division of Environmental Communication, SLU, +46701914617 +46707180151
Read more on Martin Westin's CV page
Send an e-mail to: martin.westin@slu.se

Project time


External funding

Formas Dnr 2019-01097