Planners in Politics


Planners in Politics

Do they Make a Difference?

9781839100109 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Louis Albrechts, Research Unit of Planning and Development and Department of Architecture, University of Leuven, Belgium
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 83910 010 9 Extent: 304 pp
In this innovative book, ten executive politicians with backgrounds in planning from around the world dissect their own political careers. Reflecting on the often structural impact of their work in political decision-making, they also consider the translation of their experiences back into academic life or professional practice.

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In this innovative book, ten executive politicians with backgrounds in planning from around the world dissect their own political careers. Reflecting on the often structural impact of their work in political decision-making, they also consider the translation of their experiences back into academic life or professional practice.
These revealing stories illustrate the vital role of planners in politics. Specific examples show how they were able to make a difference during their tenure by defining problems, setting agendas, using different catalyst for change and raising awareness of issues around sustainability, equity, social justice, poverty and power. Drawing on these experiences to argue for innovative pedagogies and practices in planning, this book illuminates the frequently invisible work of planners in politics, the benefits of their training and education, and the wisdom that they can offer theorists, students and practitioners about transformative planning.
This book will be critical reading for researchers and students of spatial planning, urban geography and politics. Urban planners and politicians will also benefit from these insights into the political experience of planning.
Critical Acclaim
‘The book provides a very refreshing way to deal with the politics of plan making and plan implementation. Interesting stories of planners successfully making a difference through political insti- tutions make this book an engaging read for academics, practitioners and students, and therefore it is highly recommended.’
– Anubandh Hambarde, Town Planning Review

‘The book makes important contributions in a number of ways, from a deeper understanding of the “black box” of explicitly political decision-making in multiple sociopolitical contexts to heartening stories of the ways in which planning skills and expertise can be useful in navigating the intricacies of the political sphere.’
– Christopher Maidment, Planning Theory

‘I urge planning academics, students, and practitioners who are convinced of the crucial role planning can and should play in good governance and who are committed to making full use of the discipline in the production of a just and equitable society to read this book.’
– Wes Grooms, Journal of the American Planning Association

‘The volume is a very accessible and engaging journey into the inner wonderings of prestigious planning scholars facing the daily challenges of policymaking. The book reveals the original ways in which expert planners have dealt with these dilemmas.’
– Federico Savini, Planning Theory and Practice

‘I recommend this book to those seeking to understand better how planning theory influences planning-related decisions and how planning practice is brought in planning education through planners’ experience. Evans and Cvitanovic (2018) claim that many academics wish to support policymaking but may not know where to start; Planners in Politics provides a sound and detailed starting point for planners.’
– Eduardo Oliveira, European Planning Studies

‘By focussing on individuals from around the world who have been both Politicians and Planners this book demystifies the worlds of Politicians as well as Planners and offer real life glimpses of collaboration as well as contestation between the two domains of social action. A must read for those who want to understand how to establish trust between Politicians and Planners which is essential for effective practice.’
– Bish Sanyal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

‘What happens when planners become politicians? Based on a collection of biographical narratives of planning academics who became politicians, this book provides rich insight from diverse situations, while revealing some common themes. It will be a valuable resource for all those interested in how planning ideas, values and skills fare when advanced from political positions.''
– Patsy Healey, Newcastle University, UK
Contributors: Y.K. Alagh, L. Albrechts, A. Balducci, A. Barbanente, A. da Rosa Pires, D. De Leo, J. Ferrão, A. Hagen, J. Lerner, E. Maricato, M. Sutcliffe, G. Tanaka, J.A. Throgmorton


1 The challenge to make a difference 2
Louis Albrechts

2 A favourable correlation of forces: the best possible base for
an academic in government in Brazil 11
Ermínia Maricato and Giselle Tanaka
3 Indian planning circa 2018 and past experience: did experts
make a difference? 37
Yoginder K. Alagh
4 From policy-scientist to science-informed politician.
Combining territorial imaginaries, external circumstances and
domestic possibilities 55
João Ferrão

5 Finding spaces for innovation in regional planning practices
through enabling and contrasting actions 76
Angela Barbanente
6 Valuing and reframing knowledge production processes 99
Artur da Rosa Pires

7 Of architects, mayors and Curitiba: a tale of a Brazilian city 122
Jaime Lerner
8 Struggling to make a difference: fighting the apartheid racial
order in local governance and planning 147
Michael Sutcliffe
9 Storytelling and city crafting in a contested age: one mayor’s
practice story 174
James A. Throgmorton
10 Forty years as a politician with a background in planning.
How did this affect me as politician and as a planner? 198
Aksel Hagen
11 Governing planning in Milan 224
Alessandro Balducci

12 Prof(ass)essori , politics and planning: lessons learned for
making a difference 242
Daniela De Leo
13 From the limits of planning to political engagement 259
Louis Albrechts

Index 277
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