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Great planning game

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For some time now, I have been working on teaching materials for planning students. I am really happy about this GAME, which aims to make students aware of different roles they can play as planners in …

For some time now, I have been working on teaching materials for planning students. I am really happy about this GAME, which aims to make students aware of different roles they can play as planners in network governance.
This is an exercise for planning students. It is based on a 'typology' of planners operating in network governance and project planning proposed by Karina Sehested (2010) of the University of Copenhagen. The objective is to make students aware of different roles they can play as planners in network governance, and which core values are attached to each role. There is also a discussion about tools and ways to manage networks.


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  • 1. the GreatPlanning Game Elaborated by Roberto Rocco Chair Spatial Planning and Strategy, TU Delft ©All Rights Reserved: Roberto Rocco email: r.c.rocco@tudelft.nl Based on a text by Karina Sehested University of CopenhagenSpatialPlanning &Strategy
  • 2. The Great Planning GameThis exercise is based on: SEHESTED, K. 2010. Urban Planners as Network Managers and Metagovernors,Planning Theory & Practice 10:2, 245-263. The author has asserted her intellectual property.Objective: To familiarise students with the roles problem presented (only the title should suffice).of planners in scenarios of network governanceand strategy planning, to encourage studentsto discuss there roles and the values attached Rules:to them and to think about tools they might use • Every group needs to elect one or twowhile performing these roles. speakers • Every member of the group needs to haveTime: 1h30 hours enough time and opportunity to express their opinions and explain their positions • Each group needs to find reasonable con- sensus for decisions takenOrganisation:• Students are divided in groups of 4 or • The activity needs to be conducted withmore. respect for different positions and opinions• Students are given 6 cards with descrip- • Each group will be allocated only 5 min-tions of TYPICAL PLANNING ROLES (or typical utes to explain their position in the endplanners), derived from SEHESTED 2010.• Students need to choose which of the typi-cal roles they want to perform during the exercise(enough time should be allocated for this, as theobjective is that they discuss the different roles).• Once students have chosen one role (or acombination of two), they are presented with aplanning task. For this task they need to:a. Define their position in the process (whereare they located as professionals?)b. List main knowledge, skills and valuesnecessary to fulfil the taskc. Define who are the actors involved andmake a diagram showing their relationships(think of different groups of users or inhabitants,the governmental departments involved on deci-sion in the area, companies, investors, etc)d. Suggest a hypothetical structure of net-work of actors possibly involved in the planningproblem (sectorial?)e. Suggest one tool to deal with communi-cation and consensus seeking in a hypotheticalactor network involvedf. Suggest at which point and where this toolwould be usedg. Suggest a simple strategy to answer for the
  • 3. Description of planning roles (based on SE- 3. The communicative Planner: I believe in participation. Democracy is the mostHESTED 2010): important tool for real progress, because real progress IS democracy. You might wonder what1. The Traditional Planner:I am an old-school planner. I was trained to do that means. Let’s say that by encouraging peoplemy job and therefore I believe I am fully capaci- to participate in decision-making, I widen thetated to take the right decisions. I believe in the possibility of those people to share the gains ofpower of the government to make people’s lives urban development. But most importantly, alongbetter. In order to achieve that, comprehensive the way they will acquire the knowledge and theplanning is the best tool we have at our disposal. tools to take a stronger stance in urban develop-By planning carefully and in a detailed way, we ment and will be able to articulate solutions thatwill achieve good results for all. I like the tradi- benefit all. This is an important aspect of mytional ways of organising the work. I am the chief profession and it is called democracy building.planner; therefore I expect my subordinates will The process is as important as the final outcomes.listen to my instructions. We strive for the general Of course, in order to do all this, I must have greatgood and sometimes I have the feeling we are communication skills. I need to communicatemore concerned about the public than the elected complex ideas to people who have had no train-members of our government. Our adversaries are ing. But don’t be fooled: their knowledge is asgreedy investors who would ruin our city with important as the knowledge of professionals andhuge shopping centres and weird ideas about I need to be able to help them articulate it. On themixed housing. (137 words) other hand, I also need to facilitate communica- tion that will allow consensus building among dif- ferent stakeholders with very disparate interests.2. The Advocacy Planner: (177 words)I am an advocacy planner. You might wonder whatthat means, but let’s just say that my main objec- 4. The Strategic Planner:tive is to defend the interest of those who don’t I am a strategic planner. My objective is to develophave a voice in urban development. We live in strategies that will benefit all, but I am aware thatan unfair world. Many groups don’t have a voice elected politicians are the legitimate representa-in urban development (women, minorities, mi- tives of the people. This is why I work hard togrants, even children are poorly represented!). seduce them with engaging visions and appealingResources are not fairly distributed. As a planning scenarios, to guide their actions. I think plannersprofessional, it is my moral duty to fight for those must appeal to other professionals working withwho have the least, and to guaranty that they the city in order to formulate these visions. Butwill get a fair share of the fruits of development, sometimes I feel these professionals are not veryeither by allocating resources to the areas where practical. We need to engage investors as well,these people live or by finding ways to redistrib- and the best way to do this is to offer investorsute the gains. I do that by applying several new opportunities via large urban projects. I find thattools at my disposal, like progressive taxation or large urban projects are the best tool to mobilisetaxation of unproductive land. I accept the market political and economic action. They are also ansociety of course, but there are ways to regulate effective way to intervene in the spatial configu-the market and to redistribute profit in a fair way. ration of a city. These projects compose spatialAfter all, when investors realise gains in a certain strategies, with which we will achieve agreedlocation they are generally benefitting from infra- goals. (127 words)structures built with tax money, and all the posi-tive externalities created by society and especiallyby all those around them. (182 words) 5. The Manager Planner: I am a manager planner. I feel very close to my colleagues who call themselves “strategists”. I be- lieve it is all about having an effective strategy for urban development. But we will not have effective
  • 4. strategies if we cannot manage our relationship am something between a pedagogue and a pro-with investors and the private sector in general. cess consultant. As a good teacher, I rely on narra-We cannot deny that money is an essential factor: tives to engage all kinds of actors, not only pro-nothing can be achieved without investment. Who fessional ones, and certainly not only investors. Iwill pay for this, is generally my first question. But want to involve the common citizen in decision-let’s not forget that we are acting in benefit of the making. My advocacy planner friends and I workpublic. In order to do so, we need to listen to sev- quite well together. (154 words)eral actors, in an organised way, making use of thedemocratic instruments we have at our disposal.It is important that we keep public participation,but we need to manage it in a way that allows usto continue to be efficient. Too much participationcan be disruptive and we don’t have that muchtime. (153 words)6. The Market Planner:I like to call myself a market planner. It is not somuch that I am working FOR the market. Rather, Iam trying to realise projects within the sphere ofeconomic opportunity, and in order to do that, Ineed to engage with private actors. I am familiarwith the logic of business. I feel the public needsto accept co-responsibility for the city’s develop-ment and it is my responsibility to create closerelationships between the parties with the neces-sary resources in order to promote development.But this is done in the realm of democracy, withthe legal tools at our disposal. In order to makethe most of these tools, I need to articulate thecontacts between decision makers and investors.I also need to propose news tools with which in-vestors can participate in urban development in afair way. Of course citizen participation is impor-tant, but it is crucial to manage this participationin order to avoid standstills. (161 words)7. The Process Planner:I like to call myself a process planner. This meansthat my main task is to create democratic pro-cesses that can integrate all relevant actors inorder to make common decisions regarding theright kind of urban development. I feel that all af-fected parties should be heard or integrated in theprocess before decisions are made. Is this timeconsuming? Of course it is, but this is the price oftrue democracy. Besides, by doing that I createownership of decisions and decrease the prospectof our actions being contested. My main skills arecommunication and networking. Of course I needto be a good communicator if I want to integratenon-professional actors in the planning process. I
  • 5. Source: Funda.nl and CBSPlanning Task: Pendrecht basic data: Status: Neighbourhood, part of a larger district (staadsdeel) Charlois, in Rotterdam Pendrecht Rotterdam Inhabitants 11.625 544.54 Man / 49,1% / 49,3% / women 50,9% 50,7% Average € 10.600 € 12.523Figure 1 General administrative map of the municipality incomeof Rotterdam, with Pendrecht highlighted. Map: Centraal Total hous- 6.03 265.63Bureau voor de Statistiek. Copyright owner. ing units Average € 109.000 € 155.000 housingRenewing Pendrecht unit priceThe neighbourhood of Pendrecht lies in the South (WOZ)of the Dutch city of Rotterdam. It belongs to thedistrict of Charlois, one of the poorest parts ofthe city. Pendrecht was built in the 1950s as partof the effort to provide housing for a growingpopulation in the Post-War period. However, theunits were small and unattractive and when thechildren of Pendrecht grew up, they had muchmore prosperous prospects than their parentsand many of them went away to other neighbour-hoods and municipalities where they could havebigger houses with gardens.Today, more than 40% of inhabitants of Pendrechtare elderly and most of the units in the area be-long to housing corporations, whorent these units to lower income sectors of soci-ety, among whom we can find many immigrantswith varied cultures. Along the years, the imageof Pendrecht has deteriorated and many peoplewould avoid the neighbourhood today. The plan-ning question is: What are the actions, policiesor projects that could bring new economic andsocial impetus to Pendrecht? How to ‘regenerate’the neighbourhood while keeping housing afford-able for the inhabitants of the area? Or should wepromote gentrification to avoid ghettoization?1 Although Pendrecht is a real neighbourhood in Rotterdam, some of the datawas adapted to this exercise. Notably, the neighbourhood has already undergonea large regeneration strategy devised by the city of Rotterdam, which producedgood results.
  • 6. Figure 2 Original 1950s plan for Pen- drecht. Source: Gemeente Rotterdam.Figure 3. Typical housingensemble in Pendrecht.Photo by Topaas in Flickr. Figure 4: General view of Pendrecht. Source: www.kei-cen- trum.nl
  • 7. the traditional plannerI am an old-school planner. I was trained to do my job and there-fore I believe I am fully capacitated to take the right decisions.I believe in the power of the government to make people’s livesbetter. In order to achieve that, comprehensive planning is thebest tool we have at our disposal.By planning carefully and in a detailed way, we will achieve goodresults for all. I like the traditional ways of organising the work.I am the chief planner; therefore I expect my subordinates willlisten to my instructions. We strive for the general good and some-times I have the feeling we are more concerned about the publicthan the elected members of our government. Our adversaries aregreedy investors who would ruin our city with huge shoppingcentres and weird ideas about mixed housing.the communicative plannerI believe in participation. Democracy is the most important tool for realprogress, because real progress IS democracy. You might wonder what thatmeans. Let’s say that by encouraging people to participate in decision-making, I widen the possibility of those people to share the gains of urban de-velopment. But most importantly, along the way they will acquire the knowl-edge and the tools to take a stronger stance in urban development and will beable to articulate solutions that benefit all. This is an important aspect of myprofession and it is called democracy building. The process is as important asthe final outcomes. Of course, in order to do all this, I must have great commu-nication skills. I need to communicate complex ideas to people who have hadno training. But don’t be fooled: their knowledge is as important as the knowl-edge of professionals and I need to be able to help them articulate it. On theother hand, I also need to facilitate communication that will allow consensusbuilding among different stakeholders with very disparate interests.
  • 8. the strategic plannerI am a strategic planner. My objective is to develop strategies that will benefitall, but I am aware that elected politicians are the legitimate representatives ofthe people. This is why I work hard to seduce them with engaging visions andappealing scenarios, to guide their actions. I think planners must appeal toother professionals working with the city in order to formulate these visions.But sometimes I feel these professionals are not very practical. We need toengage investors as well, and the best way to do this is to offer investors op-portunities via large urban projects. I find that large urban projects are thebest tool to mobilise political and economic action. They are also an effectiveway to intervene in the spatial configuration of a city. These projects composespatial strategies, with which we will achieve agreed goals.the manager plannerI am a manager planner. I feel very close to my colleagues who call themselves“strategists”. I believe it is all about having an effective strategy for urban de-velopment. But we will not have effective strategies if we cannot manage ourrelationship with investors and the private sector in general. We cannot denythat money is an essential factor: nothing can be achieved without invest-ment. Who will pay for this, is generally my first question. But let’s not forgetthat we are acting in benefit of the public. In order to do so, we need to listento several actors, in an organised way, making use of the democratic instru-ments we have at our disposal. It is important that we keep public participa-tion, but we need to manage it in a way that allows us to continue to be effi-cient. Too much participation can be disruptive and we don’t have that muchtime.
  • 9. the market plannerI like to call myself a market planner. It is not so much that I am working FORthe market. Rather, I am trying to realise projects within the sphere of eco-nomic opportunity, and in order to do that, I need to engage with privateactors. I am familiar with the logic of business. I feel the public needs to acceptco-responsibility for the city’s development and it is my responsibility tocreate close relationships between the parties with the necessary resources inorder to promote development. But this is done in the realm of democracy,with the legal tools at our disposal. In order to make the most of these tools, Ineed to articulate the contacts between decision makers and investors. I alsoneed to propose news tools with which investors can participate in urban de-velopment in a fair way. Of course citizen participation is important, but it iscrucial to manage this participation in order to avoid standstills.the process plannerI like to call myself a process planner. This means that my main task is to createdemocratic processes that can integrate all relevant actors in order to makecommon decisions regarding the right kind of urban development. I feel thatall affected parties should be heard or integrated in the process before deci-sions are made. Is this time consuming? Of course it is, but this is the price oftrue democracy. Besides, by doing that I create ownership of decisions and de-crease the prospect of our actions being contested. My main skills are commu-nication and networking. Of course I need to be a good communicator if Iwant to integrate non-professional actors in the planning process. I am some-thing between a pedagogue and a process consultant. As a good teacher, Irely on narratives to engage all kinds of actors, not only professional ones, andcertainly not only investors. I want to involve the common citizen in decision-making. My advocacy planner friends and I work quite well together.
  • 10. the advocacy plannerI am an advocacy planner. You might wonder what that means, but let’s justsay that my main objective is to defend the interest of those who don’t havea voice in urban development. We live in an unfair world. Many groups don’thave a voice in urban development (women, minorities, migrants, even chil-dren are poorly represented!). Resources are not fairly distributed. As a plan-ning professional, it is my moral duty to fight for those who have the least,and to guaranty that they will get a fair share of the fruits of development,either by allocating resources to the areas where these people live or by find-ing ways to redistribute the gains. I do that by applying several new tools atmy disposal, like progressive taxation or taxation of unproductive land. Iaccept the market society of course, but there are ways to regulate themarket and to redistribute profit in a fair way. After all, when investors realisegains in a certain location they are generally benefitting from infrastructuresbuilt with tax money, and all the positive externalities created by society andespecially by all those around themIf you have any doubts or questions, please write to Roberto Rocco at r.c.rocco@tudelft.nl Department of Urbanism Chair Spatial Planning and Strategy Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment Delft University of Technology Julianalaan 134 2628BL Delft The Netherlands