The project´s aim is a transdisciplinary production of knowledge about the role of citizen initiatives in local governance and how current design and planning practices may be developed in order to more fully draw from these initiatives as resources for sustainable urban development. This requires a reflective process involving research and practice in concrete planning situations. As we are specifically interested in responses to urban deprivation, we will perform a case study in a Swedish suburban area suffering from socio-economic stigmatisation.
The main research question: How can citizen initiatives interplay with invited participation in local development work? This question raises sub-questions:
- Which kinds of citizen initiatives exist? How do they function? What interests are manifested? How do they relate to formal planning institutions or other institutions involved in urban development? How do they influence local development?
- How can invited participation in planning processes be understood with regard to its democratic quality? What are the constraining and enabling factors increasing empowered participative governance? How do invited participatory measures interact with citizen initiatives?
- How can constructive dialogues between citizens and formal planning institutions be facilitated to support empowered participative governance and sustainable urban development?