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Challenging the Place Experiment: A critical take on the experiment as an urban planning strategy

Jacobsen, Sif Juhl LU (2018) SGEM08 20181
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
Despite a recent interest among geographers and planners in experiments in and on the city, urban experimentation has yet to be examined critically. This thesis takes on the challenge by conceptualizing the place experiment as hermeneutical, transformative, co-creational and geographically bounded, and further by examining the strategic use of place experiments in municipal urban planning. The thesis draws links between an entrepreneurial governance paradigm and the experimental turn in planning, and revisits the experiment’s journey from the natural sciences to municipal planning practice. Five semi-structured interviews with planners in the Municipality of Copenhagen make up the empirical core, and the planners’ logics and arguments for... (More)
Despite a recent interest among geographers and planners in experiments in and on the city, urban experimentation has yet to be examined critically. This thesis takes on the challenge by conceptualizing the place experiment as hermeneutical, transformative, co-creational and geographically bounded, and further by examining the strategic use of place experiments in municipal urban planning. The thesis draws links between an entrepreneurial governance paradigm and the experimental turn in planning, and revisits the experiment’s journey from the natural sciences to municipal planning practice. Five semi-structured interviews with planners in the Municipality of Copenhagen make up the empirical core, and the planners’ logics and arguments for producing place experiments in Copenhagen’s disadvantaged neighborhoods are questioned in detail, aided by an intensive coding process. The study rests ontologically on critical realism and grounded theory, which is reflected in its iterative structure and continuous abstraction. An analysis of the five interviews give insights to the production of five separate place experiments in Copenhagen, each of which functions as a separate research case in this study. It is suggested that municipal planners in the Copenhagen Neighborhood Regeneration strategically employ place experiments in disadvantaged neighborhoods to I) incite local urban production, II) re-brand spaces III) develop local responsibility, IV) prepare locals for change, V) create local empowerment, VI) raise support and attention and VII) illustrate urban alternatives. Despite the good intentions, a critical analysis reveals that planners often fail to notice and act upon the challenges that these seven strategies entail. In order to use place experiments to advance some level of social justice and to challenge structural socio-economic inequalities, planners must consider more critically how to make sure that the experiment does not counterfeit democracy, marginalize existing place identities, suppress critique, depoliticize planning and governance, or empower false stakeholders. These precautionary actions require the planner to employ her agency in the confrontation with problematic or flawed logics within the municipal and political framework. (Less)
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author
Jacobsen, Sif Juhl LU
supervisor
organization
course
SGEM08 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
experiment, strategic urban planning, critical urban theory, Copenhagen, Neighborhood Regeneration, entrepreneurialism, governance, disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, re-politicization.
language
English
additional info
Appendixes are not included.
id
8957925
date added to LUP
2018-09-07 13:02:35
date last changed
2018-09-07 13:02:35
@misc{8957925,
  abstract     = {Despite a recent interest among geographers and planners in experiments in and on the city, urban experimentation has yet to be examined critically. This thesis takes on the challenge by conceptualizing the place experiment as hermeneutical, transformative, co-creational and geographically bounded, and further by examining the strategic use of place experiments in municipal urban planning. The thesis draws links between an entrepreneurial governance paradigm and the experimental turn in planning, and revisits the experiment’s journey from the natural sciences to municipal planning practice. Five semi-structured interviews with planners in the Municipality of Copenhagen make up the empirical core, and the planners’ logics and arguments for producing place experiments in Copenhagen’s disadvantaged neighborhoods are questioned in detail, aided by an intensive coding process. The study rests ontologically on critical realism and grounded theory, which is reflected in its iterative structure and continuous abstraction. An analysis of the five interviews give insights to the production of five separate place experiments in Copenhagen, each of which functions as a separate research case in this study. It is suggested that municipal planners in the Copenhagen Neighborhood Regeneration strategically employ place experiments in disadvantaged neighborhoods to I) incite local urban production, II) re-brand spaces III) develop local responsibility, IV) prepare locals for change, V) create local empowerment, VI) raise support and attention and VII) illustrate urban alternatives. Despite the good intentions, a critical analysis reveals that planners often fail to notice and act upon the challenges that these seven strategies entail. In order to use place experiments to advance some level of social justice and to challenge structural socio-economic inequalities, planners must consider more critically how to make sure that the experiment does not counterfeit democracy, marginalize existing place identities, suppress critique, depoliticize planning and governance, or empower false stakeholders. These precautionary actions require the planner to employ her agency in the confrontation with problematic or flawed logics within the municipal and political framework.},
  author       = {Jacobsen, Sif Juhl},
  keyword      = {experiment,strategic urban planning,critical urban theory,Copenhagen,Neighborhood Regeneration,entrepreneurialism,governance,disadvantaged urban neighborhoods,re-politicization.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Challenging the Place Experiment: A critical take on the experiment as an urban planning strategy},
  year         = {2018},
}