This website presents various research projects that have in common to focus on the role of inhabitants in urban and rural transformation.
Ever since “Our common future” and “Agenda 21” were written thirty years ago, there has been global agreement on the need for increased citizen participation in planning and community transformation, the aim being to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
The “participatory turn” in planning has its roots in the 1960s with advocacy planning, which in turn had its background in the US and, furthermore, existed as a model for developing democracy in Europe. After a fairly long period of disinterest, the participatory turn has essentially developed into a movement in Europe.
One reason for this is related to rapid global social and environmental changes. Complex and wicked problems require the development of new theory and practices of collaborative rationality. Another view is related to the reconsideration of roles. If planning cannot be seen as value neutral, then invisible agendas for planning practices need to be unfolded and reconstructed based on analyses of class, race, gender, ethnic, or ideo-logical biases. A third view is related to justice and resilience. When, faced with changing global financial circumstances and climate change, governments fail to deal with urbanization processes, community management may be considered an answer. In this view, multicultural cities want approaches other than to be run as businesses; they need to be planned on the basis of equity and human needs, where citizens are not only thought of as consumers.