Planning by intentional communities: an understudied form of activist planning
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPlanning Theory. 2018, 17 (4), 449-471. 10.1177/1473095217723381
The article is about intentional communities choosing a lifestyle outside the mainstream. It is explained why their planning is a sort of activist planning and often a case of radical planning. Planning by intentional communities differs from most activist neighbourhood planning by closer relation to a deviating worldview or ideology. The permanent insistence on non-conformity makes planning processes involving both government and intentional community cases of agonist planning. Activist planning theory has not studied how the thousands of dedicated activists living in intentional communities plan the development of their area. The article starts such an investigation by studying Svartlamon in Trondheim, Norway. It is an urban intentional community for social change, housing some 240 individuals. The activists have used planning strategically to mobilize and build external support, to frame the cooperation with the municipality and to establish a legal underpinning of the intentional community. The following questions are answered: Are the goals of the activists clearly reflected in the plans? How are the activists involved in the planning? Are the planning ideas of the intentional community well received by the municipality?