Balancing participatory planning and planning for resilience in nature-based solutions. A case of transformative agency?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Participatory planning and planning for resilience figure as major trends in striving towards urban sustainability. Yet, recent studies problematize citizen participation in planning for resilience, indicating the need for closer research on surrounding processes and the limits planners face in leading participants to sustainable outcomes. Providing a basis for cross-case learning, the paper examines five urban planning projects in Northern Europe that attempted to involve stakeholders in enhancing urban resilience via nature-based solutions. Considering structural factors that limit planners’ agency in the Nordic and (post-socialist) Baltic context, the results convey tensions between inclusivity and resilience as common challenges across cases that manifest in conflicts over landscape aesthetics, neoliberal contestations of space, and diverting priority setting of stakeholders. The paper argues that these challenges triggered creative strategies which unleashed potentials for transformative planning agency including attempts to gain legitimacy and stakeholder support, build environmental awareness and knowledge among stakeholder groups, and facilitate conflict resolution in stakeholder interactions.