Types, research issues, and ongoing analysis
Activism was one of the main themes of the AESOP PhD Workshop 2018 in Karlskrona and Tjärö, Sweden. One of my presentations was about the activist roles of planners working for local governments and lay planners affiliated with civil society organizations. I have kept a close eye on the academic literature on activist planning for many years, and am still working in that sub-field of planning theory. My aim is to explore the limits of how professional planners with an activist intent can practice their line of work inside a bureaucracy, and to study how actors from the civil society can use spatial planning and local environmental planning in combination with direct action as a strategy for achieving their goals. To specify the kind of planning I have in mind, I follow Healey (1997:69), stating that: ‘Spatial and environmental planning, understood relationally, becomes a practice of building a relational capacity which can address collective concerns about spatial co-existence, spatial organisation and the qualities of places’. Activist planners can contribute to the processes of such planning and help collect and form the input to spatial and environmental plans.