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When citizen movements redirect focus from the process to the object of planning – a case study of the ongoing major urban transformation of the mining town Kiruna, Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Political Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Luleå Tekniska universitet.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Physical planning is a main tool in the transformation of society in a more sustainable direction. Its concrete manifestation takes place at the local level of the municipality. In Sweden, this is even expressed as a constitutional municipal planning monopoly. Today, planning follows trends such as openness and participation – characterizing the late modern network governance – where there is a common striving to integrate the basic values of sustainable development into the community and amongst the citizens and other local stakeholders at the municipal level by decentralizing the planning process. Thus, local planning processes take place in an unclear interface of the formal representative democratic structure and participatory planning models and deliberative democracy ideas, where the process of planning is almost as important as the object of planning. In parallel with this development, a considerable gap has remained between policies for sustainability and their implementation and transformation into daily practices, which of course constitutes a major risk in society’s striving towards sustainability. This implementation gap will be addressed in the paper, which will use a single case study, the ongoing urban transformation of the city of Kiruna in Sweden, to discuss how the deliberative approach in the local planning process may help overcome the implementation gap.

There is a major urban transformation ongoing – complete relocation of the city center – of the city of Kiruna, Norrbotten County in northern Sweden, due to deformations in the ground from the mining of the state company, LKAB, in adjacent Kiirunavaara Mountain. The local planning process for the necessary relocation of the city center had been going on for almost 10 years when a grassroots movement – Situation Kiruna – was formed in the autumn of 2012. Here, citizens demanded more action in practice in the local planning process and greater focus on the planning object. Guiding principles for the movement included “the local management must drop the rim and get into the game” and “Situation Kiruna do what the municipality should have done a long time ago; we inventory the needs and align the requirements where they belong”. In the paper we use the case of unsatisfied citizens influencing the local planning process through grassroots movements to theoretically discuss how deliberative approaches may contribute to improved practices beyond the planning process, i.e., to overcome the implementation gap between policies for sustainability and their implementation and transformation into daily practices. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102912OAI: diva2:684346
2013 Transatlantic Policy Consortium Conference, Transatlantic Perspectives in Public Affairs: Technology, Safety, Security, 30 May - 1 June 2013, Hague, Netherlands
Available from: 2014-01-08 Created: 2014-01-08 Last updated: 2014-01-24

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Wihlborg, Elin
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Political ScienceFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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ReferencesLink to record
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