Horlings cover


L.G. (Ina) Horlings

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48 pages

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Inauguration speech Dr. L.G. Horlings, Professor in Socio-Spatial Planning at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, June 13th 2017, University of Groningen.


In this booklet Ina Horlings elaborates on two questions:

1) What is the aim of socio-spatial planning?

2) Why should citizens, engage in spatial transformation?

The author argues that the aim of a transformative socio-spatial planning is to enable resourceful communities in spaces, co-producing 'better' places. This raises also normative questions: what are better places and who determines this? Planners have to deal with the subjective desires and motives of citizens, which have gained an increased power in our democracy. In a time of decentralization and individualization, we see the rise of new forms of collective citizenship, who want to take matters in their own hands.

Resourcefulness refers to the capacity of a community to change the way they use their resources. This place- and practice based approach contributes to community resilience and fosters socio-spatial change through collective action. A key condition for resourcefulness is the co-production between social, economic and governmental actors. This is not a simple performance: it is a dance between collective intentions and emergence. Co-production shifts the balance of power, responsibility and resources to individuals and collectives, engaged in shaping their own places.

In our 'fluid' society people are dealing with uncertainty in a rapidly changing world, while they have to build their own narratives. Social navigation offers a key concept to understand the practices and tactics of people in situations in motion. In this dynamic context a transformative spatial planning applies a value-based perspective, is community-sensitive and imaginative, and able to mediate between varied opinions.

The book concludes with a research agenda visualized as a 'three-leaf clover', including the analysis of 1) Values in Place 2) Place-shaping practices and 3) New Institutional arrangements.