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Transformative power in an
inert planning system?
-implementation gaps, structural
resistance and strategy making
Ph.D. Karolina Isaksson, VTI/KTH
Prof. Tim Richardson, Aalborg University
M.Sc. Chia Jung Wu, KTH
Barriers and bridges in
the planning process
• Many efforts have been made to enhance
environmental consideration in
infrastructure planning
• Ambitious goals and frameworks – but
slow progess in practice
– 1) What are the barriers in the planning
process about?
– 2) What are the potential solutions for the
future?
1. What are the barriers about?
• Research findings from Include:
a) Implementation gaps: systematic lack of
resources for environmental concern in
planning practice
b) Structural resistance: the importance of norms,
perspectives and power-relations in the
planning process
c) Tools do not produce outputs that can be
integrated into the strategic process
a) systematic lack of resources
“[The EIA-process] starts with the tender. Then
we get the offer and we present what we want
to do. When we make the offer, the [assigning
authority] ask every department to calculate the
approximate cost. We say maybe two million
SEK. But then [the assigning authority] pay only
1,5 million. So we make the offer for 1,5 million.
That means we lack money [for the EIA] from
the very beginning.”
(EIA-practitioner)
b) Norms, perspectives and power-relations
“Mostly generation is a problem since some of
projects leaders are old. It’s not that they don’t
want to take care about the environment. They
just don’t have the knowledge really. They [did
their professional training] years ago – many
things have been changed in the last thirty
years.”
(EIA-practitioner)
c) Tools do not produce outputs that can be used
in the strategic process
a) Environmental knowledge gets filtered out….
“Ten years ago when I was working with [an EIAreport] [...] the project leader told me he had to
follow some [informal] requirements [and that]
we should cut off [several things] from the report.
[...] At the end we produced an EIA report which
was not so good.”
(EIA-practitioner)
b) …or is integrated too late in the process:
“Issues regarding landscape, climate change
and other comprehensive [environmental]
issues aren’t addressed sufficiently good at
the [initial stage]. For example, when you read
EIA reports for single road projects, you can
find discussions about how a single road will
affect climate change. I think […] it should be
discussed at a strategic level in planning. It is
the same with landscape issues.”
(NHB-practitioner)
2. Solutions?
• Poor integration of
environmental
concern= a common
feature of many policyand planning areas
• Environmental concern
is potentially very
challenging – so how
could it ever be easy?
• If there is a solution –
it lies not only in the
development of new
tools and checklists
• …there is also a need
for capacity-building
in the organisations
concerned
• and an enhanced
capacity for ”strategic
thinking and action”
The need for strategic thinking
and action
• Strategic thinking
– is not the same as “having a strategy or a plan”
– shall have a function to encourage the shaping of
actions for a certain purpose.
– shall ”challenge practices that are justified in
terms of ‘following established procedures’ or
‘this is what we have always done’”
(Healey 2007:30).
• not instrumental!
”A strategy co-evolves with the knowledge,
values and politics that will give it authority,
legitimacy and framing power.”
(Healey 2007:31)
• strategic thinking and action
– could be enhanced at all stages in the infrastructure
planning process
– will certainly require new institutional design, new
routines,new ways of talking, new processes and new
professions
– exactly what the potentials are at each stage in the
current system is still a question to explore
Thank you!
[email protected]