Planning Actors and Scales

This theme examines the roles of formal and informal actors in the (re)production of the built and natural environments, across scales, and the impacts of actors’ policies and strategies on people’s access to housing, basic services, and public space. The actors we study include: public agents, municipalities, international actors, religious groups, political parties, real-estate developers, banks, firms, refugees, vulnerable populations, informal service providers, NGOs, CBOs, and others. More specifically, we analyze (i) actors’ discourses on, and representations of space, (ii) the range of planning, financial and legal tools being mobilized, (iii) the organization of actors in multi-scalar networks where political exchange and legitimization abound, (iv) the policy and projects’ outcomes on people’s livelihoods, and (v) the ways in which dwellers navigate and contest unjust and unviable urban policies and interventions.

This theme also seeks to understand how contemporary territorial transformations trump policy-making undertaken within regional and local governments or sectorial ministries confined to rigid administrative boundaries. We advocate instead for management and planning approaches and tools that recognize the ever-changing social and ecological dimensions of the built and natural environments, and that prioritize integrated people-centered and viability goals.