Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Sensemaking in Swedish national transport planning
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.
(English)In: Transportation, ISSN 0049-4488, E-ISSN 1572-9435Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Whereas different theoretical perspectives on transport planning often represent demarcated academic strands, transport planners involved in planning practices rely on different kinds of knowledge and procedures to make sense of the situations they find themselves in, on which their subsequent actions are based. The overall aim of this paper is to explore how transport planning practices can be analysed from a sensemaking perspective, a perspective which has not had a salient role in the transport planning literature. The paper is empirically focused on the development of the current Swedish National Plan for Transport Investments, describing the preparatory phases of the prioritization process. It shows how the different elements of the process have contributed to the ways planners have made sense of various regional contexts and the political guidelines for the process. A conclusion of the paper is that a sensemaking perspective opens up the potential for alternative ways to frame particular spatial contexts or situations, and the scope for different approaches is widened. An implication of such a conclusion is that the political dimension of the planning process could be made more explicit. It is therefore suggested that a more prominent role for political visions as tools for sensegiving in the planning process could strengthen the degree to which outcomes of planning processes are grounded in political commitments to approved plans, as well as the democratic legitimacy of these processes.

Keyword [en]
transport investments, planning practice, sensemaking, sensegiving
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49197OAI: diva2:459380
QS 20110327Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-25 Last updated: 2012-03-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Making Sense of Integrated Planning: Challenges to Urban and Transport Planning Processes in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making Sense of Integrated Planning: Challenges to Urban and Transport Planning Processes in Sweden
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The shaping of spatial structures at the urban, regional and national levels involves numerous kinds of actors and planning activities. In recent years, calls for crosssectoral coordination and integrated planning approaches echo extensively across different fields of planning. However, experiences from planning situations around Sweden and elsewhere reveal great challenges to such ambitions. This thesis explores key conditions for an integrated approach to urban and transport planning, focusing on the relationships between public professional actors and agencies involved in the interface between urban and transport planning and strategy making, at the local and national level in Sweden. The theoretical framework is based on communicative planning theory and theories on sensemaking.

The empirical material emanates from the project The Livable City, a collaboration project between three Swedish municipalities and national authorities responsible for transport and urban planning in Sweden. The aim of The Livable City was to develop knowledge about integrated planning of the built environment and transport systems and to develop integrated processes for coordination of different interests, demands and needs. Case studies were conducted, based on document studies, interviews and observations.

The results from this study illustrate various aspects of how plans and strategies in a multiperspective environment need to make sense to actors with different perspectives on what planning is all about. A sensemaking perspective on planning suggests that plans and strategies to promote an integrated approach to planning will always be partial and selective despite ambitions for these to be comprehensive or holistic. Commitment, reification and participation have in the cases proven to be useful concepts to understand the sensemaking aspect of planning practice. Interactive processes may inform the shaping of perspectives and can therefore be an element in efforts to promote integrated approaches to urban and transport planning, although the extent to which this may be achieved is highly dependent on contextual conditions and will vary from case to case.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. 72 p.
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2011:18
urban planning, transport planning, integrated planning, communicative planning, sensemaking, perspectives, coordination
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48968 (URN)978-91-7501-171-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-16, D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
QC 20111125Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-24 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Tornberg, Patrik
By organisation
Urban and Regional Studies
In the same journal
Social Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 162 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link