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Process and content sustainability in planning
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3101-5902
2011 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In current planning, process is seen as a means to safeguard just outcomes. However, when operationalised, different plans are not equally ‘good’ for nature and different societal groups. This paper problematise the implications understanding planning as mainly process has on content sustainability and justice. This means asking questions about what are seen as important sustainability targets to be reached by planning and how are these decided upon. What is desirable? For whom? What risks (e.g. ecological crises and social issues) need to be handled? These questions highlights’ planning’s political dimensions.


Current planning for sustainable development can be understood in terms of different discursive (in)justices and ways of understanding the environment. It is therefore important to understand different sustain­ability discourses and also relate them to scientific discourses on e.g. climate change and ecosystems, and also to politically decided targets like climate change adaptation and mitigation and a reduced rate of decline of biodiversity.


Scientific discourses on the environment are sometimes said to signal that there is one benign and sustainable nature to conserve, which means missing asking questions about the kind of socio­environmental arrangements we wish to produce, how these can be achieved, and the sort of natures we wish to inhabit. These questions are certainly important, but highlighting nature’s boundaries need not mean that nature is seen as static. Instead, it is contingent on technology, preferences and the structure of production and consumption. However, when what is meant by sustainable development is not clearly elucidated, nobody is against it and most just keep on doing business as usual.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, 2011.
Keyword [en]
Planning, process, content, sustainability
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-123600OAI: diva2:628173
Is planning past politics, KTH, Stockholm

QC 20130617

Available from: 2013-06-13 Created: 2013-06-13 Last updated: 2013-06-17Bibliographically approved

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Gunnarsson-Östling, Ulrika
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