Accepted paper:

Shifting planning rationalities: investments of hope in the land-use plan of Bordeaux, France

Authors:

Jenny Lindblad (Urban and Regional Studies)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the work invested in the production of a land-use plan in Bordeaux, France. It inquires how, besides manifesting desired routes for future developments, the plan provokes emotions among politicians, civil servants and planners, and hosts hope for shifting planning rationalities.

Paper long abstract:

Urban planning in France is undergoing what in the planning literature and urban policy is frequently comprehended as a shift from the rationale of a 'plan' to that of 'project'. When the intercommunal organization Bordeaux metropole in 2010 launched the revision of their land-use plan, the plan-making process was informed by ambitions to enable such a shift in the local planning practice. This paper draws on fieldwork among civil servants, planners and politicians involved in the plan-making process. It builds on a chapter of my ongoing dissertation work that attends to the work invested in the plan and expectations of its doings. The land-use plan includes a strategy outlining visions and a zoning plan imposing regulations in the direction of the desired urban development. Ultimately, the plan is to coordinate actions by defining rights and obligations that construction permits are confirmed against. In Bordeaux, the plan was expected to play into the shift of rationale by reducing regulations, enhance negotiations and by functioning as a 'tool' rather than a 'rule book'. For politicians, the plan was a host for hopes to change rationalities and rearrange relations in the bureaucracy of planning. For civil servants charged with operationalizing its content, the plan provoked feelings of uncertainty and insecurity about what it required of changing practices and rearranged relations with citizens. I tentatively show how the plan, rather than providing a sense of direction towards achieving the proposed future scenarios, became a site of confusion.

panel P160
Sense and sensibility: investments of emotion and rationality in the charting of future scenarios