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Planner as a Human Being: Does an Individual Possess any Power in the System of Multi-level Governance?

Abstract: The paradigm in planning is shifting towards the so-called multi-level governance, which calls for the increasing rate of cooperation and redistributes power to influence local development among diverse actors. Consequently, the impact of individuals is decreasing, especially the one of experts. Planners are perceived primarily as the coordinators, moderators and facilitators of other actors and the guardians of legitimised system, correct processes and standardised tools. Nevertheless, questions appear: Where in all of this is planners’ position? Do they possess any individual influence on what happens in a locality? This article pays attention to the variety of planners’ possibilities to make personal influence. It reflects the proactive concepts of power (e.g. Aristotle’s phronesis, Weber’s charisma, Bourdieu’s field and capital, Jones’s elites and Lukes’s exercise of power), thus following the tradition of the practical thinkers of power (such as Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Foucault and Flyvbjerg). To provide the systematic overview of diverse options that planners have to use their power, the article uses the three core perspectives of scale and time: first, the perspective of limited time periods on the scale of cities (approx. weeks to initiate the process of developing strategic documents, approx. a year to develop those documents, and approx. a decade in which the developed strategic documents are valid); second, the perspective of continuous evolution of territories (the long-run period in which society’s self-image, cultural patterns and behaviour evolve); and third, the perspective of individuals (individual person’s position, features, consciousness, and subliminal fringe). The article describes these three perspectives through professional literature as well as practical examples and case studies. Hence, its contribution lies primarily in the systematic review of variable sources addressing this topic. Additionally, planners’ theoretical awareness of their own power might strengthen planners’ proactive attitude in practice.

DOBRUCKÁ, Lucia (2019). Plánovač ako človek: Má jednotlivec ešte nejakú moc v systéme multi-level governance?. In: Jiří Kugl, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 12. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 203-214. ISBN 978-80-01-06634-8. ISSN 2336-7695.