Power relationships, citizens participation and persistence of rational paradigm in spatial planning: the Tuscan experience

Iacopo Zetti


Since 2005, several reforms in the spatial planning legal framework have taken place in Italy and in some contexts, such as in Tuscany, the joint action of a spatial planning act and a law on citizen participation has established a planning model which is open, collaborative and communicative. Nevertheless, we can observe a re-emergence of a rational comprehensive attitude to spatial planning, useful for a strict top-down control, which limits the possibility to insert measures to rebalance power relations in a normative planning system.

Observing some practical experiences of spatial planning and citizen participation, the article tries to reflect on the different reasons that encourage planners and policy-makers to constantly revert to technical rationality as a supposed ethical guarantee or as a power management tool. In the conclusions it proposes some considerations regarding the connection between rationality, power and social control and concerning a possible regulatory side in a counter-hegemonic planning framework.


Rational planning; Spatial planning; Participatory planning; Spatial injustice, Urban conflict; Italy; Tuscany; Italian Planning

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ISSN: 2239-267X

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