New Environment for Planning Small Adjustments Made

Recently, the first small adjustments in the current planning system become visible. The planning community becomes more aware that their environment is changing towards an increased turbulence. Therefore, an increasing number of projects are carried out in a more interactive way. In the planning processes more stakeholder involvement is organised and the co-operation is improved. In the Netherlands this kind of planning processes are called development planning or area development. The following characteristics of this planning approach are defined (Zonneveld, 1991; Schön and Rein, 1994; Castells, 1995; Teisman, 1997; Dammers, 2000; Innovatienetwerk, 2002; Esselbrugge, 2003; Rooy et al., 2006; Dijk, 2006; Ruimtelijk Planbureau, 2004; Adviescommissie Gebiedsontwikkeling, 2005; IPO, 2001; VROM, 2003; VROM-raad, 2004, 2006; WRR, 1998):

• Include a specific defined intervention. In planning processes a well-defined impulse, which is capable of starting the engine of the system is included. This intervention needs to be very specific and located, with a strong emphasis on the impact it has or is expected on changes in the system (the system innovation).

• Choose some kind of fuzzy future direction. A dynamic planning process takes the future dynamics of society as starting point and needs to offer room for unpredictability by initiating a certain direction, which fits best in the broad band of future dynamics.

• Enhance a higher level of complexity in the region. To increase the overall fitness in a region the system has to be brought to a higher level of complexity (Homan, 2005). It is expected that this lead to a higher level of resilience. The overall fitness of a system increases by bringing together a large pool of elements (a lot of participants), which co-evolve and are able to reach a creative jump (Homan, 2005).

• Create a permanent dynamic process in which participants often change. Participants involved in the process tend to defend original concepts and to act defensively towards possible changes in these concepts. To prevent this from happening, an atelier might be introduced, in which one group of involved partners defines and executes an intervention after which the lead is given to the next group, which makes its own creative jump.

• Keep numerous perceptions involved in the entire process. The amount of perspectives in innovative processes is large. Instead of aiming to converge the perceptions in the final phase of the process it might be better to keep several perceptions, which exist next to each other in different constellations and enrich each other like in internet communities.

• Prevent cultural patterns from inducing repetitive solutions automatically. Cultural patterns in organisations lead to repetitive solutions, produced by those organisations, even if the problems and issues are new. If a discussion is started on the applicability of these solutions, these organisations tend to close the ranks and strengthen their believe in the existing solutions (Roggema, 2005). It is estimated that this effect increases if councillors take responsibilities for longer periods (three terms or more).

• Use projects to start processes, not to finish them. Projects function as a spatial-functional impulse, which are able to change future pathways in long-term problems like climate change and energy supply. Thus, these projects are not aiming to create an end image for the future, but to start the building of a system of higher complexity, which is supposed to be more resilient.

The question remains if the adjustments the planning and design community carries out in the planning processes are strong enough to deal with real turbulent circumstances. Probably, it does not meet these demands, because the adjustments are done within the existing (tame) planning system. Larger adjustments are necessary. Therefore, the main objective for a new planning paradigm is to increase the capability to build up resilience for turbulent circumstances.

8.3.5 Increase Resilience

Resilience is defined as: 'the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks' (Walker et al., 2004; Walker and Salt, 2006). Thus, the increase of the resilience of a system means that a system is better capable in absorbing disturbance. When a system is placed into a turbulent environment it is necessary to increase adaptability in order to deal with turbulent 'attacks' on the system. Adaptability is defined as the capacity of actors to influence resilience.

The crucial aspects of resilience are the following (Walker et al., 2004; Walker and Salt, 2006):

• Latitude: maximum amount a system can be changed before losing its ability to recover (before crossing a threshold);

• Resistance: ease or difficulty of changing the system;

• Precariousness: how close the current state of the system is to a limit or 'threshold';

• Panarchy: the resilience of a system at a particular focal scale depends on the influences from states and dynamics at scales above and below (for instance global climate change).

Actors in the system are capable of managing the resilience of a system and influencing the adaptability of the system. The collective capacity to manage resilience determines whether the actors can successfully avoid crossing into an undesirable system regime or return to a desirable one. Actors may use four ways to influence resilience and increase adaptability:

• Move thresholds

• Make the threshold more difficult to reach

• Move the system away from the threshold

• Avoid loss of resilience by managing cross-scale interactions

If the adaptability can be increased the system has better chances to deal with turbulent circumstances, because it is easier for the system to absorb disturbance and reorganise itself while undergoing change. The level of complexity of a system may very well be a crucial factor in determining this system's capability to adapt. Is a simple system less adaptive and is it less capable of influencing resilience? And do complex systems contain a higher capacity to do so, which make them more adaptive? If so, this offers spatial planning an opportunity to deal with turbulent circumstances: The regional spatial system is a complex system, which functions according the rules of complexity, adaptability and resilience. Thus, the planning system should be organised according to these rules as well: the first images of a new planning paradigm.

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