chapter  4
33 Pages

Analysing social innovation through planning instruments: a strategic-relational approach


Over the last decade, the social sustainability of strategic urban flagship projects has been questioned. Indeed, strategic urban projects, particularly in the form of large-scale urban development projects, have been criticized for promoting gentrification and social polarization, focusing one-sidedly on profit-oriented development and bypassing democratic control (Bornstein 2007; Moulaert et al. 2003; Swyngedouw et al. 2004). The question is, however, whether strategic projects are inherently neoliberal and autocratic or whether they can also be inclusive, emancipatory and innovative in socio-territorial terms. In this chapter, I want to argue for the latter. I will do so by taking planning instruments as the entry point into an analysis of how strategic urban projects generate socio-spatial transformation. The dynamic relation between planning instruments and their societal context will be crucial to this analysis.